“Do a good deed and throw it in the river.”
My father was the epitome of this proverb. Little did we know that we lived with a celebrity for so many years. The number of people he inspired and mentored in his short life is countless. I always argued with every major decision he made for me because I wanted otherwise, but fortunately, everything he did turned out to be in my favour and I couldn’t ever thank him enough for standing his ground. Be it a new subject in school or which college would be better for me; he just knew what would make me happy, more than I did. He had the superpower of seeing the potential in people that wasn’t visible to them, and he would make sure they utilized their talents in the right way.
He would do absolutely anything for me. No matter what anyone told him if the words would come from me, he’d lovingly say, “Oh now that my daughter asked me to do it, I definitely will.” Then, I’d just smile at him. He told me I would never have to worry about anything as long as he was there, and honestly, I never did.
When it came to health, he almost never got sick, and when he rarely did, everyone was around him, and we never let go of his side.
A few weeks ago, he came home and said that he needs to go to the doctor because he sneezed once, and we laughed at how ridiculous it sounded and hugged him, saying he was fine. However, we did take extra care of him for the next few days. Giving him a steam inhalation every once in a while, a glass of warm water, and the signature ‘kadha’ everyone had been raving about.
He weakened in those next few days, but it didn’t seem like something was majorly wrong until one Tuesday when he suddenly developed grave issues with breathing. We called for an oxygen cylinder immediately, and Mumma rushed him to the hospital. Everything was happening so fast, it all seemed like a blur at that moment. He gave me a flying kiss before leaving and looked at me with sparkling hope in his eyes to reassure his little girl. If only I knew that it would be the last time I ever saw his invigorating smile, I’d hold on to him tighter and never let him go!
Always encouraging, motivating, and celebrating the smallest moments in life with a huge smile are the words on the lips of every person who was lucky enough to acquaint him.
He messaged us from the hospital, telling us that he had idli, Kesari baath, and coffee for breakfast, and it was very yummy when all we wanted to know was how he was feeling then. He also asked if Mumma could bring a few chocolates because he was craving for something sweet! Even at that moment, his love for the good things in life was evident.
We were told he’d get better, and this was just a phase; until the following Saturday evening, when I called my aunt to find out how he was doing and all she said was, ‘pray hard.’
I waited a long time for her to call me back and say those reassuring words that he was doing okay, but instead, I received a message from a random number saying, “I’m so sorry for your loss.”
I screamed in dismay and disbelief, unready to accept that something like this would happen to me, and then I lost momentary power to express any emotion.
It’s been two weeks now, and I cannot stop replaying the beautiful moments we spent together.
His melodious voice still rings in my head, and it’s hard to believe that he’s not going to be around anymore.
His Sunday morning ‘chai pe charcha’ ritual with his squad lost their essential member, and the pact he made with his college friends to never miss this Sunday ritual now stands shattered.
In his early 20’s, he was associated with a youth group called ‘Nehru Bal Sangh’ (NBS) and effortlessly captured their hearts. They organized several camps and competitions like cascade for children/special children for about 20 years. That is another family that now lies dispirited.
When I was a kid, I called him every day to find out what the monster in his office was doing, and if it was given boiled eggs to eat, trusting him a 100% that an actual creature with humongous eyes was kept behind bars and that’s why he couldn’t take me with him to work. What connection could I use to find out how he is doing now?
He’s left us with a huge void in our hearts, a little too early…just before he could hit half a century.
I still think about how looking neat was so important to him, and getting a haircut with his very little hair made him so elated. As he lay on the hospital bed, he asked Mumma, “Don’t you think I should have trimmed before coming here?”
All his life, he made sure to tell each of us he loved us very much and a little too much in his last few days as if he knew what was ahead of him. His last text message to me read, “Take charge and take care.️”
The chest I used to rest on is now far away, and my hand remains unclenched while crossing the roadway.
He graduated from life and passed with flying colours I’m sure,
For he won the hearts of thousands and his memories we treasure.