* * *
Of late, I have been thinking and talking a lot about my father. Nothing like a bad nagging feeling in me, or anything like that! Just few pleasant memories about the times we had spent together.
As much as I hate to admit it, I am a ‘Daddy’s Gal’.
And it has always been like that ever since I remember. It is more of a bitter sweet relationship – that we cherish.
The earliest photographs of my Pa and me, show us as the inseparable awesome twosome – I was a chubby kid ( I still am!), and the fading photograph shows him biting the good life out of me! My first Holy Communion snaps, picnics, drama rehearsals, Christmas, birthdays… the list is endless… Pa and I shared a warmth which was so evident in the pictures.
There were small little habits ingrained in me back then – Like, I used not let anyone other than my Pa to apply Kajal in my eyes! Silly as it may sound – I was only three. We have never been very verbal or articulate about our feelings for each other.
But one thing was pretty clear to my Pa and me : He was, is and will always remain my first love.
Pa is an amazing singer. And I am proud of his passion for music and dramatics.
He has always been acting in amateur dramas, ever since I remember. In spite of having a two shift job, and three meddly kids, and a working woman for a wife, he has made time to read through scripts and learn them up. Dialogue delivery was invariably aimed at his offsprings!He writes pretty darn well too! His literary works in Malayalam, actually encouraged me to take up the language!
We were always part of numerous cultural associations. My Pa encouraged me to take up music lessons – My younger brother is into drums – BIG TIME. My sister is an amazing artist. I know a little bit of the piano and sing fairly in key. I unashamedly admit that these traits have trickled down to us, purely from Pa.
I remember Pa bringing home coloured papers and cuting out flowers and things like that from them. He used to cut and paste – the traditional way – and make beautiful pictures, which were always on display in our living room. What I like the most about Pa is the importance he gives for the family. Whatever it is, we make it a point to find time to sit and talk. It invariably happens when we are licking our fingers after lunch! We sit and listen to him giving details about his childhood. There were rib-tickling tales that made us roll on the floor, and there were heart warming almost melancholy ones…
But as the years go by, the dimension of your relationship with your father always changes. It wasnt an exception in my case either. Mutual admiration continued. But both of us had conflicting ideas. We shared many of our ideas – not, in the least, trying to agree with each other. A lot of frustartion crept in. So much so that, when we are seeing each other face to face, we make it a point to squabble! But the minute we are apart, we are milk and honey! A chat with my Pa online is the most stimulating talk about life, and the like, I would have. We talk of Ma, about what the future is, and many other things.
I left home in April 1999. Farewell has never been easy on me. With friends, it was bad enough. With family – It was unthinkable. The very thought gnawed me from a year before itself. I mentally prepared myself to get detached from my friends and family. But nothing prepared me for the moment when my Pa blessed me by touching my head, moments before I left home.
We have always given each other the space for thought. This time when I went back home, in between the superficial talks about world politics and real estate rates, we did manage to talk about what I am planning for the future. We had a longish chat about many things; what he thinks I should be doing and what ought to have been done. In short, all the permutations and combinations! We were driving down somewhere. I silently listened to him speak, enjoying his company, and wondering what I will be thinking about him in the next 24 hours – I was leaving home the next day.
All of a sudden, out of the blue he said, “I know you are just going to listen to all these things I am telling you, and in the end, you will only do what your heart tells you to!”
I came back from my reverie. “HUH?”
“Of course! what else can I expect? You are my daughter after all! You will definitley be as obstinate as I was!Its the same blood thats running in your veins…”
Well, I didnt really have much to say to him. We both just hummed an old Hindi tune all the way back home.
I Love You, Pa.