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As a child, I remember thinking why I never saw my dad cry and with my innocent logic, I reasoned, God made him stronger to care of us all.
A wish list from Women’s Web suggested interesting ideas to help writers give expression to their thoughts. The number one topic was “My Father and Me.” And at once, my mind opened up and I could see before me a wide road that kept going on and on with no destination. My stories with my father are never-ending.
I am not sure where I can possibly begin to describe my relationship with my father. There are so many things to say. But I would like to start with one thought that kept arising in my mind when I was a child.
Nestled in the world of love and innocence, I was forever intrigued by why I had never seen my father cry. While mom had those saline drops instantly streaming down in her emotional moments, dad gave us the impression that sad tidings and events never affected him.
With my childhood logic, I ultimately reasoned that God perhaps made daddies stronger to take care of us all. That they were strong to shoulder all responsibilities, and stand straight and tall when the rest of us faltered and fell.
It is commendable how many fathers have guided their sons and daughters to be successful in terms of their careers. But it is equally important to acknowledge the good values they may have consciously or unconsciously imbibed in their children to make life more meaningful.
It is so difficult to come up with a definite list of how my father shaped who I am today, but at the top of my head come a few flashing points.
Life’s path became rugged for my dad when he lost his father at the age of sixteen. His older brother and sister were married and had their own families. So, he took it on his shoulders to look after his mother and younger brother, and that sense of responsibility remained intact till the very end.
My father left no stone unturned to shower us with happiness and all that we wanted. But his care and concern extended beyond the walls of our house. Beside taking care of his immediate family, he was very concerned about how his nieces and nephews, his siblings and relatives were.
That is one lesson I learnt from my father (and of course my mother too!) True happiness exists not only when it hovers over my home but when it flows outside my circle and encompasses others too.
Growing up in a religious Hindu family, I remember having pujas in our house at regular intervals. I also remember going to almost all the temples in town and visiting the ones when we went to other places. And amidst this religious ambience, I learnt the values of openness and acceptance.
Be it a church, a dargah, or a gurudwara, I have seen my parents visiting them all with equal devotion. My father had close friends across all faiths, and he was far above orthodoxy and parochialism.
Right now, when I hear about divides on the basis of religion, I feel immensely proud that I inherited my father’s secular beliefs. He never preached to me or my brother, but his behavior and his actions spoke volumes. We always learnt that the basis of any religion is that we cannot have hatred towards anybody.
When it came to handling a crisis, my father was always the brave warrior who believed he would win despite any and all odds. He was a fighter and never gave up.
With numerous health ailments in his old age, he always had a positive attitude and never let his illness get in the way of leading a normal life. He believed that if the mind is strong, all obstacles can be faced.
This is the gene that he has perhaps passed on to me, for I believe that adversity does not last forever. We may have days of ill health and barriers that may not make life smooth. But I feel that there is always light at the end of the tunnel.
They say, “Some superheroes don’t have capes, they are called Dad,” my father was truly one such hero. Four years have passed since he left us, and I still sense that void to this day.
While I feel his physical absence, I comfort myself with the thought that he is smiling at me from heaven. And that I am among those blessed ones to have had one of the best dads in the world.
To my father, whose guiding hand is always over me despite him not being here, and to fathers all over the world: A Very Happy Father’s Day!
Picture credits: Still from Bollywood movie Thappad
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Born in India, Rashmi Bora Das moved to the United States in the early nineties.
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