I know you love writing and receiving letters. I am sorry I never wrote you one. I think the irony of life is that we take everything we have for granted as if it will last forever. It has been more than 6 years without you, yet I never felt you are not there. You have stayed with me always watching my every step up from the heaven.
The earliest memory I have of us sharing moments is playing teacher and student. I would always play the teacher and you my student. Life moved from the kiddie play times to awkward teenage time. Having a twin brother had its advantages, irrespective of who’s at fault, you would always be nice to me and not punish me. Knowing I was scared of rain, during the heavy rains, when the water would flood our house, you would put me on the table and calm me down with stories so I stop crying. Those days I didn’t know that you would one day become my best friend. You would allow me to paint your nails, put you mehendi, and color your hair. And I remember one time I had colored it all red and yet you smiled at me and said you looked like a movie actor :).
Dad, There is no one who can compare to you!
One day at a time, you let me grow and be me. Not a stereotypical dad that had prejudices about daughters. You were quite liberal for that time. When it was time for me to go to college, you came with me and allowed me to make own choices. The one thing that brought us more together was our love for entertainment, movies in particular. I remember those new year’s eve’s when everyone would sleep, we both would be up watching the shows on TV and wishing each other at midnight and then hitting the bed. Amma tells me that whenever I would pester you for sweets, you would ask me to close my eyes, put sugar in my mouth, and tell me to chew thinking it is mysore pak or any sweet I wanted at that moment.
While Amma was the disciplinarian, you were the fun dad indulging us in those little pleasures of life with whatever you could afford. You were my confidante, partner in crime and above all sweet dad who allowed me to follow my dreams. Wish selfies came in those days, for if it had, we would have taken dozens every day annoying Amma :). When in college if I wanted to bunk classes and go watch a movie with friends, you would give me money hiding from Amma and tell me not to tell her. Later in the evening you would tell her yourself and get me scoldings from her.
Both you and Amma treated our accomplishments as yours, even if it were small. You were so proud of me when I graduated, when I got my first job, when I traveled overseas and many more firsts. While others may ask, what is so special about all this? All fathers do this. I would say yeah might not be special for them, but for a daughter it is. The little appreciation shown by our parents boosts our morale and makes us believe in our dreams. Helps us to be confident and believe in ourselves. Parents teach us to grow, make mistakes and yet believe one day we will succeed. We may fall but we get up and start moving ahead instead of sitting and crying over our fall. You and Amma have been the pillars of strength for me.
Your guiding hand on my shoulder will remain with me always.
Having come from a middle class family, you and Amma didn’t have a good childhood nor the education, and had to struggle your way up. Amidst all your sorrows, you both tried your best to give us whatever you could afford. As we grew, we forgot you and Amma grew with us too. You had lived your adulthood, nurturing and providing for us giving up your pleasures and dreams just for us. It was time for us as children to give you those little things you missed. I felt proud when you would show off the gifts I bought you to your colleagues and friends as if it were precious.
And as time passed, I became an adult and you a kid. You would remind me like kids, about your birthday asking for gifts. Ask me for little treats whenever I visit you. Even when you were supposed to be on strict diet due to your health conditions, you would want to cheat and needed my help to get those banned foods without getting caught by Amma. The way I would sneak in the French fries while you were hospitalized, the late night banter, the movies we would watch at home on that small TV, gossip about the actors and count the stars at night sitting in our portico, sharing dreams, and stories. There are many more such moments I cherish for life.
Whenever we would complain, you would start with your and Amma’s childhood stories that started with “When I was” and we literally had to stop you. Your love for “BLUE” color was so strong that anything I wear or I buy for you was always blue for you irrespective of what it actually was. If I have to list, there are million things to write. But I want to tell you that I cherished every moment and you were a great father anyone could ask for. You were not perfect and I always had complaints, but you were all we had and the one I loved. You were my hero without actually being a hero. You made me find my passion called movies. I never remember fearing you, you were always accessible and I could confide in you without having to worry about the repercussions.
Thank you for being my dad. I am sorry I could not tell you how much I loved you. I am sorry I missed being with you the way you were with me. I am sorry I forgot to ask rather than tell. I am sorry for everything that I should have done but didn’t do.
You would call me and Amma as your mom. You held it up as much and as long as you could. You were brave to fight your pain and yet smile for us. Thank you for everything. Even today when any of your colleagues or friends share about your generosity and supporting attitude, I feel so proud. I had never known that side of yours until you were gone. There is a saying, a daughter is every father’s little angel, and I feel I was yours and you and Amma were my angels.
If I had a chance to make it right, I would spend those last days with you doing right things. I would say, let’s ditch the hospital and go for a stroll, eat some pani poori, watch a movie and laugh more. You were lively and I remember you just like that even today and would always.
Happy Father’s Day Pappa! I miss you! I Love you now and always!
Your loving daughter.
PS: Knowing your love for movies, I know you would have equally loved Baahubali and would have joined the fan club with me sharing and supporting my crazy madness. I love you Pappa!