Showing posts with label Son's tribute his Dad. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Son's tribute his Dad. Show all posts

Monday, November 14, 2016

Happy Birthday, Daddy!

I can't remember too many important dates, but November 14th is always important to me.
Today is his 74th birthday.

Like a seasoned veteran, he had his routines. 
He would wake up at the crack of dawn, wait for mom to make him a cup of coffee and then get ready for the day ahead. 
I still remember how he would talk to me, sit at the table reading his bible or the newspaper, sit on his stool at the verandah in the evenings, or watch the telly with mum. I still remember how petrified I would be if I stayed up late when he would get up and stand at the door with the look that can melt cheese or the joy on his face when I come in and how he would come and wake me up at 9 am. He always wanted me to wake up late since I was 'on vacation'. I still remember the endless jokes he used to crack and the fun and sober times we had together. 
He was the life of every wedding party in the family and never let his circumstances cow him down. I also remember how upset I would be when he scolded me and how I used to never want to return. Yet, I would. I couldn't stay away from him for too long. We loved each other more than just as a father and son.
He would take me out to the beach and we would just sit there and speak in silence. Nothing had to be spoken. He already knew everything in my life. 
He had his regrets but never voiced them out once.

He passed on, 10 years ago. 
But if he was here, he would've still followed his ritualized routine and celebrated his birthday fielding calls from all his friends and family. 
He always wanted to live a complete life with his wife, traveling and exploring. Cyprus and Israel were at the top of his wishlist.
He would have taught me fishing and we would've gone on lots of fun road trips together. He was an incredible driver and was very proud of my driving. But more importantly, he would've wanted all of us by his side on this day. 

He wasn't the stereotypical man. He only spoke as much as he should. He only promised what he could keep. 

My fondest memory of him was when I was leaving Kuwait for the last time. 
He was seeing me off at the airport and I saw him weep, across the terminal. For the first time. 

Today, I want to remember his life and not the fact that he died. 
I want to remember the fact that he was an amazing husband, the gentlest father, and a doting grandfather.
He taught me every life lesson in love and fatherhood, without speaking a single word. 
He was smart and worked hard to get where he was. Everything the rest of us have is because of how hard he worked. He hadn't missed a day at work until he was diagnosed. 

I remember how he gave, freely. I remember how he loved, without expectations. 
I remember how he never stopped loving his wife. My parents loved each other with a devotion that defies logic. He was a Christian and she a Hindu. They married at a time when
it was taboo to marry someone outside their religion. But we were given the best of both worlds. She would participate in the holy communion and he would pray at temples. He touched the lives of many people with his life. 

If he were here today, I would travel to be with him. 
I would wake up early just so that I can spend an extra hour with him. I would stay up late just so that I hold him.  
But he isn't.

Every other day is passable and birthdays are not supposed to make you cry but you can never stop grieving. The tears will flow. The pain is still raw. 
Not having a parent (or partner) you love is perhaps the most debilitating experience in life. A part of you that was, is never the same again. 

Like any other child, I wouldn't accept the fact that our parents will die in our lifetimes. 
I guess I still can't accept the fact that he did. 
It's the reality but not being able to see him and hug him and hold him and hear from him is excruciating. Yet, I know he is up there. Immune from all disappointment, agony, distress and pain.

Today, as I celebrate his birthday, I know I'll be happy if I am half the man, husband and the father that he was. 

Happy Birthday, Daddy! It will always ache that you aren't physically here, but you are always within me. Until the day I see you again.

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? 

Saturday, July 21, 2012

When mortals die [203/365]

The original 'Great Khali'
God must be making a Bollywood movie because India lost two of her most endearing Bollywood superstars in the last fortnight.
Dara Singh and Rajesh Khanna.

While I haven't seen either of their movies, yet, the deluge of emotions that Indian movie buffs poured out is testimony that good actors never die. They just change addresses.

Which is more than what we can say of most of today's Bollywood. In an cut-throat world of competition, it is really anyone's day. What sets the boys from the men or the girls from the women is integrity, sincerity and the uncanny ability to stay out of controversy.

While some actors have been able to strike the right balance with all three, a few of them thrive on the news they generate every couple of days. But I guess that is important when you are an actor who is not (good at) acting.
After all, any publicity is good publicity.

RIP Dara Singh and Rajesh Khanna.
I sincerely hope you've left the right legacy.
Bollywood's Lover boy

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.

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