It was my routinely morning chat with Mom in the kitchen where we exchange few words about anything mundane, be it weather, nosy-cum-shameless relatives or some snippets in life and sometimes we laugh over it to cast an aspersion on ludicrous or brainless achievements of people. I pour the milk in my cup of coffee, soaked the tea bag and steered honey when I stopped in my track at the words of Maa.
I was like how can I forget the day! It was Dad’s death anniversary on Sunday and it means that the whole world was celebrating Father’s Dad. Mom was like, ‘You know! I forgot and it dawned upon me much later.’ It rang the same bell with me.’Yeah! This time it came on Father’s Day.’ Sometimes, I realize how we nicely forget people who are close to us once they are gone. We live too much in our cozy comfort and afflicted by our worries in life which becomes the epicentre of our existence that we take for granted loved ones, like in my case, sparing a thought for Dad waned away. Do we take parents for granted once they are gone and we disconnect ourselves like they never existed? It made me wonder. I wore a disguised guilt and thought about Dad during the whole day.
Dad was someone who was deprived of a proper education by the mother-in-law who married the man I should call Dada. He was subjected to all kind of atrocities, unequal treatment and oppression which his father was a silent spectator and by that, I mean, conspirator. Let’s skip on that. My Dad started to work as a postman but that didn’t dampen his spirits to make me study and become someone in life. I remember once I flunked a class and was never interested in studies. I just snapped. I told him that I wanna leave school and he should put me in some work. He gently told me, “No Babu (That’s how he called me). You future will be spoiled. Give it another shot. Now, get ready we gotta go for the wedding.” It was one lesson that stayed with me always and no matter how brow beaten we are in life, never give it up for anyone but it’s ultimately the I who matters. When I left home for Pune, he would always tell me that if I am in shortage of money do tell him for no one should sacrifice the stomach that keeps us going in life. It’s so true about life how a half empty stomach can make us go crazy and the day goes horribly wrong. My heart goes to the street children who often sleep without a morsel in their mouth.
The sacrifices he made in life was something I couldn’t see as a rebel teenager growing into adulthood that led us to be in conflict with each other and I sometimes replied to him rude which he took offense, rightly so. I became someone who was clueless about life and couldn’t see the selfless love he has for me. Once, on the eve of departure, I was invited to a neighbor’s house for dinner and the guy was a kinda asshole, someone Dad didn’t really like. When I came back, Dad gave it to me and was again rude, offending him. The next day he told it to his childhood friend and the uncle gently told me that I shouldn’t offend him like that. It made me feel so bad at what I did and guilty pangs hit me. The I-Know-It-All arrogant attitude was something I grew up and clashed with the humble man on several occasions, something I should have never done and at some point hated Dad. It was something that plagued me to no end and realized how wrong I’ve been in life. I wish to tell Dad sorry and how much I love him. I am sure he is listening to me.
I vividly remember it was Diwali when I roamed around with friends in the locality as a growing adult and came back home around 10 P.M. I was standing outside the house to watch the fire works when Dad was somehow angry and shouted at me. I didn’t say anything but was pissed. The next morning Dad woke me up and said, “Sorry! I didn’t know what got into me.” It taught me a life long lesson. Never shy away from saying sorry to anyone and nobody becomes big or small by tendering an apology. He was fighting for me in school and scolded kids who bullied me. His love for me was unflinching and always wore a protective glove when it comes to me.
As a kid, I remember he took time off from office at noon and bought expensive grapes which he made me eat with his hands. We never had the means but he sacrificed his life for me, gave anything his spoilt brat wanted. He was very attached to me and I was his world, being a lone child. When I came back for holiday from Pune, he went to the shop and bought lots of pastries for me. And, yes, he worked till the last minute when he was hospitalized. Work is worship. It’s something that I need to learn from him. My Dad never went to the formal school but learned from life. He would send me hand written letters in English, something which he picked during his life interaction. It’s something I really love reading with his, ‘Dear Son.’ It’s another thing one gotta wear blinkers to decode Dad’s hand writing. Dad never shied from pouring his emotions and saying, I love You’ on phone before breaking up in tears. He missed me loads and I did, too. I loved how he would narrate stories from life, his cousins and the small fun things about his days as a youth.
It’s a free writing where I’ve missed so many things and can’t recall stuffs with Dad. But, I intend to write some day, be it in the diary or online. Since everyone is writing for Father’s Day last Sunday, I thought of giving it a miss but wrote when Mom reminded me of his death anniversary that fell on June 19, 2007.
Love you Dad and thanks for making me someone.