Every time I went back to India, I observed my parents and they looked different from how I last remembered them. I observed the fine lines that were now becoming prominent, especially along their neck and under their eyes. I noticed how simple things started seeming a little bit complex to them over time. I also observed how my Dad started to avoid driving long distances since the head lights of vehicles coming from the opposite end blinded his vision. I noticed when they visited me that they have started eating less and with less passion. I also noticed how my Dad would rest his eyes and his back after long hours of surfing on the laptop.
I observed all this. I noticed every slight change in them when I visited them year after year. And yet I could not see this coming. I let him simply transition to another world. I am not in denial anymore. I am not in depression either. I am just awestruck at how life goes on. My dad’s Facebook account still exists. And every day, I see him in my friends list, I see him as a common contact between my sister and me, Agam and me, my cousins and me. He is everywhere around me. I have made a “Dad’s corner” for him in our bedroom. It is full of his pictures and I make sure he is surrounded by fresh smell of incense sticks every day. I will also post my Father’s Day and Birthday wishes for him in this corner. I talk to him – I wish him good morning when I get up and I put him to sleep (by switching off the lights in Dad’s corner) every night. I pray for his soul in my daily prayers and I keep looking at his pictures when I miss him. And amidst all this , I continue to live.
I brought his last pair of glasses with me. I want to wear them when I am old. I have kept them in my bedside drawer and I look at them from time to time. My Dad loved his glasses and was always very picky about them. I got that habit from him. He also loved wearing silk scarves in winters. I got that habit as well. My Dad always smiled, no matter what crisis we were in – I try to follow him. He had kept a picture of Agam and me in his wallet. He also kept a gift tag written by me, that I sent him for Father’s Day this year. It read – “See you soon in December – Remember the promise, we will all drink to our happiness together.” My Dad did not drink. EVER! I didn’t adopt that habit. In fact I was going to break his habit this December. But here I am – writing about him as “had/loved/was” – this December. This was going to be our December of fun and festivities and joy. And it will be December still – just that he is not there with us to celebrate it.
Amongst all the things that I miss most – is to call him up and say – “Hi Papa!” I don’t have anyone to say that to any more. And that hurts most. I don’t have any one to call up and tell my day’s details – of my achievements and regrets, my happiness and sorrows, fears and emotions. Only a Dad listens to his daughter’s ramblings. And I don’t have my Dad any more. Selfish I am – indeed.
But I talk to him in my mind, and he answers back too. I am so afraid of losing that voice in my head. But he will live in my actions. And I will never lose his voice because now he is a part of me.