It was late yesterday night that I had seen some rather heart breaking advertisement about a father and his importance to the family.
I wondered the whole night before I slept whether any person could have been a better dad than mine? I suppose everyone has a great dad... but whenever I think of him, he was the perfect dad. We call dad in my native language as "Achan".
I had referred to his queer ways and his funny side in earlier one of my blogs, but then I never mentioned his loving side!
It all starts to the day I can remember in my earliest of my childhood, when I was around 4 years old, I had this nice little fall, and broke my head near my eyebrow.
I don't remember how I reached or when I reached the hospital, I just remember that during the whole time the doctor was sewing up my head, and I could see the needle go up and down around my forehead, with a needle the size of a cobbler, my dad was there, not shedding a tear, but always smiling at me and waving a nice big packet of GEMS candy! And I remember being carried back home with my head on his shoulder.. eating them as if nothing had happened on my forehead.
Wondering how the years passed, and I remember faintly anything but only the best moments with him... I should have been 6 or 7 years and able to read that I remember my trips with him on his old lambretta scooter to the rice mill and the ration shop near by. I used to love the smells of the spices and ground flour at the mill, and used to love a nice steady flow of sneezing because of the dust.
Buying our ration I used to come back home on his bike, and the main attraction of the trip was the stopover at Ravi's Stationary and grocery shop. I still remember Ravi, the shopkeeper. He had really curly hair and lots of it and with two big side burns, and he was fairly dark with an extremely big moustache, he was tall and very heavily built too, the kind of guy you would expect in a local police force rather than in a shop, he was nice to me, always used to welcome me with a pat on shoulder or a ruffling of my hair.
Every trip, I used to get a dairy milk chocolate or some toffees. One day I saw something amusing on the wall, it was a snake and ladder hung on the wall! A snake and ladder board. I should say I as a kid was also never demanding, I used to never utter what I wanted and just used to stare and fiddle with my object of passion, so there I was having my chocolate and looking at it and my all knowing father asked "Do you want it?" and I just smiled, no more questions asked, money paid and the next day till another month I was playing snake and ladders. I remember I played so much that I could see only ladders and snakes in my dreams too! That was my father who used to do things without me asking, understanding what I wanted.
All the while I was growing up I remember our times, when he used to ask me for a kiss which used to reach kozhikkode from Malappuram or from Cochin to Kozhikkode. That was the length of the kiss he wanted, and I would start kissing him on his rough coarse shaven cheek and he used to say, it just reached here now(some places in between our destination and origin)... go on! He used to be in eternal bliss having my kid lips on his cheek, and I can still see him smiling!
Then there were times when I was asked to walk on his back to relieve his backpain..he used to make me walk on his back, it was a wierd feeling, I was so worried that I will hurt him, I was hardly 7 or 8 then, and he was a strong man, around 6 foot in height and weighing over 90 kgs, so I was a like a feather to him. I was never too old enough then to work out the dynamics of weight then!
When I grew older I remember how I used to loose my pens in school, and all kids there used to protect thier pens like it was "the Lost Arc", because thier parents would strip them off thier skin! I was absent minded, and was not careless, so my father used to bring every week around 10 pens till the time I used to have one pen each for a day. One day I felt I was being extremely careless and started taking care of my pens, that day was when half of the class was using the same brand of pens which my dad used to buy for me! That was the day I realised if I am not careful, then the whole world can take advantage of me, even if I have unlimited supplies! He never scolded me on this or anything, but I realised on my own, without a single harsh word!
In 27 years I have known him, the only time he had beaten me was once! And that too for something which I seriously believe a beating was not enough.. I should have been subjected to lashing! So I wonder, how can someone have not a single difference of opinion with someone else? Like me and my dad, and even if I knew he had an opinion, and I didn't like it, it was never a difference of opinion, it was my achan's words.
In all the times we were together I only remember him being upset over my decision to get married to the girl I loved, and till date when I think of him, I have no regret, no anger, no anguish, just the thought that I hurted him, when I shouldn't have. I think love is like that... You just can't have a reason or rhyme, or just can't keep a grudge or remember a bad memory. Might be that is why I have no bad memories about my achan!
He was the one man whom I respected more than any man I have ever or will meet, and one man who gave me the most wonderful childhood. Whenever I remember him now, I cry till I can breath no more, that is when I think my dad shouldn't have been so nice, that because you don't just want to think about him, as you fear how much you will miss him!
Beside my dad's funeral pyre my brother whispered to me, "I was just praying to god that I can be one by thousand of how good a dad my dad was I would be thankful..." I didn't have any answer to that, but now when I think about it I believe, I could be never as loving, caring, understanding and supporting! It is the near impossible thing to achieve and this man with no dad to love him or noone to show him how to be his kids, as he was orphaned by the time he was hardly 9 years, showed us how a great father can be!