In our lives, we have several relationships, some we are born with, some we forge, some we fall in love with, some we create, some we stumble upon, some we stumble into and so on and so forth. But almost no relationship is perfect and almost never is it unconditional. Don’t get me wrong, it doesn’t have to be. In fact, to be fair, it shouldn’t be. Give and take is the basis for all relationships to thrive. People expect things out of you and you have your own set of expectations that you hope (wishfully perhaps) they will live up to. Be it emotional, material, philosophical, physical, metaphysical, psychological, or something else, we all have our mutual needs and compulsions that we impose or have to live up to. The fact that these expectations are the root cause of strain in relationships is a different matter altogether and I don’t intend to get into that. Bottom line, most of us are not saints, and so we cannot give unconditionally.
But rarely, very rarely do a very select few of us experience a relationship that is purely unconditional. Even one sided, I may say. There are people, yes there are, whose minds are very simple and hearts extra-large. All they care about is you and they don’t care how much you love them back. They don’t broadcast their love for you. They hold it in their eyes and it reverberates into our hearts. They look out for us as we march ahead in this world without looking back. They will be your stepping stones, but they won’t tell you that. They make countless sacrifices but take every effort to mask those from your eyes. They live their lives for us and we owe ours to them. Do we realize that in time? Do we celebrate them? Do we love them back? Do we make them feel special? Do we slow down, sit back and enjoy a few moments with them? Do we make them feel it was all worth it, even though they never doubted it? These are questions each of us has to grapple with our own conscience.
I was insanely lucky to have one such person in my life. I was gifted to have you, dad. You didn’t judge me. You didn’t preach to me. You didn’t question me. You never imposed but always inspired me. You willed me to reach for the skies, yet you didn’t resort to false praises or promises. You took no shortcuts in life and made sure I appreciated that. You expected everything of me but yet nothing from me. You never ignored me. You always adored me. And most of all, you believed in me.
You laughed with me and cried for me. You carried me on your shoulders and you watched life through my eyes. You played with me, prayed for me, listened to every silly little story I had, told me the ones I wanted to hear over and over again, pushed me, held me, carried me literally and emotionally, gave me strength, took my pain, fought for me and did countless other things which will remain forever in my mind, heart and tears. You made my world yours and you were my world. You were everything for me. I don’t know if I believe in God or not. You see, I didn’t have to. I had you. Or rather, I have you.
As a school friend of mine exquisitely put it: “You were a part of every frame in the movie of my life, but you settled in a corner, letting me have the limelight.” A subtle yet surreal statement that put your life and mine in a symphonic perspective.
I have seen you when I was a child. And then I saw you as a child. Both were fascinating experiences in their own respect. I laughed in both and cried in one. I cannot forget either. Happiness gives us comfort while pain gives us strength. You taught me life without ever trying to.
I miss hearing your voice every single day. I miss playing tennis with you. I miss watching you play. I miss those laser precision serves that barely hit the line to the dismay of your opponent. I miss laughing with my mom every time you run aggressively towards the ball and clock it to the net and then curse yourself. I miss yapping pointlessly with you. I miss enjoying your silly fights with autowallas. I miss listening to you talk about random things with your trademark wisdom sprinkled all along. I miss the worldly conversations with you. I also miss the silence between us. I miss watching you sew. I miss watching you make love to that 30 year old Remington typewriter. I miss seeing you undress a coconut in record time. I miss sitting behind you on the scooter, hugging your stomach and whispering in your ear every single thing I see on the streets. I miss you sitting behind me in my bike, your hand gently resting on my shoulder and soaking in the sceneries in silence.
Every time I think of you, a tear makes its way down my cheek as another waits for its turn. I can’t make my peace with the fact that you have left me. I don’t think I can ever. I can’t fathom that you have gone to a place I can’t find. At least not yet. Sometimes I wonder when I will get there. How will you look like? How will I look like? I imagine all the things that we will have to talk. Lots of things to catch up. Do you miss me? I do. I look up at the sky and smile every day hoping that you are looking. Make sure you do. Take care dad. Until we meet again.
My first memory of your loss