To Dad, With Love

Happy Father’s Day, Dad

All of us recently celebrated Father’s Day on June 20th. I celebrated it for my husband as he is a cool dad but my dad is thousands of miles away from me. I was dearly missing him and my family back in India, when I got this assignment in my Creative Writing class. I had to describe a personality and I was required to include some idiosyncratic details in my description. This assignment served a great purpose. Now, I had an outlet to vent my emotions. It helped me to feel closer to my family in general and my dad in particular.

It is not very difficult to describe my father. On the whole he is a simple, straightforward person with a refined sense of dressing. Like Napoleon said, “Impossible is a word only to be found in the dictionary of fools.” The word ‘complex’ is not to be found in my Dad’s dictionary. He is too simple and goes by the face value of everything. He lives by the thought that he is the center and the world revolves around him. Like a small child he wants that his needs be given priority. For example, if he is hungry, everybody is hungry and if he is full; nobody else should feel like eating. It might appear selfish or egocentric to some but people who really know him well understand how uncomplicated he is.

When things fall out of line, he gets upset but not for too long. He is forgiving and within a span of ten minutes he will forget that he was mad or aggrieved.  He doesn’t think badly of anyone, not even of the people who have hurt him or committed some wrongdoing against him. He is a God-loving man, sensitive towards the needs of less gifted people. In a given situation, he will attempt to feed a poor hungry mouth before he himself grabs a bite.

An agricultural scientist by profession and, unlike his most colleagues, he has an aristocratic sense of dressing. He is not the person whom you can witness wearing a wrinkled, creased trouser anywhere. (I applaud my mom, who has been on her toes for years now and has maintained his clothes.) My dad will prefer to wear a formal jacket and a pair of trousers to his friends BBQ party. Wearing shorts to somebody’s house is not acceptable. He is not the person who can appreciate American idea of “comfortable dressing.” He feels, “People in America wear too few clothes.”

My dad,  “didn’t tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.” These lines by Clarence Budington Kelland hold true for me. I love him not only because he is my dad, but also I love him for what he has taught me. Lessons like honesty, truthfulness, humility, trust, love and family values are shaping my current life. My mom and my dad are the fertile soil on, which the tree of my life has been blossoming.

As The Clock Turns

As The Clock Turns

At 1 o’ clock, he himself was a child with a special gift of a ‘little child’ deep within.

At 2 o’ clock, he grew up a little and he still had that child in him who dearly loved his mom.

At 3, 4 and 5, he did what was right, cruised through hardship but managed to keep that child alive.

At 6, 7 and 8 he harbored smoothly then discovered the child that he always had in him.

At 9 and 10, he is rearing and nourishing the newly found child within, with the fresh and innocent love of his little grand kids.

At 11 o’ clock he will enjoy his latest role as granddad, hand in hand with the unusual gift of God: the purity of the soul of that child in him.

At 12 o’ clock that little child in him will induce new energy and verve to the old grown body of my father to enlighten and enrich more grand-daughters and sons; to enliven next generations’ life.

To Dad, With Love

From Your,

“My Dear”

A Mouthful Of Earth

“What feeling is so nice as a child’s hand in yours?

So small, so soft and warm, like a kitten huddling in the shelter of your clasp.”

–       By Marjorie Holmes

Such is the warmth of one’s life that is blessed with the grace of a small child. I am sure all mothers and fathers too have felt and enjoyed the soft tickle when they see their little ones stumbling over a soft toy or watch their little one’s ‘cute’ activities. My two year old makes my life even more beautiful and interesting. His innocent smile, his actions fill me with verve and motivate me to give my best. He is so tender, so sweet, so innocent, and so loving. There is no space for downheartedness in his life and no downtime for any one else around him.

Last week he led me through yet another experience that will sit fresh on my mind for years to come. It was not as divine as the one Yashoda, the mother of Lord Krishna had. Yashoda was in her courtyard attending her day-to-day chores when she noticed little Krishna eating dirt from under the tree. When she asked him to open his mouth, he replied with sheer innocence, “Mom, I have not eaten anything and there’s nothing in my mouth”. And then he opened his mouth to prove that he was not lying. Yashoda got a shock of her life when she saw the entire universe in his little son’s mouth; his divinity was exposed. Krishna was not like other boys of his age. He was the enlightened one with powers to disguise himself. Like other kids his age, Krishna also made his mother think that she was out of her mind. Feeling sorry for herself, she quietly picked him up and took him to clean. Like all mothers she warned him not to do that again.

