Salim was not just my first cousin; he was one of my closest friends, a closeness that spanned 50 years. He was born on June 9, 1953, the first son after three daughters, to Adham and Bahiya Cader. He schooled throughout at Royal College, Colombo. He was an avid outdoorsman who loved life and his family with a passion that is hard to find in most.
As a family, we will tire ourselves trying to find a reason for his premature death.
True to his personal style, Salim led a full life, although he passed away peacefully at his home, his wife Arusia by his side. Needless to say, I was devastated when I heard the news of his untimely death on January 15.
We shared all the ups and downs of the growing-up years, girlfriends, clubbing, the works. I had my first cigarette with him, and Salim was with me when I dated my wife.
As he grew older, and with the birth of his gorgeous children Sajida, Noory and Ghazi, Salim started making great spiritual progress. Our conversations would veer into Sufism as we tried to find answers to complex religious questions. He continued to lead the good life, as far as religion permitted, and he was a great family man.
Salim’s mother Bahiya was my mother’s younger sister, and his father, Uncle Adham, was the well-known lawyer and former Deputy Speaker of Parliament, I. A. Cader, who was also Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Egypt.
Just like Salim and myself, our late fathers, IA and my Dad, the late advocate M. H. A. Aziz, grew up together as close friends. They grew up in the same neighbourhood, in Talapitiya, Galle. Their friendship was such that they were able to fulfill their teenage desire to marry two sisters, and the two families ended up living next door to each other in Bambalapitya!
It is no easy task to comfort those who have lost a loved one. It is they who feel the loss most, and they have to find the best way to get on with their lives.
Arusiya and the children can take comfort in the fact that Salim has left behind a host of friends and relatives who will always be there for them at all times.
Salim has heeded the Almighty’s call and left us, Insha Allah, to dwell in Paradise, in the majestic presence of his Creator and Protector.
May Allah Almighty bless and have mercy on Salim’s soul and grant him Jennathul Firdause. May the Merciful Lord also give strength to Salim’s widow, children and family so they can bear this sad loss and continue to protect and have mercy upon them.
By Ifthikhar Aziz