In Act I, Scene I of William Shakespeare’s “The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Valentine declares: “I rather would entreat thy company To see the wonders of the world abroad Than, living dully sluggardized at home Wear out thy youth with shapeless idleness.” Col Saied Malik liked this idea so much that he chose to put in his unpublished book “Out of the Dust.”
Col. Malik died about four years ago on August 22, 2015 after having living and worked in the Washington area for decades after his life. His memorable life lives in many hearts, not just his immediate family. He was blessed with six sons, fourteen grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Born in Amritsar in 1922, Col Saied served in Pakistan Army during 1948-1980. His military service included serving during the wars in 1948, 1965 and 1971. One his Pakistan Military Academy (PMA) roommate was Major Aziz Bhatti – the National Hero martyred during the 1965 War and who is said to have held a whole division at bay going from bunker to bunker.
“Uncle Bhatti used to give us piggyback rides,” remembers Amir Saied Malik, one of Col Malik’s six sons.
After retirement and immigrating to U.S., Col. Malik continued to work and serve his community. “He was always very well dressed, proper coat and tie and crisp shirt with dress pants… serious ‘mind your own business’ kind of personality… busy in typing or reading Washington Post,” remembers Dr. Zaheer A. Bajwa
“I can vouch that without fail he would come to work at sharp 9 fully dressed and would start working at his desk… found him to be extremely articulate person in all aspects of the word. Would take his job very seriously and would finish the daily work before he would go home. His desk would be very clean. He developed a very nice filing system,” Dr. Bajwa continued.
“Father was considered one of the best legal minds in Pakistan Army – mastering the penal code,” remembers Shahid Malik, his son. “He continued his education in U.S. and obtained legal education which he put to use by helping many immigrants,” continued Shahid Malik.
“He was a Republican but was turned off by the ‘Family Values’ hypocrisy used by them all the time,” says Amir Rehman Malik – an extended family member.
“He used to travel all over the world, even into his early 80s… used to show me maps of exactly where he was going on a day by day basis; it seemed like Col Sahib was explaining his ‘war strategy’ while explaining his planned trip,” remembers Amir Rehman Malik.
Col Malik traveled light sometimes with just a back-pack. His practice was to sleep on the train and preferred to wake up in a new city when the morning broke.
On one of his trips, he took his grandson Tallal Naveed Malik as a traveling partner to Southern Europe and Morocco. In one year, Col Malik travelled ten countries.
From his notes, one notes amazing precision. He was able to recall the entire menu of the flight between cities and whether the music played was Wolfgang Mozart or Bela Bartok. He notes the Blue Mosque in Istanbul had 21,043 tiles and the diameter of the middle column is 36.3 meters.
“Cities are like beauties. You should admire them from afar,” Col Malik would say to friends. In his detailed notes on his journeys, Col Saied wrote: “we think of travel as a matter of place, when in fact place is a matter of people.”
There are some interesting things in his travel notes. For instance, “why is a bridge in Cairo called the 6th October Bridge?” He wrote in the explanation that it commemorated the Egyptian Army’s crossing of the Suez Canal in October 1973 during the war with Israel. “What is Rabbath Ammon? It is the old name of Amman- Jordan’s Capital, which was the Capital of Amonites,” Col Saied noted in his book.
In his October 2000 visit to Budapest, Col Saied wrote about the tomb of the dervish named Gul Baba. He noted that among whose coffin bearers was Ottoman Sultan Suleman. “The name of Gul Bab loosely translates into ‘uncle rose.’ However, the rose (Gul) does not refer to Gul Baba’s passion for the flower, but believed to be used in a metaphoric sense, referring to the mystical knowledge and certitude that the saint obtained from God.”