Anyone can give birth, bring a new life on this earth! But it takes a lot more than that to be a father. The role of a mother and father were clearly demarcated in the olden days, slowly that changed and over time the roles became less important. There was just one main goal – to bring up the child in a healthy environment and more importantly, together, as one unit.
Sometimes, life turns into a memory and all you have are flashbacks of the time you shared with your loved ones. Today, as I write about my dad, there is immense pride and somewhere, the reality that, though he is not with us anymore, his teachings and way of life are very much a part of my life and will always be.
An Army officer by profession, my dad was always hands on with my brother and me. Right from dressing, etiquette and goals, he would constantly motivate us. There was a time when my brother and I were in Middle school and not so fluent in English, he would make us write down five new words with meanings and sentences each day! He would make it a point to check the work everyday, however busy his schedule was. Being a voracious reader himself, he passed on that legacy to me. He inculcated strong values in us right from primary school on wards. It was more out of respect, rather than fear, that we followed his guidance.
Army life is very adventurous and we sure had our share of it, he taught us to be independent, strong, capable and more importantly, disciplined! He was a powerhouse of knowledge and we basked in his know how. Teenage, need not be a terrifying time, he proved this true to me, with his friendly and timely counselings on all possible topics pertaining to that age. One piece of guidance that I cherish, which he taught us, was that, “freedom comes with responsibility ”
As I went on to study in a college in a different city, hostel life and ragging were making me very anxious, my dad wrote lengthy letters to me every week, due to which I overcame most of my apprehensions. During the same time, my great grandmother and an uncle had passed away, and as I was seeing this from close quarters, and in a different city, I was terrified! To be honest, I was seeing a dead body from so close, for the first time and I was shaken. When I went home for holidays, I was too scared to sleep in my own room and begged him to allow me to at least sit in my parents bedroom, he declined my request, and the next few weeks saw me, up, with sleepless nights, alone in my room. Slowly, I learnt to overcome my irrational fears and then, one day, he came to me and discussed about the unknown world and the associated fears. That was my turning point and I went on to get my post-graduation degree in Psychology.
Sibling rivalry is one thing which many parents face, rather, have been facing since ages. Thanks to my father, my brother and I had always been close. When my brother joined the National Defence Academy to pursue a career in the Indian Army, I felt the pangs of loneliness as we had been very close. It was my dad who insisted, that we both make it a point to write letters to each other every week. This strengthened our bond further. Little did I know, that my brother would be leaving us and going away forever, and that too, so soon. When my brother passed away due to an illness which he had battled with a lot of grace and courage, It was my dad who was our pillar of support. He helped us rebuild our lives, once again.
I got married with his blessings and soon had my elder son. My dad doted on him to the point that he would keep awake many nights trying to soothe my baby as he cried, very often he would take him out for a drive in the late nights with lullaby music playing in the car. He would bathe him, dress him, feed him and also helped me cope with all the ups and downs of babyhood. At all times, he was there to guide me.And then, one day, he passed away suddenly. It’s been eleven years since he left and my mother and I have rebuilt our lives, yet again, based on his teachings. I long to run up to him, hug him and have those lengthy discussions with him, but memories are all that I have. Have you hugged your dad today? Have you showed him how much you love him? What are you waiting for, then? Do it today!
Here is a poem, I have penned as a tribute to my ever loving dad.
The silent pangs of tears
Leaving me to face my fears
Of memories and grief
After all, our association had not been brief
Nothing is the same anymore
As I miss you to the core
Life teaches you the survival skills
Just as there is warmth after a period of chills
I miss our daily talks
Discussions during the long walks
The morning tea together
When dawn would appear
My life is my responsibility
For, we create what we believe
I hold on to your sweet memory
And cherish your blessings that I receive
I know, that you watch over me
For, the signs are there for me to see
I have moved on since
And have learnt not to wince
I know that we will meet again
Somewhere,sometime with a new name
Till then, I promise not to let life go by
For, your dream was to see me fly high.