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My dearest Danyal

As elders, our natural instinct is to want to protect our kids; we aim to take care of them, we imagine that without anchoring them they might waver in life. As time winds down, the realisation dawns that when your children have grown up, the first thing you do is stop telling them what to do – not because they would oppose you – but simply because by stepping aside on tiptoe, you can observe them etch a forte for themselves where they would be a role model for the rest of the world to idolise upon.

The day I watched you spread your wings my dear Danny, I grasped that it was my time to tiptoe and observe, from afar, how humanity was taking to you quite like iron takes to a magnet. I found myself finding such rapture in your eminence, and it was not something that I could express via any medium: art or words. It was a feeling that an elder brother felt for his younger brother, and it was a feeling that I would want gone with me when I cease to breathe, embedded and buried deep within my heart.

However, when the world is shrouded in mist, and the atmosphere is so bloody that only the stupid are fairly untouched, whilst the sensitive wither like a bug-befouled leaf, my chest rather swells with honour when I see light at the end of the tunnel because of you my Kidd, or do I even entitle you that, because you are now an admirable young man who has acquired such a secure grasp on how to shape civilisation just by being yourself, that calling you a Kidd would be most violating that very essence, although, the fact does remain that regardless of how older you grow, you will still remain, in my heart and soul, my little Kidd . . . my little Danny. And as severe as this may sound, this is also precisely why I am rest assured that even if I were to die, my greatest treasure, you, would be the beacon who would manoeuvre the mislead to the zenith of peace and harmony that they most rightfully need to find themselves in, for god knows that the world needs a healer, and most urgently.

Thus my Dan, a man with such a gifted ability and influence to make a dent, remember that when I close my eyes never to wake up again, live so that your very presence would have made all the difference to mankind. Commit to memory that your alluring lips must speak words of kindness. Your lovely eyes ought to pursue the good in people. For an athletic structure, share your food with the hungry. For beautiful hair, let a child run his fingers through it at least once in a day. For carriage, walk with the knowledge that you will never walk alone. Remember that whether we elders are there with you or not, we leave you a tradition with a future that you will try your best to the tender loving care of human beings, and you will strive that it will never become obsolete. That you will keep in mind that it is not things, but people even more than anything, that have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed. Be mindful that these very people will displease you to such irksome levels, whereby you may desire to toss them before the guillotine, yet, never toss anybody out, for everyone who traverses your course does so in order to teach you something of value. Most important of all, bear in mind that if you ever need a helping hand, you must find one at the end of your arm, and the other one, you must use for helping others, always.  

While I wish you the best of everything in life and nothing more my Danny, do not think me callous when I say that I would also like that at different walks of life for you to experience defeat, suffering, struggle, loss – it is these occurrences and their responses, laterally with delight and humour that are rather responsible to provide you a way to find your way out of the depths of delirium. It is these encounters that will help inculcate in you an appreciation, sensitivity, and an understanding of life that would fill you with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen, the trials and tribulations of life make them what they are.

I am infinitely thankful that you exist, my Dan. Now go along and mend the world. It is indeed your forecourt.

In deed and thought
I remain
Your very own
– Farahdeen  

PS: I know, I know, I vowed I would step away and watch quietly, and even then I ended up giving you the longest lecture in the world. For that you officially have the freedom hereon to hold a gun to my temple and pull the trigger (as swiftly and painlessly as possible), as I mouth the last words – But, my Kidd, old habits die-hard, so do I really deserve this? 

Photographs by Izzah Shaheen Malik