In the precinct of Bois-Marchand cemetery today, I met a friend and during our conversation he came up with the following piece of wisdom: people who love you come to see you without fail especially on three occasions – your birth, your wedding and your death. We had been exchanging reminiscences after the burial of Abdool Rashid Mohamed, popularly known as Aid, pronounced Ayid.
Aid was the third son of Sir Abdool Razack Mohamed and the only son who was a photocopy of Sir Abdool – quite naturally he had inherited many qualities of the Pater, and had some of his own affable, ponderous, weighing his words and thoughts before expressing them and exceptionally careful to say the right words at the right time.
Like his father, he was born with a silver spoon in his mouth but he was living a life which boys from well-to-do families would not lead. I crossed paths with him during school days when he would be walking on the streets in his blue and white Bhujoharry College uniform. I wonder why with his background he did not make it to the Royal College. But he made it to England though where he graduated as an accountant and he took up jobs in London, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia.
He had had a very enriching career overseas. On our occasional meeting at the bank or the vegetable stall in Grand-Bay, I would ask him why he did not take a part time job to keep himself busy. He had a response that would astound you, “You know bhayya, I have seen so much money in my life that I do not want to look at it any more. In Saudi Arabia, I was responsible of the finance of a multinational and I was surrounded in my office with all forms of money: notes, coins, cheques, securities, bonds, you name it, all stacked on tables, chairs, in drawers and coffers, literally everywhere in the room, so much so, that I had to create space to walk among the money. My boss begged me to be his partner but I refused. A mere one-digit percentage share was enough to make me a millionaire in dollars several times over.”
He did not talk much about his family but maybe he did not have a very happy marriage as he was living alone in Pereybère while his wife was living in England with his two sons. He was casually dressed all the time, most probably travelling by bus to Grand Bay from Pereybère or occasionally driving a car which had known better days.
He was happy he was not working. He had plenty of time to spend with people in Grand-Bay and the market [la foire] in Goodlands. Watching him from far in intimate discussion with the vegetable seller or the fisherman, you would say that the interlocutors had known each other for a long time. But he was new to the North of the country. Some of his interlocutors who know me would ask me about him and would be surprised by his simplicity and empathy when told that he was the son of Sir Abdool Razack Mohamed.
So long Aid. I’ll miss you. So will the numerous Northern coastal friends and the shoppers of Goodlands bazaar who would have flocked to Bois Marchand to say goodbye if only they knew you are leaving them. Some pious people believe that there is a hadith that says that Allah swt loves someone who is loved by people. I pray it is true. May Allah swt grant you Jannat ul Firdaus and sabr to your great family, some of whom I know personally Shakeel, Zakir and Shaheen and Mael and other dear ones who are bereaving.