My Friend, Omar Khan – By Andre Rehal
By Andre Rehal
As I sit here and write this blog entry I am at a loss. For words, for my inability to sleep and worst of all I am at a loss for a very close friend, Omar Khan. He passed away from the result of injuries sustained from a car crash the previous Thursday (June 4th, 2009).
I met Omar when he began training at our Martial Arts school, what seems like a million years ago (closer to 8 or 9). We did not hit it off. In fact, he later admitted to me that he thought I was an idiot and thought I was weird. Never deterred, I continued to harass him and he continued to shut me out. This went on for a while.
One day I happened to be singing the chorus from a Black Star (Mos Def & Talib Kweli hip hop group for those that don’t know) track entitled “Definition”, needless to say we found our common ground and quickly became friends after that. We discovered other things we shared in common like an enjoyment of comic books and movies, and obviously martial arts.
Omar began to come out of his shell and hung out with all of us at the Dojo. We formed a quick friendship and shared a passion for lively debate. The one thing that never changed was his stubbornness, he was a very black and white person then and still was. We would argue into the wee hours of the morning about various topics ranging philosophy to theology to who would win in a fight.
He would always place me into these strange and impossible scenarios and present me with black and white options. I would naturally argue the grey in between of things and he would promptly change the parameters on me, just like that. It was very infuriating to try and debate things with him. It’s one of the things I will miss very much.
Eventually, I went off to University and we kept in touch via e-mail and the odd phone call here and there. During this time Omar decided to abandon his life long goal of becoming a police officer, given some unfavorable occurrences that tainted his opinion of the law. He was lost, like many of us are or were at some point, trying to find something to do with his life. He tried personal training, martial arts instruction and various other avenues of employment all with the same unsuccessful result.
I encouraged him to go back to school, which I recently found out his father did also. He eventually enrolled into a business program, having previously started a web design business, which he thought would benefit from some formal education. His side business began to do so well that Omar began to put his studies aside and focused more on his company Quattro web design.
I came back to Toronto in 2007 and entered an intensive year of film school. Omar and I didn’t really get to see one another as much as I liked. We were able to reconnect and hang out on a regular basis, but things were not that great between the two of us, and unspoken tension arose. Omar felt that I had gone “soft”, and was very cold with me, which I later found out had more to do with the end of a serious relationship he was previously in. We reached the breaking point, screamed at one another for a few hours and then put it behind us, as good friends do.
At the beginning of 2009 Omar told me about the number of success he was having with his business endeavor and how he was enjoying himself with the amount of money he was able to spend. I scolded him for wasting his money and his constant materialism, telling him that he would have nothing left for when he was older. I think about that now and realize that it was a great thing he enjoyed his money while he had the chance to. There is a lesson in there for all of us.
At this time Omar began to take an interest in my chosen career path of filmmaking. At the time I was trying to look for a financial backer for a short that I was submitting to the Bravo Channel. I asked Omar first, he told me he was good for the money and was willing to help in anyway possible, a common trait of his, always ready to help a friend if he could.
This began a bit of an obsession with him, he became interested in the field of filmmaking and constantly probed me about the various tasks and responsibilities of a director, producer, actor, etc. He became so excited that he wanted to build a production company with me, and was always eager to find web clients who needed video components for their websites, a very kind gesture on his part.
This passion eventually expanded to where Omar wanted to star in a film, me being a skeptic I said, “sure, you pony up the cash I’ll write you a script” Omar smiled and said that his one stipulation was that he had to kick a lot of ass and he need to “side kick some one”.
I went to work and took a long time delivering the script. He read it and loved it and remarked to me that, “It was very well written, I was shocked”, “shocked?” I replied. “Yeah, I didn’t know you could write stories so well.” I didn’t know weather to be happy or insulted, I chose the first option of praise.
A big regret is I am not going to be able to make this film with Omar. He was very excited by the prospect of acting, as he was getting in shape for his role. He was looking forward to producing and was always willing to learn something new. I admired that about him. I will finish the short somehow, I feel motivated now more than ever to make this film as a means of preserving his memory.
Omar, however, was not without his flaws. His stubbornness may have been the key to his undoing. He never wore a seatbelt and from my understanding always texted as he drove. His respect for the rules of the road were non-existent and was a notorious speeder racking up plenty of tickets in addition to not stopping at stop signs. It seemed like he was perpetually in a rush, maybe he knew something we didn’t?
When you look at those facts it would seem that it would only be a matter of time before he was killed. I even joked about it with him on many occasions. Maybe he felt that invincibility of our youth, that we were somehow impervious to death.
When I heard the news of Omar’s passing this morning I was in disbelief, shock even. I thought this was some sort of a sick joke he was playing. I thought about how much I was going to yell at him when I saw him telling him that “this shit isn’t cool man!”
This is not the case. He is gone. All I have now are memories and broken promises of the things we were supposed to do that will in some respects never get done.
Omar was one of my best friends we were very close, like brothers. I loved him a lot. I count myself fortunate to have been able to tell him how much his friendship mattered to me the day before his death, as we talked about our future plans.
There will never be a replacement for him. He was one of a kind.
I take solace in the fact that his death was quick, painless and that he never suffered. I will miss him and treasure his friendship always. He will always be with me, in my thoughts and memories. Rest in Peace Omar.
Omar Khan is Gone But Not Forgotten.