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On the 6th of September, 2007, we made our way to Toronto, Canada, full of hope, plus with a little apprehension for Sasha’s next phase in life – her tertiary education. 

She was among the first batch of seven students who received a scholarship from the Cuban government to do medicine. It was one of the first collaborative ventures between the Malaysian and Cuban government.

We decided to go with her to Havana to get a firsthand look at Cuba and its medical fraternity, having heard so much about their excellence in the field of medicine.

We landed in Toronto on the 7th  and having family there, they arranged a trip for us to the Niagara Falls. 

Needless to say, we were so excited to see one of the magnificent wonders of the world.

It was late when we arrived at the Niagara Falls, but I can still remember how awestruck I was with the mesmerizing colorful tirade of the waterfalls and its lit up surroundings. One can never put a finger to the exact words describing its beauty.

A little tired, we headed back to the hotel, looking forward to the next day.

Very early the next morning, the 8th of September, I received a call that my youngest brother had passed away. 

It was the worst nightmare that I went through after hearing that horrible news. I have still not got over the feeling of numbed loss that day. 

Just before we left, we had all gathered in my house and he stayed back to spend the night with us.

I was broken, shattered, and cried non-stop. I couldn’t imagine what Sasha, who was very close to her uncle, was going through. 

She was to begin a new life far away from family, and this was mind-shattering.

How do you deal with a loss of a loved one when so far away. I couldn’t make it back for the funeral. I was totally broken. All I wanted to do was to return home and be with the rest of the family.

Crestfallen, unable to express my feelings of devastation, I started writing poetry, hence, began my writing journey.

 His death gave me an avenue to an unfulfilled dream, directed me to a passion that I never knew existed within me. I am sure it was a gift to me from him. I owe him for charting a new direction in my life, a very noble and satisfying path for me, I should say. Just like him, I learned to inspire others around me with words,(I hope to, that is..)

Today, is his 13th death anniversary, and it is still so hard to come to terms with not having him with us.

 Rest in peace, Des. I love you.


You, the luminescence,

the tireless light that leads me,

I have walked through dark passages,


You were there, as always with your gentle smile,

Awaking me from depths of despair.

I love you.



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