A Fallen Leaf

Murtaza A Somji (Nairobi, Kenya)

Realizing that nature presents us with lessons on every turn, I settled on a study of a leaf. For I feel, therein lies a great tutorial about how to live {not exist} in this universe. The intricate veins laid out so  meticulously on a green platter, the smooth and sometimes zig-zag design on its edge, the curve and the curl of a leaf denote the physical aspect of this wonderful phenomenon and what it renders to Nature, yet what lies within is what caught my attention.

Every leaf has a story to tell. Some vibrant velvety green while some withered orange brown, yet all leaves leave an indelible mark on our being. People pick them to make medicines, while birds use them to build robust yet delicate nests. They  uphold a rain-drop and balance it with unimaginable skill while the wind can make them dance frantically, creating sacred music through the rustle and the swish. They are the grassroots of the eco-system whether up on the branch or buried deep in the sands.

After giving so much to Nature it finally withers and falls. Now it’s ‘A fallen leaf’ which gently descends onto the ground and caresses the rough rocky patch on earth, as if reassuring it that soon I will become one with you and we shall create new life together.

The most striking similarity of a leaf in humankind is a Mum. She nurtures us to her very best ability and brings us up to be upright and good. Doing all that; she slowly releases her green pigmentation to the family, especially her children. Her feelings unfold as she unleashes passionate love through her intricate veins as she ensures that her children are well nurtured to sustain the onslaught of this world. She imbibes in us values that have no equal and creates a (wo)man out of our fragile beings. She teaches us to let the leaves of mediocrity fall from the tree of life; and is always there to wipe a tear from our eyes.

As we grow, she has the wisdom to recede in the shadows, but is always there when our heart yearns for her. Just like a butterfly that lands imperceptibly on our shoulders that we hardly feel its presence, just like the earth who never knew that ‘A fallen Leaf’ had caressed it’s rough rocky surface. Such are Mums; silent yet salient. Any word in tribute to them is lesser than a drop in the ocean.

There are no enough accolades that can be registered on paper, they can only be felt and appreciated by the heart as we trudge along the laid down path of life. Mums are indeed beacons of faith and hope; and light our paths with unwavering light.  The real realization comes when they pass on; and desolation sets in. Life suddenly becomes rudderless, aimless and adrift; like the paper-ship we used to sail when we were young –in the turbulent open sea.

Then, out of the blue; we see her in our dreams; smiling and urging us on. Telling us in a way that she’s happy where she is and encouraging us silently to move on. It is then that we realize that in mourning her, we need to celebrate her life and learn what she taught us – The real lessons of life.

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About the author

Born in Tanga in 1959 in a humble family background, Alhaj Murtaza Somji studied at the Minto Ophthalmic Hospital in Bangalore, India to qualify as an Ophthalmic Optician. He then worked in Dubai as a senior optometrist for three years and finally settled in Kenya in 1989. He established his optical practice in Westlands –an upmarket suburb of Nairobi and has been operating as Eyestyle Opticians Limited since then.

Community service had been ingrained in his life from childhood as he regularly volunteered for Tanga Jamaat during his young age. After migrating to Nairobi and studying the Nairobi Jamaat dynamics, he assumed Governorship of the Golden Crescent Group in 1996. This led to bigger opportunities and he rose to the position of assistant Hon. Secretary of the Jamaat and then on to the post of the Hon. Secretary and finally served as the Chairman of SAAJ from 2004 to 2008. Prior to that he had taken up posts in the AF Sports Festival organizing committee, Africa Federation Education Board, Hon. Secretary - Nairobi Jaffery Education Board and more recently as a Board Member of a local NGO CHEPs. He has also had the honor of serving as the Hon. Trustee of Nairobi Jamaat, committee member of Housing Project Committee Nairobi and finally as the Chairman of the Nairobi Jaffery Education Board.

Murtaza Somji has also had the prestigious honor of serving the Ahlulbayt through his renditions of Manqabat, Naath and Merthiyas and continues to contribute to the general good of the Community at large.

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