N is for Nizami #AtoZchallenge

N.jpgDear dad,

I didn’t even know your name was Nizami for the first few years of my life. My grandpa was my dad.


We had a health check at school once a year. That was the only time when someone would ask our father’s name. I said Heydar. They couldn’t find me on the list. But there was Gulara on the list and her dad’s name was Nizami. When the nurse said it was me, I felt awkward. My face was burning. What did my classmates thought of me? Anyway, I came home and found my birth certificate. Inside, your name was written in large neat letters.

One day, I decided I wanted to know how you looked. You probably knew about Azerbaijani superstition: If a girl looks like her dad, she’d be happy in life (translation: happily married when she grows up). Anyway, I raided all our photo albums, and eventually found a photo of a young man. On the back of the photo there was a short message: ‘From Nizami to Mehriban with love.’ Elated, I carried the photo with me everywhere. I carefully examined your photo trying to find some resemblance.

There was none.

I looked nothing like the man on the photo. Resigned to an unhappy future, I was still pleased to find that photo. On one occasion, the photo accidentally slipped out my book, and I nearly got in trouble for it.

‘Who are you dating,’ my mum confronted me.

I had to tell her it was your photo.


When I showed her the photo, she laughed.

‘You thought it was your dad? It’s my cousin. He sent this photo when he was serving his conscription.’

She said if I wanted to see you, she could arrange for us to meet up. Except… It would break my grandparents’ hearts. They might think they were not good parents to me.

I said ‘no.’

I didn’t want to be ungrateful towards my grandparents. And now you are gone for good. I will never see you in person. But at least I have your photos now. I was 36 when I found my auntie and she gave me two of your photos.

At least I now know I looked like you.

May you rest in peace. I’m sorry we didn’t get to meet each other in this lifetime. I’m so sorry, I never had a chance to get to know you. I’m so sorry, you didn’t get to know me.

Thank you for my life. Thank you for my name.

With love,


Thank you for reading. This post is a part of the April A to Z Blogging Challenge. My theme is ‘love letters’. And while you are here, let’s connect on Facebook and Twitter too.

33 thoughts on “N is for Nizami #AtoZchallenge

  1. I ever knew my parents, adopted. Found my mother in 2012, didn’t work, made contact again beginning of this year. It’s sensitive and complex and all rather tricky, essentially strangers.

    Really appreciating your writing, hearing about your life and loves and wanting to hug you during the sad parts, but always champion you on. Rather like you, you see 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Silvia. There is a book (well, manuscript), but for the time being it’s back on a backburner. I lost confidence for a short while and your words fill me with hope and encouragement. Thank you!


  2. Dear Gulara, I can only imagine how this still hurts. Luckily I had the change to meet my birth-farther twice, so I know how he ‘talks and walks’. Unfortunately he’s an unpleasant men, but again I’m lucky to have two great stepfathers.
    Don’t ever lose your confidence again, ’cause your story needs to be told. It already has helped me a lot and I’m sure you’re like me ‘if I can reach and help just one person, then I’ve reached my goal’. So keep on telling/writing/sharing, please! Kind regards, Patty

    Liked by 1 person

    • I was told that if I met him or grew up with him being around I wouldn’t have liked him at all. He was incredibly jealous and quite violent towards my mum while she was pregnant.
      Thank you for your encouragement to write. I agree whole-heartedly – one life touched is enough. Anything above and beyond is a bonus. Many blessings, Patty.

      Liked by 1 person

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