Dad.

How do you deal with the concept of Father’s Day, especially when it coincides with the week of your father’s death anniversary? This is that time of the year when the question bothers me to no end . I am not someone who is really into celebrating days dedicated to my kith and kin, though I am certainly not against others doing it. The simple reason being that one doesn’t need a separate excuse to celebrate and honour such relationships on any given day of the year. But given the unfortunate coincidence of this particular occasion, I can’t exhibit the same indifference. May be it would have helped, even if Father’s day was observed in some other month.

I was still young,when my father expired and grappling with that was no mean task. I still remember that day- he had been in a tremendous amount of pain in the weeks leading up to it and the suffering was relentless and continuous, no-holds-barred, until one morning when the moaning stopped, giving me a false impression for the briefest of moments,that his endless pain may have relented a bit, allowing him to get some sleep. Relent it did,in a permanent way of course.The elders spoke of his death being a liberation of sorts from seven years of unbridled bed-ridden agony and distress. He had passed away exactly a day after my Tenth standard board exam results were announced. It was almost like he was waiting to hear that his eldest son managed a first class. I was just about average in school, so my marks were nothing to write home about and though I wish I could have done better,it did give him that bit of a consolation which was pretty evident in the way he reacted to the news. The last couple of years of my dad’s life were so overwhelmingly sad and tragic, that they have paved layer upon layer of painful memories of him being in the line of time’s unforgiving fires.

I have now spent more years in my life without, than I did with him being around. And that absence is filled with numerous what-ifs centred on his hypothetical presence. These what-ifs have been around right from my childhood, even when he was alive, but bed-ridden. I would look at my friends- and their dads- dropping them to school on scooters- this was my favourite wannabe-day-dream back then. I lived in the hope that some day he would be able to walk and take me around for scooter rides in the town. It was probably the innocent optimism of that age which refused to accept that he would never be able to do that again, but  eventually, reality of his day-to-day struggles became so stark that those hopes would ultimately disappear.

Somewhere beneath those multiple layers of painful memories,however, lies a cocoon which houses my earliest recollections of him. Of an embodiment of the joie de vivre, a man full of energy and enthusiasm unparalleled among his peers, friends and family members. Of being the favourite uncle of my cousins who were in their teens because of his wonderfully avuncular nature. That by default made me close to them and the bonds which had their roots in those days have only gone from strength to strength. It is something that I have always cherished deeply.

Fond memories of him animatedly narrating the ‘where-were-you-when-it-happened’ stories of the victorious ’83 world cup campaign and the thrill of knowing that India had actually been champions at one point of time, in the backdrop of the grim 90s of Indian cricket, those moments are still with me. Or that day when he gifted my first cricket bat which then made way for endless hours of airplay- me holding the bat, imagining random situations and swinging the bat away to glory, much to the irritation of my mother. I wonder if I would have been this crazy about cricket, or for that matter, have more than a passing interest in other sports, if it wasn’t for the kind of initiation he provided. And life would definitely have been a lot less interesting without that.

He was known as a very good man in the true sense of the word. When allotted a home, next to someone who wasn’t known to be a very good neighbor, in the residential quarters of his employers, many cautioned him against moving in. But him being him, he insisted that if one is good and without prejudice, there is no reason why anyone would pose a problem. And he stood vindicated on that. Goodness always begets goodness.There are many other little anecdotes like this, which made him extremely popular among his friends. He was pretty much an extrovert and this reflected in his delectable sense of humour which endeared him to so many people. His skills at hilariously mimicking others’ voices was one more aspect of that very trait. Introverts like myself know what value being an extrovert holds. At least I always wish I was more open and I wonder if I would have turned out to be a different person under his guidance.

He was, for the most part of his life, a very optimistic and spirited personality,despite the odds he faced. Even after a failed surgery on his spinal cord which resulted in him becoming paraplegic, he continued to work and support the family. Eventually as his health worsened because of other related complications, he had to be put under continuous medical care. His spirit was only broken when his company terminated his job on medical grounds. That was the day which left him mentally shattered, and in a way, was the beginning of the end.

However, the goodwill that he generated during his active days came back to help us in different ways, including, but not limited to , my mother getting a job, which without any doubt, helped her in bringing me and my brother up. In a way, his personality has been the key benefactor of our lives during the tough times.

At various important junctures in my life, I have wished he was alive to witness them and continue to do so. What I also wished for was to not be in a position to make some decisions for myself. The luxury of having your dad decide some things for you is something that I have always missed. I call it a luxury because at some level you know you are doing the right thing and your dad is holding your hand.  And trust me, that is an assurance like nothing else in the world.

p.s. I’ve been going back and forth on writing a post of this nature, because I am somehow very apprehensive of writing something as deeply personal as this. It took quite a bit of mental-hurdle clearing on my part to speak my heart out on this subject.

 

 

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23 thoughts on “Dad.”

  1. Having known you a bit now, can imagine how hard it would have been for you to write this post.

    I am at loss of words to comment on the post itself.

