My eyes lingered on the date on my phone screen as I realized tomorrow is Daddy’s Birthday. 25TH January.  I have lost count of how old he would be now if he were alive.  All I know is he’s been gone 8 long forlorn years.  I have missed him every morning, as he handed me my first cup of tea without me even opening my eyes.  Today I think how deep was his love that he found out a way to wake me up without getting me irritated.

As I thought about him I couldn’t hold back tears. And what else…..there was my little one, and try as hard I did, I couldn’t avoid her seeing them.  I don’t like crying in front of her.  I know it makes her sad, and there are explanations to be made which I detest.  But my heart was so burdened with his memories that I couldn’t keep the tears at bay.  And I just said that I missed Nanoo very much sometimes.  Little did I realize that I had put the bottomless topic of “death” in her little heart, once again.  I suddenly had her crying inconsolably saying that “Mamma you will also die one day, what will I do?”.  “Oh God, what have I done”.  Of course her baby heart will never be able to understand that everybody has to go some day.  I couldn’t tell her that “yes I will go someday, but hopefully by then you will have a family of your own and you will not need me so much as you do now”.  So I just hushed away the topic and spoke of funny things that passed during the day, and we said our prayers, praying for her and all her friends.  We took a long list of names with Sanaa being her favourite and first.  We prayed to keep them safe, and prayed for a good week ahead.  For me it was nothing less than having escaped a  thunderstorm to have her sleep in my arms moments later.

My thoughts returned to my Dad. People who knew him will tell you that he was always there with a ready smile.  Hiding candies in his pockets for little children and a lot of warmth in his heart for all those he met.  My friends loved him for his funny talks and endless chatter – I guess I get mine from him.

We would have gone home with a cake and a nice check shirt for him tomorrow. We would have taken him out for dinner somewhere. He would have enjoyed the attention and cutting the cake, and eating it too.   He would have lovingly taken the shirt and worn it, gleaming with pride and telling everybody that me and Rajeev brought him the shirt.

He would wait for me by the staircase if he knew I’d be stopping by on my way from work. By the time I parked the car he would be down to hold my hand and hug me and kiss me.  An array of goodies that he would have made mum cook for me would be laid out, and he would pick up each and everything and hand it into my hands or feed me, till I would get upset.  Nobody can love me like that, and my heart’s breaking as I think of it.

Death is a hard-hitting reality.

My memory of him lying peacefully are very fresh. His body still warm and with a smile on his face, as if he’s just sleeping.  He had the smile even till we lowered him into the sand, and I am sure he still has it wherever he is.  Deep down he was like a child.  Happy with little things and upset with little things.

He would always teach me that whatever the situation, its never too bad to salvage it. Somewhere along the way, I think he’s passed that attitude onto me , because I always look at the light at the end of the tunnel, and that keeps me going.

I loved him for everything he was to me, and for all that he will always be for me till my last breath. I have never known anybody carry such a twinkle in his eyes all the time, and again I am so sure that whenever the day comes when I see him again he will have that same twinkle in his eyes.

I had written this poem somewhere during the last days of his life, when I feared yet believed that he would come out of it smiling, like he always did………..

By my little finger you led me,
promising always to be near.
Just the knowledge of your presence
removes my every fear.

You guided my every step
shared a secret smile
Carried me as a treasure
deep inside your heart – all this while.

Manier times I misunderstood you,
got angry about your interference
and rarely did I understand
the reason behind your perseverance

Always providing for my every need
you were my Hero, supportive and strong
for me as your baby,
any decision of yours could never be wrong.

As I grew older, I pretended to be wise
but you would be on a constant watch
with your eagle eyes,
but nonetheless trusting me all the while

Today you are old, frail and weak
But Dad, dear Dad – you pretend to put up a brave front
and if I need a helping hand,
yours you will happily lend.

And even today, if I cross the road with you
you will still pick up my little finger
And hold it tightly too
…within your careful hands
…….lest, your little angel is lost from you.

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