Monday, August 23, 2010

Goodbye Saleem!

Saleem cutting his last birthday cake with us!
I will always remember 22 December 2008; it was the day when I first met Saleem Mirza.
It was nearly 2 pm as I was waiting at the reception to be interviewed by the Karachi Office’s Director. Just when I was beginning to get impatient a man entered the reception area and asked for me. He was of a tall stature, wearing glasses and a courteous countenance, as I observed. I stood up as he introduced himself as Saleem Mirza, the director of Techlogix Karachi Office, and lead me to his room for the interview. He opened the door and entered after me, took his chair after I had taken mine and apologized for keeping me waiting! He asked if I would like to have some coffee or tea, and inquired if I would not mind waiting a few more minutes, so that he could finish writing an important email!
I was very astonished at the gracious manners of the Director, towards a fresh graduate, who came for an interview! 

It was almost 2 hours later that I left Saleem’s room; it was a thoroughly unique experience for me. I came to know that Saleem was not only modest and frank but exceptionally intelligent and a cool minded person, having a ‘Nothing-is-Impossible’ attitude towards his profession. He had the ability to course a constructive discussion on any topic be it technicalities or education, hobbies or politics, with an ease that speaks plainly of the vast scope of his intellect. A very rare person who makes you comfortable the instance he starts talking with you!

This was the first impression that I had of Saleem, an impression which never left me and will always stay with me whenever I’ll think of him!

From my very first day at Techlogix, Saleem was very helpful and genial. Be it the Employee Handbook, health insurance forms or the bank account opening, he explained everything to me in detail. During lunch he used to discuss any topic at hand, be it current affairs, games or our hobbies, and his demeanor always encouraged us to speak up our minds and share our ideas. I will remember all those lunches, events and TRF when he used to share his experiences of traveling or people, when he used to say something witty and laugh at it along us. He was not only cheerful and friendly at his verbal communication but also in his written communication. His emails addressed to Karachi office always used to start with ‘Folks’ and end with ‘Cheers!’.
Saleem extreme right on his birthday celebrations!
Reminiscences of Saleem would be incomplete without mentioning Table Tennis! He was a champion when it comes to TT tournaments, always the best at everything, how Saleem could have been any different at TT! He was a player all others used to awe and dread, especially his classic smashes and serve! We used to wonder how come Saleem played so extraordinary without any practice!

Whenever I had a concern or a complaint, I used to consult Saleem without any hesitation. I always found him attentive and hospitable, assuring and helpful. I will never forget the concern and kindness with which he used to inquire in detail after my father’s health, at the time when my father was seriously ill and undergoing medical treatments, he was always assuring and benign.

My work experience with Saleem was no different either. It was challenging because there wasn’t any area and technology that Saleem didn't knew. He always used to be well prepared for all the meetings, well informed regarding the project(s) and the task at hand. Always eager to explain and help with the learning of new tools and technologies. He was involved deeply in nearly every project going on in Karachi office, a living FS and Design Guidebook of all those projects!

I remember all the long project discussions we used to had, and me coming out of his room with my mind full of things, wondering with awe how did Saleem knew such a lot! He was a perfectionist when it comes to work, very committed and dedicated. He used to read our minds, I remember those times when I used to show my disapproval of the minute change requests sent by the clients, and taking in my expressions he used to put in a funny comment so abruptly that I had to stop myself with difficulty from laughing hard! He always used to give credit with such enthusiasm and generosity that the next time you wanted to work harder to please him!

There was no haughtiness or pride in Saleem; he always treated all of us on an equal footing. I noticed after joining Techlogix, that everybody called him Saleem. Our seniors used to say that he had asked them not to call him by anything, but his name. It had been just a month working with him on a project, when one day after the meeting he called me back and said, 'Jinaab, there is no need to call me Sir! Bas Saleem bola kerain'!

There is so much more that I wanted to write and say. I want to pour out all the recollections and to keep on writing. But I must stop, because there are memories etched deep in my mind, memories which I will keep cherishing and remembering!

