Showing posts with label Dad. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dad. Show all posts

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Through troubled times..

In the movie, Kung Fu Panda 2, after Shen's ship is destroyed, he asks Po 'How did you find peace? I took away your parents! Everything! I-- I scarred you for life!
Po: See, that's the thing, Shen... scars heal. 
SHEN: No, they don't... wounds heal!
Po: Oh yeah. What do scars do? They fade, I guess...
Shen: I don't care what scars do!

About 9 years ago, my dad lost his battle with cancer and moved on to greener pastures. 
I have been wounded many times since. 
Everything that could've gone wrong, did. Murphy's Law. 
But this also reminds me of the principle Jesus shared with His disciples when He told them, 'In this world you will have trouble' (John 16:33). So in other words, we can count on it - sooner or later we will hit troubled times. Its not the way God originally intended life to be, but when the human race first succumbed, everything on this planet fell into the grip of sin. And we have been stumbling ever since. 

Interestingly, Jesus also promised His followers to be 'of good cheer, I have overcome the world'. The fact that Jesus has and will always overcome the stain of evil proves that he understands our frailties, our wounds and our scars. 
Because not only did Jesus conquer the fallen species through His death and resurrection, the fact that your scars have healed over time, proves that He will give you the solace you need, no matter how much trouble you face. 

Whether they chose to remain in my life or not, people in my past have played a big part of who I am today. 

Po: You should, Shen. You gotta let go of that stuff from the past 'cause it just doesn't matter! The only thing that matters is what you choose to be now.

Today, if you had the chance to rewrite your past, what would you change? And why? 

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Always with you [11/365]

Learning how to ride a cycle is an integral part of a boy's growing up years much like how learning how to cook or apply make-up is in a girl's life.
I remember how I learned how to ride my BMX when I was a little boy.
My dad would always be behind me. I'd doubt if he's really holding the cycle steady but I was always sure that he was just a few steps behind me to hold me in case I was unsteady. Pompous as it sounds, I never fell off a bike learning. Many years later, despite his busy life, he'd always make sure that he attended every sport I played. A fond memory of how he rushed to the football field when an opponent tripped me, is still fresh.

My earthly father. He was always with me. Though he left me with a vacuum that can never be filled and I may not be able to hear him anymore and I may not be able to see him as much as I want to, but I still know that he is just a few steps behind me.

I'm reminded of Psalm 25:4-10 where the Psalmist describes the infinite love of God: Our heavenly Father. He's never left us. Immune to death but fully knowing the pain and tribulation that we as his children go through, He comforts us when we are unsettled. Heals us when we are ill, and leads us when we go astray.
We confess and He is eager to wipe clean all our transgressions and misadventures.

I quote a bumper sticker that I saw:
'If you feel God is far from you, guess who moved.'

Full of compassion, He wants a closer union with you. Always.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What if

Have you ever pondered on how your life would have changed if something in your past didn't or did happen?

I have. I've wondered how my life would've changed if..
... I'd studied Architecture like I wanted to.
.. if I hadn't rebelled and started to live on my own.
.. if I hadn't dated all the wrong women.
.. if I hadn't lost my dad to Cancer.
.. if I was still with my ex.

While I still don't have all the answers, I do know that I wouldn't have been half as joyful as I am today if all that happened to me didn't happen.

Of course, in a fictitious parallel universe, I would have been happy but we live in a very real world.
A world where good and evil is as real as God and Satan, where we need to pay for our mistakes, our errs of judgement and moments of folly.
If I had a chance to change all the unpleasant things in my life, would I? No.

Thank God, I didn't study Architecture, because I would've never realized how much I loved writing.
Thank God I rebelled and decided to live on my own, because I now know that I can survive if I were to do this all over again.
Thank God I dated the wrong women, because I now know that beauty is the most deceptive measure to base a relationship on.
Thank God, my Dad passed away with a disease that he researched all his career because I now have a renewed appreciation for all the agony and trauma that both the sufferer and their loved ones go through.
And thank God, I am not with my ex, because I know that she could've never been the wife, the daughter-in-law and person that my parents will need.

For all the things that could've been but didn't, I thank God for all that happened. Cliched as it would sound, everything took it's time but eventually worked out in the most marvelous way.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Missing you, Dad

Exactly 16 years ago on a day like today, my Sister and I gifted Dad a hand written greeting card. Themed with 'Lion King' stickers and a few lines of poetry that my Sister wrote, the Card on the mantlepiece still evokes strong emotions and lot of memories.

