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I know the generally wide extremes that celebrating a day like this evokes: the ones who gladly share their feelings about it and the ones who turn up their noses at the idea of expressing your love for your loved ones on social media. I’ve decided to toe the middle line and do it on my blog, because it’s my diary and one of the best ways I have of recording my emotions for quite possibly, the largest influence in my life.
A blog post isn’t enough to do justice to the man I call ‘Appu’. Yes, that’s what my sister and I call him. Why? Because, as a kid, I couldn’t say ‘Appa’ but Appu rolled off my tongue so naturally that my dad fell in love with it and forbade anyone from changing it. So, Appu it has been for all these years.
Appu, how shall I even begin to talk about everything you mean to me? A list may help, perhaps, but know that it isn’t exhaustive at all. How about a series of short anecdotes? I know you love stories so let’s give this a whirl.
Remember that time I had that terrible abscess on my back which required surgery and that night the painkiller wore off and I couldn’t sleep, crying as I did through the excruciating agony? You sat by my bed singing bhajans for two hours. Who else would have done that for me?
What about the time I waited anxiously for my A-level results and was devastated to learn that I’d ‘failed’ in a subject? I’d already completed a year of college by then and was terrified of not being able to continue. You convinced me that if that was meant to be, it wouldn’t matter and you’d be my side as I explored other options.
I’ll never forget the expression on your face when I had to sit on your lap for the kanyadhaanam ceremony during my wedding. You were worried if you could take my weight (thanks a lot!) but you managed to smile through it all (painfully obvious as it was.)
If I learnt about prayer and love from Amma, I learnt about questioning everything with compassion from you. Venturing into the spiritual journey became immensely simpler just by watching you. How you introduced me to the works of great writers and thinkers (Krishnamurti, Wodehouse, Neale Donald Walsch and so many more) is something I will always treasure.
We talk about everything under the sun and I do mean everything! I’ve always admired the completely calm way in which you addressed things which may have been considered taboo for a dad to discuss with his daughters but you haven’t shied away from them. Not once. That openness, that ability to always speak the truth, come what may, bonds us together more than you know.
Then, we have all our inside family jokes, just the four of us, that the world wouldn’t understand and that secrecy of chuckling together every time we meet is so precious that I cannot put it down in writing.
We have our standing joke of ‘Let me tell you two things’. It’s always two, isn’t it? Never one and never three; just two. But those two things are enough to make me ponder and reflect on everything we speak about.
During my depression phase, I remember you sitting me down one day, when I had a wave of self-pity wash over me and in the gentlest of tones you said, ‘I know this is hard and you feel you don’t deserve this. Remember though, that this will make you stronger, much stronger than you consider yourself right now. And you will learn that every stumbling block in life takes you further on your spiritual path.’
Appu, your love is one of the most amazing things Sindu and I have had the fortune to experience and I am grateful every single day for the forces that destined you’d be our dad. I pray for a healthy, happy life for you today and every day.
*Featured image courtesy: Shutterstock