Calcutta: Hanif Mohammed, who is undergoing chemotherapy in London, after a cancer-related surgery on July 9, is actually battling another crisis as well: Elder son Shoaib’s younger son, Aayan, is fighting for his life in Karachi’s Aga Khan Hospital.
Aayan, who is six years old, has an “inoperable tumour” in his brain and may not survive for long. His form of cancer — diffuse pontine glioma — has knocked out the “coordination” within his young body.
As Hanif, a former Pakistan captain and one of the great batsmen of his time, is particularly close to Aayan, the nature of the illness hasn’t been communicated to him. But he’s aware that Aayan is very ill and in hospital.
According to younger son Shahzeb, who is based in London, Hanif could become “more depressed” if he learns that Aayan has cancer which cannot be cured.
“Dad is in the midst of his own battle and, now, he has to deal with this issue of a beloved grandchild. It’s very tough on him…
“In fact, it’s so stressful for the entire family. Shoaib (a former Pakistan player himself) is in the hospital 24x7 and it’s a daily struggle for him and the rest of the folks back in Karachi…
“Dad has, over the past two months, been overwhelmed by messages of goodwill from across the world. Now, he’s appealing to all his well-wishers to pray for Aayan instead…
“The family has faith in Allah and we do believe in miracles, but please pray for my nephew,” an emotional Shahzeb told The Telegraph.
Incidentally, for some months, Aayan was treated with medicines from a Calcutta-based homeopath.
As for Hanif, he will complete his second cycle of chemotherapy (over two days) in London itself, on September 30, and then leave for home.
Sadly, cancer seems to be following the Mohammeds — Hanif’s father, Ismail Shaikh, succumbed to it soon after migrating to Pakistan from Junagadh.