Life’s bliss but without my father something’s amiss…how could it not be.
Can we choose not to let something affect us? I don’t think so.
It’s been 22 years since my Daddy’s demise,17th of Sept.,2016 will be the 22nd death anniversary,but I’m still hurting.
It feels kind of a long and kind of a short time,it’s been painful to an extent that breathing was exhausting and it’s been so easy somedays like I never knew him.My Daddy was always a source of pain for me,it was painful living away from him,painful,not having him around,protecting us from unpleasant experiences,guiding us,painful not being able to communicate our joys and sorrows,painful that he was so unavailable,physically and emotionally,painful not being able to see his handsome face everyday.Even now as I write this I can’t hold my tears,I wish I knew him more,I wish I got to spend more time with him.I know him just a little through his diaries,
and I have only a handful of memories with him,among them some bitter ones too,but mostly thinking of him brings a smile to my face.
My memories with him are precious little and few and far between.He’d take us to the movies,mostly English,only action movies,sometimes Telugu and he’d always first see the movie himself and later take us,only if the movie was appropriate,and also he’d explain the movie to us, he was thoughtful that way and patient too.He used to take us to picnics sometimes,and breakfast at Taj,a famous South Indian restaurant in my city,these are about the handful of memories I have of him.There is a vivid memory of his which is unforgettable to me, we were at home when Daddy once returned from a his posting in a district far from home and shouted our names from the gate and upon hearing him we ran to the gate and he carried me and my brother in his arms and hugged us tightly,precious memory.Sadly,I can’t recall the last time I saw him,before I lost him forever.
Twenty years ago,our lives were shattered with the news of my father’s death by accident,he was coming home for our parents’ wedding anniversary which was the next day,18th Sept.,but never reached.His body was found the next day on the side of the highway,in a field.My mother was the one who identified his body,she says that it was a horrifying sight and tragic too,to see such a handsome man with teeth broken and a branch tearing his eye,he lay there in a pool of blood,his boots had scratches on the sides,indicating struggle,I wonder while breaking down,always,for how long must’ve my Dad struggled,how lonely he must’ve been,how much pain must’ve he been in,did he think of us then,was he capable of that,did it take long before his suffering came to an end??.My mother didn’t let us see Daddy’s corpse because it was too painful to see him in that state,she wanted us to remember him as his handsome self,like he always was.The time the postmortem report stated as the time of my Daddy’s death was 8.30pm and that day that same time,at home,my mother,my brother and I heard our Daddy calling our names,we ran to the gate and didn’t find him,at first we thought he was hiding,he often did that,after a while we realised that maybe we just assumed we heard him.The next day we got the news of his demise,we still believe that Daddy came straight home after he died,how else can one explain all three of us hearing him calling us at the very time his soul departed.
My life took a sharp turn that day,I never had imagined a life without him,I thought I won’t be able to live with the fact that my father’s no more,but like always,we adapt and we move on,the fact that he was always away helped us get over this ordeal a bit sooner than we had expected,he was an Inspector in the Andhra Pradesh Special Police Force(a state in South India) and shortly before his death he was promoted to DSP(Deputy Superintendent of Police),hence he was always in the Maoist-infested districts,sweeping the forests in search of them,Naxals were a big problem then.
We had our troubles after he died,financial and all sorts and yet life went on,like it always does and now twenty two years later I try to recall him,I close my eyes and can visualise him at the gate,in his uniform,but I can’t seem to recall his voice,I’ve looked for tapes which had his voice recordings but haven’t found any,I lost his voice,I miss his voice and I’m still desperately searching for at least one tape.
My Daddy was very funny,always joking,immensely handsome,unbelievably stylish for a police officer,very conscious of his looks,and pretty much sick of lazy,fat colleagues of his,he didn’t watch Hindi movies,didn’t like Hindi songs,he was not fond of anything typically Indian,(and this i inherited i guess)he was very kind,treated all young and old,rich and poor alike,when he came to pick me up from school,he would talk to all my friends,and joke with them,I was very proud of him.And when he died I didn’t want to live without him,he was our only respite from all things unpleasant,but nobody dies with the dead,we just die each day,little by little.As years passed and I gained some perspective on my life back then,I understand my Daddy had flaws too,I know a couple of them,flaws that gave grief,I loved him too much to notice then but I love him unconditionally now,I realise my life wouldn’t be the same with him around,I wouldn’t be where I am today,I would be somebody completely different,and that is one reason I’m not so sad for his loss,I love my journey till date and I love my life,now.I wouldn’t want it any other way and had he been alive,this wouldn’t be possible,of course i’d love to have him around but as a mute spectator and that he would never be.So,I guess whatever happens,happens for the good.
The death of my father has meant a death of many things to us,death of many relations,hopes,aspirations,dreams but I guess if I can live and love life even after the sun of my life set twenty two years ago,if I can find a way in the darkness,if I can be strength to others, if I can from a lost 14 year old become this responsible woman now,without a father’s hand to lead me then I have the confidence that I can take up any challenge life throws at me,my Daddy’s death has taught me the single,most vital lesson I ever needed to learn,that,if I could take all the blows life hit me with,these twenty years and still stand tall,then I can take anything.But I pray life doesn’t test me more and I pray that Abbu(my son) or my nephews or any kid should never lose a parent.I pray I,never have to lose anyone else I love,Ameen.
Love my Daddy loads and we are very proud of him.

*That’s my Daddy in all the pictures.

©Seema Tabassum 2014
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