Time, novels and ancient Rome

On Naseeb’s birthday holding time and lighting up his love of books, ancient Rome and our complex and beautiful world.

by Balwant, Naseeb’s mother

It’s daffodil flowering time of year again.  In a previous post we mentioned that when Naseeb was little he would tell people his birthday was when the daffodils come out.  On this which would have been Naseeb’s 25th birthday, and the 4th birthday since he died, daffodils are flowering including under his memorial tree.

Time has warped since Naseeb died.  Often I find myself watching the past whilst trying to exist in the present.  Particularly at tender times of the year like when it’s Naseeb’s birthday, the anniversary of his passing away and the end of the year.  I become subdued and go into a vortex of my own thoughts, whilst the world carries on around me.  Losing Naseeb has been all consuming.  The words of Italo Calvino from his novel Invisible Cities come to mind:

Continue reading “Time, novels and ancient Rome”

Mirrors, Memories, Light

A second anniversary, trying to distil some thoughts and feelings, a father’s reflections in poetic prose.

I wrote this a few days ago over the late May bank holiday, the second anniversary of Naseeb’s passing, and wanted to share it with anyone who remembers Naseeb.   I know quite a few friends are wondering how I am and I never manage to put it into words properly or sometimes don’t say much at all, but I guess this gives an idea though its written at the toughest time of the year for both us parents.  Its kind of written in a poetic prose-monologue style, not on purpose it’s just how it came out and then tidied up to be shared.

– – – – –

Mirrors, Memories, Light

We’re having a beer at a busy square in a bohemian locality of Barcelona.  This evening a crowd of young people gather together, chatting, chilling, a few playing instruments.  You’re imbued with the energetic and creative vibe of the place and feel you’d love to come here maybe to stay one day.

We’re canoeing around a small lake at Gwalia farm near Machynlleth in Wales.  You’re 10 years old with a face full of radiant vigour.  Later you fall into the water and drench, big hassle when we’re away camping.  Hey ho, since when was a drenching allowed to get in the way?  Next day with that mischievous smile you’re raring to go again.

Two years have passed,
you’re still not here.
My phone is always switched on
awaiting your call, though
I know it will never come.
But what if it did?

Continue reading “Mirrors, Memories, Light”

Daffodils and birthdays

Hello everyone, it’s  been a long time since anything was posted on this website.  With Naseeb’s birthday coming up on Monday we thought you might like to see this photo.  It’s of Naseeb crouching behind daffodils in our old front garden on his 3rd birthday.  As you can see he had a keen eye for fashion even then.
The recent cold weather and snow has slowed down the flowering of daffodils in our garden – they’re the signature flowers for Naseeb’s birthday.  So we’ve got a few bunches from a local shop.  Love to all from Balwant and Kooj  X x

Naseeb, art and uprisings (with Femi)

A bold composition with strong lines and muted colours in keeping with the look of street and activist printing but with a modern contemporary twist. Yep, that really was him wearing the army gear. Naseeb, art and uprisings…

The Arab Uprisings caught the world’s attention in a very big way around early 2011 with incredible images of ordinary people standing up to and battling their governments. These images struck a chord with Naseeb, who also saw the links between them and other actions like the Occupy Movement. He admired those young people taking to the streets against corrupt authorities despite putting their own lives at risk.

That same year, Naseeb decided on this subject matter for his GCSE art project while at Manchester Grammar School. He roped in his friend Femi Nylander to pose together in similar action scenarios, and had themselves photographed by the art teacher. He split these photographs into cut out sections that could be reassembled. From these he created a set of tricky and labour intensive lino cuts which he then printed and reassembled into a final image, in combination with some digital printing.

Continue reading “Naseeb, art and uprisings (with Femi)”

Poem to Naseeb from his father

With the end of May approaching, Naseeb’s father collected his feelings and thoughts then put them down as this poem to Naseeb.

I just wrote this poem to Naseeb, my son, on the first anniversary of his passing (27th May).  The circus of thoughts and feelings that have been swamping me crossed over with a photograph which I still had on my mobile phone.  The photo was of Naseeb at the airport in Rome at the end of a lovely holiday we had there in April 2015.  I’d hardly looked at it since then but it now somehow called out to me.

Here’s the poem.

Naseeb at Rome Airport, 29th April 2015: a poem to Naseeb
Naseeb at Rome Airport, 29th April 2015

Love is always breathing

There you were.
Defiant. Independent.
The airport queues in Rome
seemed endless
We all stood waiting
to inch forward a little,
but not you.
You sat down on the floor
Calmly pulled out a novel
and began to read.

Continue reading “Poem to Naseeb from his father”

Are the daffodils coming out?

The question of daffodils coming out was important for Naseeb very many years ago…

When Naseeb/’Chewie’ was young (as in ‘little’) people would ask him when his birthday was, he would reply “When the daffodils come out”. Ever since then we have had daffodils around on his birthday, which is coming up on 5th March. Not sure at all how we’ll feel on that day (bite nails…), but we got hold of some daffs and they are in a vase gradually opening up. If anybody else wants a moment to remember Naseeb you’ll have your own memories, but some of you might like to try a few daffs maybe… (…I know one or two are doing so). [originally posted on Facebook on 3rd March 2017 by Kooj, Naseeb’s dad]

[ps. image is daffodils photoshopped over Naseeb walking up the lengthy Spanish Steps in Rome 2015]

Onions, Chapattis, Chilli Peppers…

Memories come at oddly random times and so this is an oddly random post – about Onions, Chapattis, Chilli Peppers…


Chopping an onion the other day (ok ok, see the pic), it was one of those many times I remembered Naseeb. The way he hadn’t got used to it without his eyes smarting. He loved spicy food where chopped onions are essential so something he’d need to get used to sometime. Even with his eyes watering his face had that usual look of being as amused by it as he was irritated. He’d put on some music to keep the vibe going while we’d cook, all kinds of stuff though we did have a phase of both being into playing the Red Hot Chilli Peppers at one time – ok yeah very apt!

This post might feel slightly on the random side, though along with a pic of the onion here is also a pic of Naseeb around Xmas 2012 making some chapattis with his mum (I haven’t got one of him chopping an onion) to show he regularly did his bit in the kitchen. Naseeb is in my mind, sight, smell and sound all the time.


We’ve been a bit quiet leading up to Xmas and also afterwards which we struggled through. I wanted to post something since its been a couple of months since the last post, and good to have something a bit lighter? Plenty of news to come (and not more Onions, Chapattis, Chilli Peppers type stuff), including a date for the inquest and a tree to be planted for Naseeb in Longford Park. His birthday is also coming up – 5th March, which will be a hard but precious time for us. Thanks to so many people for the support. Kooj x (Naseeb’s dad)