Of Nana and Generosity: Its the Little Stuff that Matters

Picture Courtesy Ali Fahim Khan

I looked up to my Nana a lot. I mean he was 6 ft tall when I was tiny (bad joke I know:D). My earliest memory of him,is me pulling at his Qamez bugging him to take me to “Khurshid Sahab ki Dukaan” and buy me that “magic” pencil (remember those?).And as tall as he was, his heart was even bigger. When I think about him, I remember an endless stream of visits to “Peer-Makki Bazar” for Bedroom furniture for my doll, for Drawing room furniture for my doll, for cutlery for my doll:P For sea-shells and Frisbees, for key-chains shaped like scooters, for kites and for my first tricycle. For Halwa Puri in the morning, for barfi in the evening and for shakargandi in the dark and lets not forget the endless Bandar wallas, Reech Wallas, Oont wallas, Bakri-wallas, Tonga wallas, Jhooley wallas that flocked our tiny gali in Old Lahore.

Picture Courtesy: Ali Fahim Khan

The trips to Minar-e-Pakistan, Shahi Qila, Badshahi Mosque and the Zoo, his was an endless lesson in magnanimity and generosity. Since he was not super-rich, nay on the contrary they just managed respectably so there were no ovens, toasters, air-conditioners, cars or motorbikes, but there was love and warmth in abundance. It was inevitable that  every time I returned home to relative luxury I was over-laden with packages and packages of stuff he had gotten me.

In later years when I outgrew the doll`s furniture stage and shopping meant shoes and bags, nana was replaced by khalas. But the ritual continued, I would take my shopping to his room, where he would be sitting reading some new book, and start showing him every little thing. He ooo-ed and aaah-ed at the right places (yes the men in my family are trained well:P) but in the end he would ask “what did you get the other kids?”  Sigh! Nana I never did learn properly from you!

Then there was this one time I found this H-U-G-E coin collection in his closet. I took it, because he was my Nana who never denied me anything but this time he added a “be careful with it beta”. It was a memoir of the son he had lost. Yet he never hesitated, not once and gave it to me, just like that!

“By no means shall you attain righteousness, unless you give of that which you love.”          

( Surah Aal e Imraan: 92)

The purpose of “giving” is explained in the Qur`an as “Tazkiya” (sanctification/ spiritual cleansing/ emotional growth).

“Of their wealth take alms to purify and sanctify them”                                                                    

        (Surah At-Tauba :103)


That throws the idea of retail-therapy out of the window, I am not against shopping, in fact I am all for it! Go buy those smoking hot heels you saw last week.

Yes *drool* and its okay to splurge but give out an old pair to the ama that does your dishes. And really have a heart, don`t give her the pair that went out of fashion with the steam engine:P.

‘The believers … are steadfast in prayers, and in whose wealth there is a right acknowledged, for the poor and the destitute. ”

    (Surah Al-Ma`arij:22-24)

Remember death is inevitable, but long after you are gone your deeds will live on, make sure they are the type your Grand kids can blog about.

Because really its the little stuff that matters.

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