Can’t believe that I have made it without you for the last twelve years! Life was a roller coaster with you around and it still is without you. We have had the bitterest of fights and have said the meanest of things to each other. We have disagreed on several issues concerning life styles, relationships, friendships, marriage, trusts and beliefs, religion, career and more. Though I can still replay scene-by-scene the toughest days of our relationship as a father-daughter, what I’d want to remember and cherish are the most important lessons of life that the sis and I got to imbibe from you. We are what we are today ONLY because of you.
Am sure it required a lot of guts for you to refuse when our nearest family offered to take care of your daughters soon after mom passed away. For this, we are still grateful. Not that we’d have been in bad hands. I know that they meant well. But they were not YOU.
That we three made it accepting each other with all our follies, and were open to each other, says a lot about the amount of trust you placed in us.
You were a man proud of having two daughters and not once did you sigh or sulk and say, ‘oh, how am I going to raise the two daughters’. It really is a big deal daddy. It was simply awesome of you to tell me just a week before my wedding that, just because I chose my match, it didn’t mean that I should put up with things that don’t go well with me, and that your doors would always be open, and that I’ll not have to take any blame if things did not work out. But, you also hinted that every relationship involved a certain amount of adjustments and a few compromises here and there and like everything else in life, I’d need to give the new relationships my best shot. You know you needn’t have worried appa. Not only because of the earthly family am married into, but also because you know that I’d hold my own. Yes, that is your arrogant daughter for you, a trait passed on to me straight from you. Still, your assurance meant a lot.
I don’t remember a day where you really got busy ‘saving’ to get your daughters married. You were honest and realistic and said that you’d educate us and that will be the only wealth you’ll really give us. That, you did. Thank you Pa. It is the most valuable of our ‘assets’ and this is exactly what your daughters are telling your grand-kids.
You always encouraged us to make more friends and ‘stay’ friends forever. Remember the days, specially the weekends when our home would be like a ladies hostel with our friends over, and you’d go in for a night shift for work. Friends, another of our valuable ‘assets’. They were with us then, they are with us even now. You knew each of our friends like your own kids, and they used to enjoy your company so much! All your Physics, Chemistry, Math, Tamizh quizzes, your flawless rendering of ‘Abu Ben Adhem’ with all the expressions in place, your regaling us with stories from your best and worst days as a child, your singing ‘thaaye yeshodha undhan’ or ‘thirupaar kadalil’, or ‘paavana guru pavana guru’, or Rafi’s’ Baharon phool barsao’, ‘chaudvin ka chaand ho’, ‘suhani raath dal chuki’ or theri pyaari pyaari soorath mein, the Thirukurals, ‘(something that the two of us failed to inherit!), cricket, so much…
You taught us never to fear. The worst outcome of any situation is death. Which anyway is inevitable. That is what you said. You were never worried about our heading home late from work, you never worried about our traveling alone, or staying home alone. Nothing. To you, fear meant doom.
You taught us to cook! The kitchen counter top used to look so neat after you finished cooking. On the days I did, it looked like a battle field and you hated it 🙂 I must say I have made a decent progress here, though not as perfect as you 🙂 You hated wasting food too.
You never let us infringe your space, something we have learnt to appreciate in retrospect. You were clear about what gave you peace and insisted that we don’t try and crawl all over in the name of ‘concern’ and a funny misplaced notion of ‘responsibility’. You respected our space as well.
Your gift of the gab. Well, what do I say! I haven’t met another person as articulate as you, specially in English. You’d reserve the best to be unleashed when you suffer your famous temper, and boy! What a temper! Which again is something your daughters too have inherited! I remember how fascinated I was when I first heard you use the word ‘unwarranted’ and shamelessly parroted the idiom – call a spade a spade! Your favourite quote, which you never failed to cite exactly when we needed to hear- Perform thy duty. Fruit is not thy concern! Haven’t really got there, but have really been trying Pa.
Miss you so much Pa. Am not able to summon the courage to think how life would have been now, if you were with us. So, will settle for another of your favourite lessons- All for good.