Dear Papa, I am on my way to camping on the mountains. Remember our wild trips there, every two months? Well, I have inherited your tastes in traveling, if nothing else.
We have come a long way, Papa. Through my childhood, I remember, all I did was resist and all you did was preach. And however much I tried, you never did give in to my tantrums. But am I glad! Life wouldn’t have been what it is, if it hadn’t been for your preaching.
Yes, we have come a long way. From the time I held your big hand in my tiny one and took (sometimes dragged) you to show you my little discoveries (now I know how important it was to you) to the time you held mine and led me through the marriage ceremony.
Growing up with you, Papa, has been a wonderful process. The realization, unfortunately, often dawns only after one has grown up. But I sure am glad it dawned, early enough for me to appreciate you and communicate it.
Papa, even through all the times when I’d refused to talk to you because you wouldn’t give in – (like our never ending arguments on our trips, on my going bare feet into the streams. You always said that the crabs will bite me and my constant stand that crabs don’t bite.) – through all our little ‘wars’, I knew you would always be there. I knew you would love me, unconditionally. You would hold me up always. You never would let me down. You would let me fall but always stand behind. And most importantly I knew you would never give up on me.
And now, I find myself longing for that – a father’s strong shoulder for all the support I need.
Yes, I know (I can almost hear you telling me): “Things change, evolve and life goes on…” but there’s one thing I’d rather stayed forever – your support. The reason I long for you now is not because I can’t find my way across life (I know you’d hate that) but because today I realist what it takes to be a father. To incessantly go on being strong. No matter what.
And more than being a father – being a human. You made mistakes, but also knew how to rectify them. You always managed to spring back. You were able to handle and overcome, if not all, most of your short-comings. I’ve seen you falter and I’ve seen you picking up what’s left and rebuild. And it’s that standing up that makes me yearn for you.
Fathers, for almost all girls (and some boys), they say, are the backbone of their lives. For, if the backbone isn’t in its right place, it can cause irreparable damage for a lifetime. But you to me, Papa, are the entire spinal chord. ‘Cause, you are the reason I am standing upright today, in all my back-breaking struggles and my victories as well.
For, it’s you who taught me that it’s important to accept one’s victories with the same dignified courage as one’s shortcomings.
It’s you who taught me that one has to be more attentive when one is happy. Because it’s more difficult to handle happiness than sorrow.
It’s you who taught me that at times it’s just as difficult to bend as it to stand straight. Because life blows both ways. It’s you who taught me that courage and patience go hand in hand. Because just as it’s important to fight back, it’s also important to wait.
Papa, you taught me all that is necessary to live a life of peace, courage and happiness… But Papa – you didn’t tell me there’s only one you.
Love to Maa.
Your Little (sometimes)
PS: I still go bare feet in the streams! (But I am careful of the crabs.)