Daddy was the culmination of everything I aspire to be.
As a scientist with the Health Ministry, he was respected for his work etiquette. I remember filling with pride as I would walk besides him whenever he used to take me to work. I simply loved the way everyone would salute and greet him with respect. Even when he was unwell, "If I don't go to work, I won't be able to earn for you" is what he would tell me, he worked hard and never missed a single day of work in the 20 years that I remember. 
Like many of his generation, he believed work is worship and never switched jobs. Such was his dedication to his career that when he was called back 10 months after the first Gulf War (of 1990), he was only the first 50 expatriates that were allowed back to the war torn nation. We went through a lot more after that. The trauma of having to rebuild our lives took a severe toll  on Dad. He worked 2 jobs and so did Mom. 
Dad stood like a pillar amidst all the chaos. Never faltering. 

Joy of every party! Family and relatives still remember him for the brilliant jokes and skits that he used to mastermind at every wedding for the past 30 years.

Growing up, I remember every moment with my Dad, even ones that would be potentially embarrassing, like the instance when I asked him about sex.  He did an exceptional job because he went on to explain the journey of the sperms to the egg in a way that made sense to a 16 year old without embarrassing or 'damaging' him irreversibly. 
My family still remembers how Dad used to teach me. He used to make mince meat of my exposed arms. Unpleasant but then I would be the same strict disciplinarian to my kids too. Sorry Kiddos!

The only guy that ever really understood me as I was growing up, I remember how he would motivate me at school. Once having performed so poorly at school (Grades were everything, after all), he gave me an option of having to study in a government school or to continue in CBSE. Now, not that I have anything against government schools or the quality of education imparted there, but in my nubile mind, studying at a government school was equivalent to deportation. I was given three weeks time to pull up my socks. Three weeks until the 'model exams'. Three weeks to go from 3/100 to 60/100. That was the first time he gave me an ultimatum. It worked. I studied, like I'd never before. That I did get 60% is not the highlight. That my Dad was proud of what I've achieved in such a short time is what I still cherish.

In college, the distance and the experience of not having my Dad took its toll on me. I craved for my Dad in my formative years, but in his earnest desire to make sure his children had everything in life instead of planning for his retirement took a toll on his health too. Having worked two jobs for a good part of a decade, in a repressive country like Kuwait, away from his wife and children, would be the greatest punishment a man can go through. Having worked with highly carcinogenic substances as a Researcher, he became a victim of his job. A job that he gave 35 years of his life, signed his death warrant. They finished their obligation with a gold plated watch and a plaque commemorating his three plus decades of 100% attendance.

He spent the last 7 years of his life in and out of hospitals, his body battered with chemo but all the drugs in this world did little to dampen his soul. Full of the goodness that a father could have towards his children. Full of love that a husband could have towards his wife. 

He was still the rock of the family. He was all that I still aspire to be. 
They say that when your parents tell you something, you can do better not to ignore it. I didn't know this. I ignored a few of his advices, and landed myself in shit deeper than I would've liked to admit then. But he was polite yet stern. Never politically correct but always a wise Parent. Commanded respect when he was alive and still does much after he's gone. 

June '06, is a month etched in memory. I'd just returned from a short visit when he suddenly snapped a shoulder like a twig because his colon cancer had advanced to the bones. It was all downhill after this. He was bedridden because the cancer had already shut down his liver and his gall bladder. It appeared that his body was almost giving up. I was determined to be with him as much as I could.
I remember the pain in his eyes, even as he would struggle to sit up to greet the hundreds who visited him. I still remember how he would want me to switch off the lights so that I could sleep even as he slipped in and out of consciousness. I remember how on one particular night, he was almost in tears after having passed motion in his bed. Unable to help himself, he was in grief at all the 'inconvenience'. The person who toiled almost all of his adult years for everyone else was crying because he was making us clean him. I remember how he made all three of us sit up, and in his last talk to me, asked me to take care of the family. I remember how we wept uncontrollably together after that. I remember how he told my mom of how proud he was of me a day before he passed on. I can still hear him telling my mom to ask me to take care while I was on the phone. I remember how relieved and pain-free he was the night before he passed away. He had asked for his favorite dish. I remember how he said "All is peaceful now. I am glad". I remember how he told my mom to switch off the lights so that she could grab some sleep, an hour before he passed on. I still remember how peaceful he looked as he passed away. Something about how peaceful he looked in death comforts me and the idea of death a little more tolerable. 