The 17th of August was a heartbreaking day when I read about Saleem’s death just after the Mo’azan finished the call to Fajr prayer. I was frozen with shock, when I got the SMS telling that we have lost Saleem forever, it was incomprehensible, meaningless, and I keep repeating to myself that it can’t be true! Until the news was confirmed, I hoped dreadfully to let it be a mistake please, don’t let it be true. It was just the same with everyone else I contacted to confirm or inform about Saleem! We all didn’t want to believe that Saleem is gone!

Inna Lil Lahi Wa Inna Elaihi Ra’jioun!

All that day memories kept flashing at me, at times making me cry and sometimes making me smile in spite of myself. The happy face of Saleem, his ways and his jokes, all the events we had with him, the ice skating and bowling at Arena, the dinners and lunches. All the project status meetings with him, the late sittings for the releases, the CBD QA fixes on Saturday at which he was present to give us support, all those kept coming back to me.

All of a sudden it dawned on me that the contact ‘Saleem Mirza’ will never again blink on my screen, there won’t be any new emails in the folder ‘Saleem Mirza’, the first line of the attendance register won’t say anymore that Saleem reached office at 8:30 am, not anymore would he peep from his office’s doorway and beckon me in, saying, ‘Jinaab aik cheez discuss kerni hai, agar time ho tou ajain!’. I remembered our last meeting, our last goodbye, our last lunch and our last TRF with Saleem. Not for a second have we dreamt that we would never ever see him again!

I wanted to say so many things to him; it was only after he left for the US, that I realized I will miss him very much. It was then, that I felt his special qualities and virtues most deeply. I wanted to apologize and thank him for many things, but that moment never came!

Saleem have parted with us forever, and the only memories he left behind are good and beautiful! There are very few blessed people who leave behind them only good feelings and recollections. It’s with tears and sting that I will say goodbye to Saleem. The void his absence has created in Karachi office and Techlogix could never be filled in! We all simply can’t imagine a Karachi office without Saleem!

O Allah, bestow your mercy and peace upon the gentle soul that has left us! Bless him with high honors in Janaat-ul-Firdous(the most esteemed Garden of the Heaven)! And give strength and peace to the hearts of those he left behind him especially his Family. (Ameen)

Saleem(extreme left first row) with Khi office after the cricket match


  1. Indeed Saleem has left us all in tears and with memories of his that are only to be cherished.
    Don't want to say goodbye, but have to, to convince my mind that i will never be able to meet him again.
    May Allah bless him and rest his soul in peace. And give strength and courage to his family(specially his kids) to deal with life after him. Ameen.

  2. Ameen!!
    InshaAllah Allah will guide over them and give them the strength and support to bear this loss,and carry on.

  3. I have met Saleem only a few times and was very impressed with his demenour and grace. May Allah give his family the support they need and show his kids their mercy

  4. I was very sad to hear that my father is no more with us. The day i heard this, all my tears rolled down my cheeks. May Allah bless him and us and send him to paradise.

  5. Ameen.
    Ahmad, i cant express my feelings after reading your reply, i have no words to condole you, its your reply that i am reading again and again...

    May Allah bless you and your family with all that is good, may He strengthen you all and may He always be there to guide and guard you all... Ameen

    The cute little boy who used to come to office after school sometimes, has grown up a lot... May Allah bless you, Shanzay your mom and your family always... ameen


  6. Thank you so much for giving this reply. May Allah bless you too(Ameen). And Indeed i have grown up a lot :-). I also skipped grade 3 and went to grade 4. Have u skipped any grade when u were a kid? I want to meet u when i come to karachi.

  7. You are most welcome Ahmad, and yes indeed you have grown up a lot, MashaAllah:).
    And you are right smart kid to jump up a grade, i wasn't as smart as you are :D
    Sure i want to meet you so much, let me know your email address or any contact number, bt the way i have your dada abbu's contact, will contact you if you'll come over to khi,InshaAllah.
    Take care, love to u and shanzay(i hope i spelt it correctly) :)

  8. My email address is Of course u spelt my sister's name correctly.

  9. Great :)
    I'll catch you at hotmail.
    Take care,


  10. salim - just remembering you on your birthday. when we were kids - January was an importtant month at your mom's place as there were used to two birthdays - yours and your sister's. we all had lots of fun - and those memories will always keep you alive in our hearts and mind. May Allah bless your soul in peace and His blessing always be there with your family. Muniza

  11. Looking back today, I realized how much has changed within just few months. May Allah bless us all