Sunday, 6 March 2016

Karim, an Uncle and a Brother who left us Memories of Platforms, Massages and an Orange BMW!

Karim, we never called him uncle! 1952 - 1982
Karim was my uncle, my dad's younger brother, fifth in a family of six. He was a beautiful carefree spirit and we loved him dearly. We didn't have him for very long, but the memories we have of him will last us a lifetime! He was only 30 when he died on December 14, 1982 and as each of his nieces and nephews have passed that age, we can't believe how young he was and what it would have been like to have him here still!

It was the 70s. He was this tall, slim good looking guy with a beard and long hair and he wore platforms and bell bottoms. His platforms were at least three inches tall! He had a green pair, a purple pair of boots and a black pair of clogs with red stitching on them! He seemed to walk just fine in them and looked very cool in Nairobi!

He moved to London, England when he was quite young. In the Summer he would sell jeans in the market at Wembley and in the winter he'd travel.

We didn't get to see him much. My sisters were in Standard 2 and didn't have school in the afternoons so when Karim was down for holidays, he would ask them to give him a massage and give them 20 shillings each! In those days to a 9 year old, 20 shillings was a whole lot of money! I'd run back after school, so I could get my 20 shillings too!

He brought us outfits from Thailand on one trip back. My sisters got matching beautiful black dresses with coloured stripes and bells on them and I got a Thai shirt (no not quite as exciting as the dresses!). He also came back when my grandmother was ill and we were so happy to see him. No one had told us he was coming, so it was a lovely surprise to see him walking up to us!

When he came back in 1981 and this would be the last time before he died, he bought an orange BMW and then took my sisters and I to Nanyuki (200 km and 3 hours away) to see a girl and her family at their hotel! He probably figured the girl wasn't going to say no when there were three cute kids tagging along! For us, that day is a beautiful memory of a man who did things on a whim and followed his heart! It's also a lovely memory of spending a day out driving in the country in a BMW with our uncle!

He took us for a drive from Nairobi to Nanyuki to meet a girl in an orange BMW! 
We loved Karim but only got to meet him in spurts while we were young, so I asked his sister, my aunt, Julie what he was really like. Here is what she had to say;

Julie, I'm writing about your brother, Karim and would love to include your thoughts on him... anything...whatever your fondest memories are of him.

My dad's siblings - from left to right: Karim, Julie, Mirza, Habiba and Mohamed.

What was Karim like as a brother?

I loved him dearly and especially since we were close in age we got along really well. We even had common friends and ended up at the same parties.

Karim and Julie, the youngest Asani siblings.
What are your favourite memories of him?
I was very proud of him especially when we were at school and I liked being seen with him although he would make me do things like bring him food at parties and introduce him to girls and iron his shirts!

I would save my money and he would spend his then he would borrow from me and never pay back.

I used to borrow his bell bottom pants.

Once he went out and didn’t come home till late. We were worried about him, so I prayed and told God if he brings my brother back I would put one shilling and fifty cents in khane, but when he finally returned I had no money so I told him that he had to give me that money!

He liked motor bikes and once had an accident and had cast in his hand and leg and his leg was suspended from the bed (more like a movie!).

How was he like with his brothers and with Habiba, his sister? Do you have any stories to share?
He was very naughty always got in trouble. Habiba had spoilt him too much giving him what he asked for.

He was also at the Mombasa Aga Khan Hostel with Habiba.

What was his relationship with maa, his mother?
He was very fond of maa. She had also spoilt him and would get mad at him.

Do you know all the countries he went to?
He went to European countries and holidaying to India and Thailand.

Any stories about those countries?

Brought couple of saris...thats all

Did Maa worry about him? Did he call or keep in touch?
Yes she worried about him a lot but in those days mail would take over a month and not everybody had phones, so there wasn’t much contact.

Anything Else you’d like to share?
It was sad when we had just arrived in Calgary (1982) and got a call at Mohamed's (my brother’s) House from Mirza (my brother in London) that Karim had passed away. It was heart breaking. They arranged to bring the body to Calgary since most of the family was in Calgary. He passed away on December 14, 1982. He was born on September 8th 1952. He was only 30!

Mirza took great care if him when he was in London.

Karim even travelled to Canada with Maa and I when we came on vacation in 1977.

Mohamed has lots of stories too of his last few years.

There was a rhyme his friends had made up;

Karim Kakri (Cucumber)
Hath ma lakri (Stick in his hand)
Lakli pochi (Stick was soft)
Karim mochi (Karim shoemaker)

The meanings don’t make sense but it rhymes!

Love Julie.

My uncle, Karim died in London on December 14, 1982. He apparently fell off a building. No one quite knows how he died, Did he jump? Was he pushed?  The police called my uncle, Mirza to break the news. The family was too devastated to look for answers. They flew the body to Calgary. I remember when my dad told us, it was so shocking! We couldn't believe it. My dad flew to Calgary for the funeral. We will always wonder what happened to Karim. He was young, he lived life to the fullest and he was much loved and 33 years after he died we still miss him and remember his platforms, his orange BMW and the loads of money he gave us but most of all we remember the person he was and what we lost as a family!

Thank you for sharing Day 16 of 50 with me!

My son Kahzmir's turns 10 on March 13, 2016.
This is his 10 in 10 days Video Blog
Day 3 of 10

Day 3 (2008) - I Found a Toonie!

Thank You for sharing Kahzmir's Day 3 of of 10 in 10 days with him!


  1. Kahzmir is a natural...he is getting better and better at this video blogging.
    Loved the story about your uncle Minaz. He died really young.
    Enjoying your blog

  2. Lovely but sad post.So sorry about your uncle Karim.
    From Allah we come & from Him we shall all return! Ameen!