Divinity Unveiled

Like Yashoda, I was also taking care of my everyday chores. I was sitting on the day bed with my laptop, right next to the big sliding door leading to the backyard and browsing the Internet. Saavi was playing in the garden with his new blue and yellow, Fischer Price, tri-cycle. I was there so that I could keep an eye on him and stop him from running out of the main gate. I was not too worried as my older one was also outside practicing his roller skates.  We all were having a good time and as per the unwritten contract nobody tried to disturb each other.

All of a sudden that stillness was broken by Sid’s panicky voice, “Mom, mom, Saavi is eating something from the ground.” I looked up and saw that my little one was nowhere near his trike. He had something in his hands and his mouth was bulged up like the Hindu monkey god,Hanuman’s. Whatever was in there was trying hard to come out. In my hastened rush towards my curious toddler, I expected that he might have put some dirt or a rock or both in his mouth. On reaching him, I sternly asked him, “What’s in your mouth? Open.” He quickly and obediently followed my directions.  I was stunned to witness what happened next. Against my expectations, a lot of pebbles came jutting out of his little mouth. That was a moment for me, it was hard for me to control or even hide my smile.  I didn’t know how to respond to it. I felt like Yashoda, but without the feeling of embarrassment. I said, “ No…, No…,” and slowly picked him up and took him to the sink.

A mouthful of Pebbles

The Photo (Day)

It’s amazing to live through the truthfulness of the adage, “A picture is worth a thousand words” and sometimes a thousand feelings too.  A photo of a little girl reading a comic evoked many memories and even tingled my taste buds, while I was browsing through my old album.

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

It was a usual summer evening. Dad was about to come back from work. Mummy was in the kitchen, preparing tea and pakoras, an Indian snack. My elder sister was busy with her homework. My brother had already gone to play cricket with his friends. I, being the youngest in the family had the liberty to idly hang around. House was just as quiet and calm as a downtown on a Sunday evening. Other than the pakoras, there was nothing much to look forward to- no anticipations, no excitement.

As dad came through the door, the house went through a sudden change. The mood switched from silent Sunday evening downtown to happening Saturday night. People stopped their jobs and were now looking for something nice to wear and get ready. My brother was called back from the cricket field, which happened to be somebody’s driveway. My sister shifted from solving a (a + b)2 problem to ironing a dress that she recently bought. Mummy quickly dressed me in my favorite satin navy blue frock. I loved the pink flower brocade on it, although until then I didn’t know that it was called brocade. It was just a flower for me. Hair was combed with a side part; a hair clip was placed to keep my hair from falling on my eyes. I was transformed into a nice, clean, sweet eight years old. I was still confused. Lots of questions were coming to my mind. Why all this rush? What’s so special? Who was coming to our place?

It was not long before I found out that Mr. Photographer was coming to our house to click our family shots. Now everything made sense. It wasss a special event; it was a Photo Day.

Although, it was the mid 80s, not everybody in India owned a camera. My mom and dad were among the people who were not lucky enough to enjoy that luxury.  That day dad had asked a professional photographer at his work place to come to our house and click some pictures for us.

Everybody smiled and photos were taken. Even our gardener Ram Prasad became a part of those memories. When my turn came, I was asked to pose and pretend that I was reading the comic. Instead of posing, I actually started reading my favorite comic character ‘Mr. Chaudhary and his companion Sabu’ and forgot about the photo.

Once the photos were taken, I could not wait to look at the prints. I waited and waited for them. I even got mad at my dad, as he was not getting the photos. It took good ten days before he got them and we could finally have a glance.

Now, when more than two decades have passed and that Photo Day is long gone; I realize how immature I was then. At that time, I just cared about the prints. I was naïve to think only about myself and how I looked. Now, when I am far, far away from my parents, my sibling and my country; I understand the value of the people and the place in those prints. They are thousands of miles away from me and it takes years of planning and saving before I can see them. I have to wait and wait before I can count my mom’s new wrinkles and witness my dad’s new shade of grey (hairs.) Now, I am not anxious about the prints but about the people in those prints.