A year has gone by (since the demise of Dilip Kumar) and I am trying in vain to move on every day. I wake up every morning with the sense of being robbed of the solidarity he unfailingly endorsed for anything I ventured to accomplish and gave me the strength to overcome my anxieties.
It has been the most difficult year of my life. Without Dilip saab my world is meaningless and empty. This is the only reality that I don’t want to come to terms with. There hasn’t been a single day that I have come across people who don’t remember him.
We spent around 56 years together and literally grown up together as husband and wife. Everyone knows I fell in love with him at the age of 12 and I grew up with the dream tucked away in my mind that he alone is the perfect man for me. When the dream came true I knew I was not his only admirer and that I had jumped the long queue of women who were hoping to be Mrs Dilip Kumar. For me, as the lucky one to have been his wife, mother, friend, fan all rolled into one, he lives in the memories I have stored in my heart.
When my dear grandmother, Shamshad Begum Sahiba (the Hindustani classical vocalist) passed away, I was inconsolable, but I moved on. She was Ammaji – grandma and mom combined, who raised me and my brother in England where we grew up. When my mother Naseem Banu, India’s first Beauty Queen, a film star in her own right and a brave single parent, passed away, I was broken and despondent. But I moved on again.
My brother Sultan Ahmed passed away a few years ago. He was young and active and a very loving person. I was devastated because ours was a close-knit family.
I had the courage to move on only because of Yousuf Saab (Dilip Kumar). I had the tender care and strong emotional support of him. He had his own way of telling me to come to terms with the inevitable and insurmountable hardships and losses in my life. He had his own way of consoling me and and subtly asserting that life has to go on and no mortal is immortal.
From the time I wake up, seeing the empty space beside me in the bed we shared for over five and a half decades, till night falls, I have to live with the knowledge that I should consider myself very fortunate that I had my Yousuf saab with me for 56 years. Everyone knows I fell in love with him at the age of 12 – and he is very much alive for me and all his fans and students of cinema who look up to him as their guru through the unparalleled body of work he has left behind as a precious legacy for us.
I feel his warmth, his love, the lively twinkle in his eyes when he spoke to my grandmother with whom he discussed classical Hindustani music and Urdu poetry, his savouring of the special tea served in the special crockery my mother kept aside only for him, his deep concern for his own family and his close friends. In everything I see, touch and hear, I see and feel his presence which is keeping me alive and I’m making an effort to move on.
Not a moment passes in my life every day when my eyes are not moist remembering him. If our staff or anyone at home switches on the television and one of his films or songs are playing on the screen, I walk out of that room as I cannot hold back my emotions.
The entire world reminisces the most vivid memories of him because of which I feel he is very much alive for his fans and even for me. A lot of his fans and followers have requested us to reactivate his Twitter account and Inshallah we plan to do it soon.
On his first death anniversary, I am going to be spend the entire day doing Quran Khani (special prayers in Urdu to pray for the peace of the people who have passed away). I am sure he is at peace with all his dear ones.
(As told to News18’s Sonil Dedhia)