Birthdays are a time for celebration. And what better way to celebrate my father’s birthday than sharing my memories of him… the first man in my life. He is turning 81 today..
Whenever I see a warm picture of a dad and little girl, it takes me down the memory line and brings tears to my eyes. It brings in to mind the eldless paths I have walked holding his hands, the endless times he has carried me on his shoulder while tucking me to sleep..
We have always shared a special bond probably because of the huge age difference between us. He never refused me anything and always provided me everything that I wanted. He is the one who boosted my self-confidence, taught me morals and induced values in me.. I don't know if I can find the right words to describe what he means to me.
My earliest memories of him are of a tall lean figure, always clad in a white full sleeved shirt and a sandalwood thilak on his forehead, who always looked terribly distinguished to my young eyes. Till I turned 4 years,I was staying in my mom's village since she was working there and he working in the town which was some 30 kms away. So he used to visit us during weekends,bringing lots of goodies to eat. Shortly amma also got a transfer to a school in the town and that's when I started knowing him more.His routine was to get up early(4 am), take a cold water bath and he will be in his favourite easy chair in the front verandah with the newspaper.
He is always the cool and friendly person and generally never lost his patience. But I was given a good spanking once and I still remember the incident clearly. When I was small, I was very much afraid of darkness. This restricted my free movement after sunset quite a bit as it was not easy for me to reach the switch either(I was just four years then). Suddenly one day I got a brainwave and decided to put on all the lights before it gets dark and promptly went ahead with my project(climbing on chairs, windows n whatever I could to reach the switch). When he saw all the lights on(it was just noon then), he switched it off immediately. But me being the persistent kind repeated the exercise. This ON and OFF went on for sometime and finally he switched off the Mains. So next time when I switched on the lights,nothing happened. I did my investigation and found that the big green magic switch is pointing UP and not down as usual. I climbed the window (It was way too high for a chair) and swtched it ON and here he lost his patience and beat me until the sticks were broken into small pieces and my legs were all swollen. That was the first and last time he ever gave me a beating!
When I was in 4th std, amma got transferred to another district and came home only on Sundays. So for the next three years only both of us were at home. Everyday he used to cook rice(that was the only thing he knew to make) and pack my lunch box with rice and curds much before I even got up coz he didn't want to see me struggle..
Every day he would pick me up at school, just to buy me something on the way coz he knew i'll be hungry.. He used to get me chocolates without the knowledge of amma (she used to scold coz I used to make that my main meal n conveniently skip my main meals). And guess what? He does it even now. He is yet to realize that I have grown up!!
He is the one who taught me to ride a bicycle, who showed me how to stay balanced, look forward, and to find the right speed. He did the traditional hold onto the seat and run behind the bicycle. He used to be too worn out at the end but he never expressed that. I kept saying "don't let go!" and he said "I'm still holding on!" but he really had let go a while earlier because I was doing fine on my own. I realised this once I saw that he had stopped running and I kept going.I felt so brave and happy.. :)
I know there were many times where I have taken my own decisions but he has never asked me to change it even though he would have liked me to take a different path.. I know I have hurt him whenever there were arguments in the family (mostly regarding marriage) but he has never hurt me back...that is his love. I wish I could make him all happy... He really doesn't know how I wish I could.
Now he is getting older.He is loosing his memory and has a weak pacemaker. Otherwise he is perfectly healthy. I know now it's my turn to take care of him but I'm staying away from home and I'm not able to do as much as I want to do.. He welcomes visitors. He likes to talk to people but often forgets what he asked. There are many a times I have lost my patience repeating the same things again and again. How I wish I had inherited his patience.. He likes travelling and wants to go out and walk through the familiar streets he frequented before. But we make him stay at home coz he blackout often and we are not sure whether he can manage alone..
I know he does’t know what a blog is and will never read this. So I can safely say what I always wanted to tell, but never did.. I love you very much and will always remain your little girl no matter how much I grow up.. I want to thank you for what you are… because that helped me become what I am..I'm really sorry for all the unfulfilled dreams that you have about me..
Accha, I'm Wishing you many, many, many more healthy and happy years of life..