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Friday, May 30, 2008

In Memory of Najma Ghouse

In the memory of our dear “Choti Apa”
By M. Hamed Hussain Aghai.

Dallas’ famous ICON, a medical technologist, a real estate professional, and a true volunteer, Najma Ali Ghouse passed away peacefully on Thursday, May 22nd, 2008 at 7:20 pm at her home. She courageously fought cancer, a long battle for nine months, never losing her spirit of faith. Within minutes after her sad demise, news reached hundreds of people in the North American continent and overseas. Relatives and friends immediately gathered to pay their last respects to their departed leader.

Najma apa was born on October 2, 1947 in Hyderabad. Her parents moved to Pakistan shortly after Pakistan was created. Najma apa was very proud of her Hyderabadi and Pakistani heritage. Shortly after her marriage, she moved with her husband and two little daughters to United States in 1972 to join her younger brother, Jawed Yousuf and made Dallas, Texas their new home. Later in the mid seventies, she had her third child.

Najma apa excelled in her academic career and was a recipient of several distinctions and awards in her college and at inter collegiate level competition. Her professional career as a medical technologist at major hospitals in the Dallas area in various facets ranging from mid management to senior management level was extremely valued and recognized. She not only had enormous love but also great talent in Urdu poetry. She served as a moderator (an emcee) at several grand mushaira (Urdu poetry gathering) and received numerous compliments for a job well done.

Allah, the Almighty had blessed her with many great talents but her relationship from her first marriage ended in 1988. Some years later, she was married to Mike Mohamed Ghouse on July 4th, 1996. With the start of her new relationship, her professional career took a new turn in the field of real estate business. Allah bestowed her with outstanding success in her new venture. It seemed like what ever she touched was turned into gold. She always had great compassion for the less fortunate and she was always touched by who were helpless. Even with a hectic business schedule and keeping up with clients, she had this thought, brewing in her mind to find a way to reach out to the less fortunate people within her own community. Finally, she was able to find few professionals who teamed up with her to form a non profit agency to help less fortunate individuals at various capacities. She volunteered countless hours, days, and nights for various agencies that she and others have jointly established. Even today, many individuals are seeking valuable services from these agencies.

At home she kept herself busy maintaining a beautiful garden. After her morning prayers she would be busy watering her plants in the backyard and around the house. She decorated her front of the house by planting seasonal flowers. She was very fond of gardening and often gave valuable tips to the family and friends in the field of gardening.

Despite of her busy schedule, her religious events and activities were hosted with full of love and devotion. She made sure her guests were treated and fed well. Since she moved to Dallas, Texas she initiated hosting the traditional “Eid Brunch” at her house for Ramazan and Bakhr Eid. All the family members and close friends had a wonderful time and one could easily feel her love for her guests.

After fulfilling her community goals, she felt she had missed something. Not too long ago, in 2006 she also ran for a city council position in the city of Carrollton, Texas and she honored me by appointing as her campaign treasurer. She ran the race very professionally, courageously, and she fared well in the several debates with her other opponents. She stood up for what she believed and faced with some tough challenges during her campaign. The race was very close and she had lost marginally but it was a great experience and she had learned a lot in her short political career.

Lastly, I have to say a few words about Najma apa as to how I first got impressed with her dynamic personality. She was the key person who helped arranged my marriage with Rafia, her younger sister in March of 1984. She played a pivotal role in our wedding. I still remember very well the comfort and support she had given me on the saanchak night by sitting next to me at the time of the “mehndhi” rasam (ritual). I was surrounded by all women with no men near me. Her support and advice had given me an immense strength instantaneously during the entire ceremony. Our wedding might have been the first wedding in the Dallas area that was performed with all the rituals and customs at her house in Garland, Texas. Few of our friends still talk about the great memories from our wedding. I have some great memories with her. Occasionally, I visited her on Saturdays and cooked “upma” (a south Indian delicacy made of rice flour. It is also called cream of wheat) or I fried some goodies while she would make some hot and mushy “khichdi”. She enjoyed talking to me in original Urdu (as spoken in Hyderabad). We often exchanged some famous couplets of few poets like, Ghalib, Mir, and others. It all seems like a mere dream now. It reminds me of a commercial that airs on desi TV by Nationwide Insurance Company – Life comes at you fast. And it is absolutely right. It also reminds of the proverb “Art is long, life is short”.

Najma apa was proud of her grandchildren and she loved spending time with her grandchildren. She has four grand sons and one grand daughter. Alizae, the oldest and the only grand daughter was very close and dear to her. Last year when Alizae visited Najma apa for summer vacation, she had spent all of her time with Alizae. She had Alizae with her visiting her clients, inspecting properties, dining, and watching movies.

Najma apa had a big heart and love to help people. She was very strong in her faith and lived her life accordingly. She lived life to the fullest and will be greatly missed, and we thank Allah, the Almighty for having her for sixty years in this world.

Those left to treasure her many memories are her husband, her beloved mother, three sisters, four brothers, three daughters, and five grandchildren along with numerous nieces and nephews. With deep sense of my love to her, I pray to Allah, the Almighty to bless her with highest place in the Jannath, Aameen! Apa, true people of Allah never die.

Najma apa, you are in a better place than us and you can see us all but unfortunately we cannot see you or hear you. Enjoy the eternal peace that Allah, the Almighty has bestowed upon you and insha’Allah we will join you sooner or later. Insha’Allah, once we join you we will have our traditional “galput” in the Jannath again.

With my sincere love,

M. Hamed Hussain Aghai.

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