  2. Very touching one Mauli. I recollected those small little moments I had with Ramana Mavayya. That Chennai trip, a short stint of every summer vacation in Sunabeda, That warmth he used to shower on me,they are all so green you know. My dad even till date, keeps sharing the bond he shared with Mama, so is my mom. How close the siblings they are.
    How I wished he’s around and spread the aura of his very personality.
    I really miss him, nevertheless, can understand what you might have been feeling.
    Anyways, it’s really good to read your thoughts about Mama. 🙂

    1. Truly touching one Mouli . A huge hug from me. U were a sweet soft kiddo .Ur father’s and all our blessing are with u always .

  3. Never knew you are a blogger. I know that now, and to add on, also that you are an excellent writer. You have chosen just the right words to express yourself and I can understand obvious apprehension you had while writing this blog.

  4. Hi Mouli,
    was so very much touched to read this…I had always known you as an introvert even if we were good friends…It really soothes my heart that you have finally expressed your feelings and released your emotions…I am sure the hardships which you chinna and aunty have gone through has helped you evolve as a more enlighted being..Stay happy and blessed..

  5. Very touchy bro… But don’t worry, Life is cycle, it starts, ends and start over again… Death has liberated him from a long time agony, but he might have born somewhere again… Keep watching, he might meet you in some fine place and this time you ppl might even have a cricket match that you missed playing with him 🙂

  6. Very nice.. made my tears roll down after reading this. Where ever he is he will bless us every single time .. I also remember the moments spent with him though I was a small kid. He was one of the best writers and you have inherited those skills from him is all what I can say..

  7. Hey Ravi,
    The fact that you pen down this touching article shows that he is always with you.
    I still remember the days when we used to play near your house and he used to tell us about cricket…he used to ask us some question on general knowledge which would get us activated…truly a spirited person and you are no less .. you are his image … what he was for you , you are the same for chinna..

    1. Hi
      I can understand your feelings as you knw even am in same situation. But whereever he is he will be happy by seeing you and ur achievement. Even I miss his scooter rides. Those days wer golden days the days of B84…….

      Bharati

  8. Ravi…. I may not know you well as a person but couldn’t stop myself from reading your thoughts very well penned. The words used are generously apt and compels one to feel the pain and agony you had been through. Where ever uncle is , he is watching over you. Always there for you in your smiles and tears. God bless. 🙂

  9. Mauli, he was also an outstanding calligraphist who created such divine script. Also the very loving Eenadu scribe who covered events around Koraput dist. Once my father got a hugely erroneous bill for Rs. 1800 and we not only got print column but also our refund, thanks to Mama. We also once rendred a lesson from my oriya book about the salt satyagraha which was published.

    Man of many achievements in a very short time he exhorts us to be versatile and excel.

    Sometimes we meet extraordinary people in our commutes who alight much before us but not without leaving a mark and touching us. This is no different. Enjoyed reading. Waiting for more… much love

  10. I am out of words to express myself. Life has its own ways of showing a mirror to our face almost forcing us to take a look within. I am sure I must speak for many of the readers when I say that reading your post has had a similar impact on me.
    Every word that you have penned reeks of sincerity, devotion and an immense sense of respect and love for your father. As Ray Bradbury puts it,
    “We are all cups, constantly and quietly being filled”
    May his memories and virtues fill you up and when you reach the tipping point, you relish the good stuff that spills.. 🙂
    Cheers to.. life..!!

  11. Bhaiya… After reading this…I wish I had known him personally..Should have tagged along with my bro to ur house..to experience the aura..the positivity uncle had. Running short of words cos ur feelings moved me to tears. A warm hug bhaiya..

  12. Mauli we have been friends for long and i always knew the pain you were going through but your words here have taken me to the past and made me think what you had gone through was much more than what i knew. You definitely are an introvert but a very nice, sweet honest and hardworking person. Never get away with these golden qualities as these are the steps on the ladder to success in all aspects of life. You have definitely got your Dad’s qualities and he would have been proud to see you what you are now…. God bless and take care.

  13. I really cannot word the right reply to each one of you… I just want to thank you all for reading about my father and that I am very touched by your empathy and blessings. Thank you very much! I also want you all to know that so many of you chose to take time out and read this and it means a lot to me.

    1. hey dude start writing a novel,you have got very good powerful hold on subjects and feelings about a character so,just start and try

      1. Thank you for the kind words. Have never tried fiction, I guess it takes a lot more perceptive abilities than what I currently have. Some day, hopefully. 🙂

  14. Hi Mouli ..just read this blog post of your’s ..and wonder how i missed it then…
    As we share a common past ..my last years at Sunabeda..and your first,,,if you allow me..i would like to share it here that he used to take me to see football games and we used to have tea and biscuits at milan market..ofcourse, he used to have his little smoke ..and we would return home like good boys…
    and he used to make us sit and study until 8.30 pm ..and he used to listen to ‘vivid bharati’ on the radio ..and when it approached 8.30 , we used to hear the ‘hawa mahel’ tune and we used to know that he would order us to pack up studies for the day…

    on retrospection i feel i should have returned more often to sunabeda..guess life’s wheel just spun away..

    glad to see your post

    take care my dear

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