A final goodbye…

Dear Aziz & Company,

You are labelled a small business, but to me, you are larger than life.

Dear Aziz & Company,

Your shattered front window by late night Bank street hooligans was the reason for 2 am phone calls by the police on several occasions. I still remember being curled up in my father’s arms listening to him tell me stories about his childhood while we waited for the glass repair people; the city remarkably peaceful in the early morning despite the shattered glass on the street.

Dear Aziz & Company,

For most of my young life you felt like an anchor around my neck, weighing me down, forbidding me to follow my own dreams. I never realized until much later that you were a gift that shaped me into a person that is able to tackle virtually anything put in front of me.

Dear Aziz & Company,

While I ran you, you occupied my every thought 24/7. You were my complete consumption. If I was out, I promoted you, if I met new people, I told them about you, if I saw something I thought would look good in you, I bought it to improve you. You were an incessant obsession which makes letting go of you all the more difficult.

Dear Aziz & Company,

Your smell, from literally thousands of burned incense sticks, is as familiar to me as the scent of my own skin. It is a fragrance that comforts me, envelops me and makes me feel held by a spirit larger than life. I will miss it more than I can put into words.

Dear Aziz & Company,

You are like another member of my family. You caused me feelings of jealousy, of hurt ego, of fear, of joy, of sorrow and of pride. You have been a part of my life as long as I have been alive and you have been unwavering in your support of me.

Dear Aziz & Company,

You are the embodiment of the immigrant dream. You were started by two South Asian immigrants who dared to dream about a better life for their children and then continued to be infused with energy by the very children you were created for.

Dear Aziz & Company,

You were the first store that brought culture and ethnicity to the capital in a way that had never been done before. While others came up around you, small and big box in nature, you were steadfast and strong. You stood your ground while others flared up and dissolved like flashes in the night.

Dear Aziz & Company,

You helped an awkward, very shy young girl make friends, make an impact, make a difference in people’s lives.

Dear Aziz & Company,

There was a moment, during one of the last celebrations of your life, when Bollywood for Fun was dancing, people were clapping and smiling and you were full of vibrant energy, that I felt myself frozen in time. Your now empty counters and hollow echo hurt my heart so I hold tight to that memory, among a million others, and pray that I never lose it’s essence to old age or time.

Dear Aziz & Company,

You were my other home. I know every inch of you. I know your creaky floors, your dusty walls, your chipping paint and water stained ceilings. I remember every attempt I made to clean you, to primp you, to present you as new. I have seen you morph and transform, take on different incarnations to suit the economy, the trends, but always, at your core, you were the same; you were my home.

Dear Aziz & Company,

I remember hearing about the corner of Bank & Gilmour from the police, from tourists, from strangers and from historians. And I remember saying with pride that it was you that made that corner stand out. Made it a landmark. Made it a destination. Made it an institution.

Dear Aziz & Company,

You will be gone from that corner by the time this blog is posted and you will be ours no more. But you will still be. You will be remembered, you will be talked about fondly, you will be a part of Ottawa’s history and you will always be a part of me.

I will grieve you, I will miss you and I will see you in my dreams.

Goodbye, my old friend.

aziz and company melange photo

 

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