19-01-2018 by Freddie del Curatolo
He left suddenly yesterday evening, before the usual prayer in the Mosque.
He was not at all old, although for more than thirty years he was one of the most famous local faces in Malindi, especially among foreign residents.
Who, among the frequent visitors of Malindi, has not entered the Shabbir shop at least once?
Who hasn't had to deal with his gentle ways, his always quiet and friendly character, even when it was a matter of squeezing an employee who had wrongly made the measures of a pillowcase, a trousers, a mosquito net?
Shabbir, an Indian of the numerous Bohra community in Kenya, had a small fabric and tailoring shop in the centre, in the street that arrives from the seafront before the small square of the change and before the most famous "Sarto Moderno".
"Shabbir Variety", a small shop, humble as his character, with a wide back where he was ready to prepare everything.
From the numerous precisely stacked rolls that decorate with standard fabrics (not those that are changing and colored by tourists, and rarely kikoy, if not to order) to cushions and above all custom-made mosquito nets, from towels to striped shirts with few variations on the theme, to all kinds of uniforms for staff.
Beyond what he had to offer in his tight and long shop, Shabbir was always available and operational and eventually found anything you asked.
And knowing his reliability and sense of duty, in the end we Italians used to take advantage of it often and willingly, always coming to him at the last minute. "Shabbir, please, I need 150 covers within 15 days to open a new hotel", or "Shabbir, come home to take the measurements of all the tents, in ten minutes is fine?
Over the decades of the Malindi tourism and Italian presence, Shabbir has furnished the villas of many fellow countrymen, with its tents, the fabrics of cushions and bedspreads, the linings of sofas and armchairs, tablecloths and much more.
Not a showy shop in view of tourists, but a nice, friendly friend of many of us.
He had been suffering from heart for some time, and his accommodating voice had become a little weaker:
He went away in a moment, silently, with the discretion to which he had accustomed us.
Kwaheri, Mzee Shabbir.
Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator
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