Musical Tribute to an Old Soldier

The past month has been a roller-coaster of emotions for me since the ‘fading away’ of my older brother, Misbah, back in my country of birth, India.

The above mp3 audio file, albeit brief, covers different and distinct aspects of his loves and ambitions. There was, of course, his foregone fealty for all things military tempered by his strong Christian belief in fairness even in battle, made more so because two of the three wars he took a vital part in were fought against our former pre-Independence brethren – Pakistan and East Pakistan (which later became independent Bangladesh.)

Not generally known was Misbah’s love of opera engendered by our father’s idols of Italian tenor Caruso and soprano Galli-Curci, 78 rpm recordings of whom were omnipresent in our household from an early age.

Caruso

Galli-Curci

He knew their arias well, but we were loath to tell him that we could do sans his bellowing out a la Caruso some of  the tenor’s gems  during his morning  shower – good delivery a tempo, but less so in pitch!  On a lighter note, he adored Neapolitan songs sung by the great tenor, his particular favorite being O Sole Mio (Victor 87243 recorded on February 5, 1916.) [As an aside, when he left the family roost for college, the morning quiet was unsettling to say the least.]

A constant for Misbah, no matter the hour, was  that before retiring for the night, he was ever faithful in praying bedside on his knees to the Almighty without a self-conscious thought in his head.

And then, as all who knew him, Misbah had a funny bone par excellence:  there were the lighthearted pranks he played on friend and foe alike followed by his infectious laugh that rose and fell leaving everyone no other course but to join in with good humor – no hard feelings all around!

Indeed, as I pen these thoughts, he’s probably still keeping St. Peter entertained with one-liners at the Pearly Gates.

 

Copyright © 2016 Azim Lewis Mayadas

 

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