My Inspiration

My beloved father passed away in my arms on the first of August, 2015 after living an incredible life. His story is so unique and enchanting that it must be shared. He was born in Nairobi, Kenya to a school teacher father and a beautiful mother that was known for her gentle spirit. At a very young age, he ventured into the African jungle alone, in search of a better life. He began by setting up trading stands in regions where no man had gone before. He lived amongst the local tribes and learned tribal languages that are known to only a handful of people on this earth. He fought great adversity including severe natural conditions and wild animals. Yet he remained strong and through his will and perseverance, he achieved success in this endeavour. He subsequently returned to Nairobi and with the help of a young British banker, my father bought a majestic hotel that he would continue to run for many years. He continued to work diligently and subsequently bought a grocery store. He continued in this fashion, working hard to produce one success after another, soon building an empire across Kenya. He maintained humility in his success and was known to be a captivating man, fiercely intelligent and always at the centre of the action.

He married my mother in a simple ceremony after his first wife passed away. He had 2 children with my mom (in addition to 6 from his first marriage), the youngest of which was me. He cared for all his children deeply and gave each one of us the best quality of life that he could imagine, no matter how hard he had to work to do it. He cared for his extended family, raising his younger siblings as though they were his own children and providing for them as well. He helped his community substantially; it was well known that if a family didn’t have the means for a wedding, they could approach my father and he would provide a respectable ceremony for them in his hotel. Looking through his files after he passed, I came across many letters of appreciation from community endeavours that he had assisted with. He never spoke about these things to me while he was alive, because he didn’t really think twice about them – He just helped when he could, it’s who he was.

The world is truly at a loss with his passing, but I know he is in a better place. I want to celebrate his life and be worthy of carrying his legacy forward. I am grateful for the wonderful memories that I have of my father, especially in recent years. I can still feel the pride emanating from him at my medical school graduation, during my religious appointments and on my wedding day; he was always my most ardent supporter. I cherish the profound conversations we had during the weeks leading up to his passing and will never forget watching him take his last breath, my mother and I by his side. I hope that this is a new beginning for me, as I enter a new chapter of my life with a fresh perspective and a desire to become the person that my dad knew I was capable of becoming.

To my father: I love you and you will always be in my heart. I am honoured to be part of the Life of a Legend.

Madat Lalani

1925-2015

May you rest in eternal peace

1946: My father at age 21. Even in his younger days he always dressed like a proper gentleman (Kisumu, Kenya)
1946: My father at age 21. Even in his younger days he always dressed like a proper gentleman (Kisumu, Kenya)
Circa 1950’s: Standing in an archway (Kisumu, Kenya)
Circa 1950’s: Standing in an archway (Kisumu, Kenya)
Circa 1970’s: Standing in the doorway (Nairobi, Kenya)
Circa 1970’s: Standing in the doorway (Nairobi, Kenya)
1981: Enjoying a picnic with my brother and mother (Nairobi, Kenya)
1981: Enjoying a picnic with my brother and pregnant mother (Nairobi, Kenya)
1983: My father and I (Nairobi, Kenya)
1983: My father and I (Nairobi, Kenya)
Circa 1985: Attending a function in London, my brother and I sitting below (London, UK).
Circa 1985: Attending a function in London, my brother and I sitting below (London, UK).
2009: Watching traditional tribal ceremonies while visiting my fathers roots (Masai Mara, Kenya)
2009: Watching traditional tribal ceremonies while visiting my fathers roots (Masai Mara, Kenya)
2012: Enjoying family celebrations with my mother on the night before my wedding (Toronto, Canada).
2012: Enjoying family celebrations with my mother on the night before my wedding (Toronto, Canada).
2012: Greeting guests at my wedding (Toronto, Canada).
2012: Greeting guests at my wedding (Toronto, Canada).
2013: Always smiling, always joking (Toronto, Canada).
2013: Always smiling and always joking (Toronto, Canada).