Life is short and unpredictable like the April rain; in autumn it doesn’t rain silver drops on your head, but falling leaves remind us that life is so transitory and fleeting. The human species under the influence of selective amnesia tries to forget about death and go on living without thinking that sometimes death can occur so unexpectedly as not to allow a second wind. When this happens, people around feel paralyzed in a whirlwind of emotions. Such deaths wreak havoc on psycho-physical systems, making it a complicated process to go from a normal brain to a grieving brain associated with the loss or death of a loved one. To refuse death to its acceptance is a painful process, also complicated; followed by disbelief, shock, anger and finally prolonged sadness. We can think of pleasure and pain as two sides of the same coin, but the brain deals with happiness and sadness in different centers, and as it moves from one center to another, a flood of neurochemicals and chemicals. hormones dance around the head, interrupting normal life in a complicated way.
The death of Nusrat Andrabi was one such incident, brutal and painful; as a friend, overwhelmed with grief, my brain took a hit, i couldn’t think correctly for several days, and in that state of mind i remembered seeing her for the first time times in our college. She had come to choose two students from the first year class to participate in a quiz competition organized by the Urdu department of the University of Kashmir where she was pursuing her doctorate. under the superb direction of Ale Ahmad Suroor, the famous literary scholar and writer. Ms. Hamidi, our Urdu teacher, had already selected me and another student for the competition. A university pavilion car was waiting outside to pick us up and to our surprise Suroor Sahab was comfortably in the front seat. As we started our journey, they both engaged in a very in-depth brain discussion which reflected Nusrat Andrabi’s scientific ability to lead an uninhibited debate with his guide, I was influenced at first glance because I too was in love with Urdu Literature. Like a magnetic force, it pulled me up and kept me engaged forever. Later in my life, I had the chance to record a conversation with Ale Ahmad Saroor for Radio Kashmir; until then our friendship had grown into a strong bond, with Suroor Sahib as a writer, a common literary interest for both.
Nus Lala, as I would call her with love and respect, was a beautiful soul wrapped in a wise brain-body equation. She never believed in superficial honesty or distorted truth, was bold enough to fight and settle accounts her life had challenged her with. She didn’t waste her laugh or smile in the toughest times, could laugh out loud at her mistakes, and provide the best of humor targeting her cavity in driving. She had that happy smile attitude to fight battles in life and win. I adored her in many ways, for not indulging in gossip or backbiting, not enjoying spicy scandals, the moment she smelled something like that she was cutting fast, changing the subject, making the another awkward and introspective person. When people talk about her serene and sweet death, I guess those qualities in her proved the qualifying scores for her total salvation.
We had some unusual episodes which made our friendship enduring forever. She had extended her friendship with my husband and asked me for advice when and where she needed it. She often told me that she felt more connected to him because her son Tufil Ji and my mother-in-law shared the same cemetery in the Khanpur area of Delhi. She had a solid reason, two tombs were one after the other, next to each other, and visiting one would automatically link the other by offering Al-Fatiha for both.
Nusrat Andrabi knew her subject well and sometimes I would call her in the middle of the night to ask her some technical points while writing all these scripts for Radio Kashmir, she would ask me to wait until it was clear and authentic. For me, his word would be final.
Her death turned out to be more nagging than normal as that day we invited her to lunch with other friends, earlier we postponed her due to her growing health issues related to uncontrollable hypertension and with heart problems she was not doing well but she called me and told me she was feeling better and I could go, she was desperate to meet her friends, we selected Sunday for the event. When she confirmed the date, I informed her that we had invited fellow writers including Abdul Ahad, the brilliant historian and Shakoor Rather the fiction writer of Life in the famous Clock Tower Valley. . She was thrilled to have the story and the fiction to enjoy the day and with a hint of literature to savor
But it was not intended, it did not happen.
Nusrat Andrabi died before dawn on this day.