Today is 26/11 and yesterday when I called my mom she asked me “Do you remember the date” I said NO. and she said today is the day dad died. I said “Oh! and I told her it is not 26th yet here in the US” and she she said “Oh! I forgot that”. But then the fact is I did not remember and I would not have if she would not have told me. Though I knew it was some time in November I had no idea it was today. But she had called me two days ago and asked if I was ok and how is my health. She said she was having bad dreams that I was not well. I said I was ok and then said to myself “Who the hell knows about tomorrow” 🙂
I had the feeling that she was thinking that way, because November 26th was the day my dad died and I turned 45 this year, the age (45 years) when my dad passed away, yes quite young. I mean I remember 26/11 for the Mumbai blasts, in fact since 2008 26/11 was never my Dad’s death anniversary but the day Mumbai Blasts happened. I think it is ok to forget. I mean it is ok to forget the dates, not the event because I have personally as a son missed my dad all this 28 years many times in a year every year. So the date of death does not add any special significance to me as such.
Today morning I wrote about the 26/11 attack and about Fidel Castro’s death and so on. I even went for a party. Now back home and sitting with a drink I feel like writing. In fact I have been feeling to write since I was driving back. I am older than my dad now. I remember writing a poem long back when I realized I have spent more time in this world without him than with him. Today I apparently have spent more time in this world than him 🙂 Again tomorrow will say that 🙂
There are three things about my dad I remember
- He told that “Time will heal everything”
- He said “My biggest asset are my kids” to someone who asked what assets (money and land) he had made
- Take time to be still and think because everyone in the world is moving (to me who could never stay still)
I remember him every time I have a drink because I miss having him next to me and sharing a drink and doing philosophical discussions which I knew he too did (from what I remember overhearing him as a kid). I miss him when I see a movie (especially one starring utpal dutt or Balraj Sahini or Naseeruddin Shah or Om Puri or jayparada or shabana Azmi). According to him Jayaprada and Sabana Azmi are the most beautiful women in this world (of course after my mom). I miss him when I hear Tom Jones or Jim Reeves, those GMR cassette he had. He was in my mind when I watched Tom Jones Live last month. I remember him when every time I write anything. I remember him when I read something because he was a voracious reader and I till date have only read a minuscule of what he has read. I remember him when I walk alone. So I miss him at every point of my life. So a date is of no significance to me.
When he died I remember lying on a rock near my ancestral place and one of his acquaintances came and sat next time. He said “your dad wanted to travel to far off places in a bicycle with a box of medicine and cure the world. I guess I never got the message. He named my sister Anuradha after seeing the movie Anuradha by Balraj Sahini. I remember him everytime I make Dosa and eat. Like me Dosa day and night is good for us 🙂
I am no way like my dad. He had so much patience unlike me. While my son and daughter tell I am always mad at them, I can remember only three instances when my dad got angry with me. Once when I tried to drink my own urine, other when I forged my mom’s signature and the third when I really pushed my sister to the limits. But my kids Rhea and Rahi have a lot to say about me. I am always mad…
Coming to kids Today I also think of Aryaman, My other son, the son who I have not seen for 12 years. The son who who should be no seventeen. The son for whom I never been a father. I have missed him all this years when I sit alone and think about the life I have lived. May be some day I will meet him and he might question me. I might only have a silence as answer but hope he understands that I am no perfect person and my adherence to the essence of being human is something he can relate to. Relationships are complex and they get more complex when you think about them. I will probably upload all the pictures I have of him sometime. I don’t know where he is so he can reach me if he wants.
So today 28 years ago my father died and he left me with a few things and they are not things that make you successful but things that make you be more human. How do you judge a person? you do so by talking to others and I have over my adulthood spoken to so many people who have known my dad up close and in person and I have always felt that he had set so high a bar that I can never really cross. But I stick to what he has told me. “Just be yourself , not necessarily better than someone else.”