“I am not in a mood to take the bus all the way till there, Daddy will you drop me?” He would agree instantly most of the times. Sometimes he would crib a little and scold me for telling in the last minute, but he would still drop me. The fact that the place was far and it was an unnecessary waste of fuel and time didn’t matter to him.
He would pick me up from the bus stand/railway station at 4 A.M and drop me off at 11 P.M every alternate weekend, when I travelled to and fro from Chennai.
As a little girl, I would get scared when I woke up at night. I couldn’t go back to sleep. I wouldn’t wake my sister either. I would toss and turn and finally when I couldn’t handle it anymore, I would walk to my parent’s room. I would call out to my Mom and tell her that I couldn’t sleep. She would call me to sleep with her. I would then sleep warmly, nestled between Dad and Mom. Dad would always wrap me with a blanket. I would then be asleep in minutes!
He would diligently iron our uniforms along with his. The word perfect seems insufficient. The ironing would be flawless. Not a wrinkle, not an out of place fold. It’s from him that my sister and I have got this habit. We cringe at the thought of wearing un-ironed clothes to office or elsewhere.
On the evenings that I would be at home, sometimes taking a nap, he would end up making so much coffee for all of us, with ample sugar, even before I wake up. For he knew, if I was up, he would have to drink sugarless coffee.
I never went to bed without food. I mean never-EVER! No matter what I had snacked on in the evening, no matter how full I felt, it was Daddy’s rule that we had dinner before going to bed. At least have curd rice. Even if we had a huge fight and I was crying in my room, I couldn’t skip dinner.
Today when I have to take care of not just my needs, but others’ too, I miss that warmth. I miss the love which was masked by the sternness. It’s been three years now. This time his death ceremony fell on Father’s Day. I kept getting promotional messages of what I could gift my dad. I wish I could!
I wonder how our relationship would have been if he was around.
Maybe he would have grown to like BG and been happy for me. Maybe he would have been happy to know that I joined the current organization, where my sister worked at the beginning of her career. It would have probably lessened his doubts on my capability.
Maybe he and mom would visit us at our house regularly and I wouldn’t feel so lonely and sad that people from our family hardly visit us. Maybe I would still get gifts from him on my birthday.
If he would’ve been around and we had a kid, maybe he would play for hours with the child, as he did with my nephew.
Maybe he would still take me to Malleshwaram when I visited them. He would have got me vada and coffee at Janatha hotel. The fridge and kitchen would still be stocked with eatables. He would still buy pomegranates for me.
Maybe the family would still be meeting, sharing and bonding at the monthly outings and not at his death ceremony. 😦
I just hope he is happy wherever he is and knows that we miss him. I hope he’s happy with me too!