He was my best Friend, my most trustworthy Confidante, my only Mentor, my greatest Critic and most importantly the Most Incredible Dad that I could possibly have.

I still miss you, Daddy. I know you forgive me for all the nasty things I've managed to do inspite of having been your son. I am proud of being your son and I am looking forward to seeing you again.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Battle of the Sexes

Women are historically referred to as the 'Fairer Sex' and Men, the 'Weaker Sex'. 
This could be true in more ways than one.
Almost all battles in history have been fought over property or a woman.

A recent study indicated between 50% and 70% of the women polled from among the southern Indian states of Andra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka thought that 'Wife-beating' is acceptable.

Growing up, in a matriarchy society, I have had my Mom, Sister and other Women of the family, fawn and nurture me immensely. Thankfully so too.
Today, I cringe at how women could accept violence as a way of life.
Did the numbers lie? Was it an anomaly? Were the right parameters used?

Men rave about equality and woman's empowerment, but the moment, Men have a Lady managing them, they plot to malign them.
Many urban Men think it is fashionable to be called a Feminist. Maybe it is, it has a nice ring to it.

Someone once quipped 'Behind every successful Man, there is a successful Woman'.
It is true.
My Dad and my Mom were one of a kind. They were from different spectrums of the same society, met, loved each other so infinitely to marry inspite of all odds and remain married, despite all the pitfalls. My Dad and Mom were an excellent example of how interdependent married couples should be. Sure they were not the richest or the smartest. But they loved eachother and never stopped loving eachother till his last breath. I remember how my Dad was so concerned about his Wife even to his last excruciating breath, that he switched off the lights so that she could catch a nap after spending weeks of sleepless nights.
When she woke up, she saw that he had already passed away, but he had a peaceful smile on his face.
Ofcourse, they had the bitterest fights but love conquers all. It surely did. She stood behind him, always the anchor that kept him grounded. Humble even to be described 'down to earth'.

In me, most of the women I've dated can be termed as the 'Who's Who of Social Crap'. Yet, the reason why I loved them was because I wanted love, the kind of love that my Mom had for my Dad, True Love. Although I could not articulate my need for this love as well as I can now, I was searching for true love. I never got it. Not from any of the half a dozen that I dated.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (Corinthians 13: 4-8)
It took almost a decade for me to realise that it is our Mom and she alone who can give us the love that we crave for.
Yet, we fight. The moment we even smell women's empowerment, we take up arms against them. Maybe, we need to have stronger women who can talk the talk and walk the walk. We need women who can show that they are not second rate citizens. Maybe, we need women who will not use sexual harrasment, dowry, divorce and rape as a tool to get back at Men who are actually good hearted. Maybe, we need Women who know their rights and will enforce them, while still be equable. Maybe we need Women who will stand up for their families and will kick some serious butt when needed.
I know a girl who once explained why Women, who follow Islam strictly are restricted from dancing in the public, showing any skin or even hair.

"If I come and dance in front of men, then what if the men would start desiring me?"

This comment shocked me. But this is surprisingly right too. Men oogle. That is no secret. Men leer and drool at any Women. As kids, we are innocence personified. But as we grow older, we develop emotions that build a wall of mistrust and mutual hatred, loathing, fear and anxiety.

A Lady does not have it easy, mind you. Women are constantly being preyed upon. With so many leery and lustful eyes latched on to you, it would not be surprised if I start getting suspicious and insecure.

Helen of Troy lent her name to posterity by having the face that launched a million ships. But with the majority of the Women in the 21st Century, survival is a constant battle against a million lustful eyes.

When will men realise that we need them as much as they need us. When will men realise that respect starts from the way they look at women, and not when a Bill is tabled? Our Women need us. They need our trust and we need their love and caring compassion. They need our security and respect as much as we need their intelligence and kindness.

Is it not time we made the first move to living a civilized mature society?

And in the battle of the Sexes, true victory is when we gain the unconditional trust and love of our women. The question here is, are Men strong enough to do this?

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