Friday, March 23, 2007

To the first man in my life

Birthdays are a time for celebration. And what better way to celebrate my father’s birthday than by sharing my memories of him-the first man in my life. 

Whenever I see a heartwarming picture of a dad and his little girl, it takes me down the memory lane and brings tears to my eyes. It invokes thoughts of  the countless paths I have walked holding his hands and the countless times he has carried me on his shoulders, gently tucking me to sleep..

We have always shared a special bond, probably because of the huge age difference between us. He never refused me anything and consistently provided everything that I wanted. He is the one who boosted my self-confidence, taught me morals and induced values in me.. I don't know if I can find the right words to describe what he means to me.

My earliest memories of him are of a tall lean figure, always clad in a white full sleeved shirt and a sandalwood thilak on his forehead, who always looked terribly distinguished to my young eyes. Unill I turned 4 , I stayed in my mom's village since she was working there, while he worked in the town which was about 30 kms away. He would visit us during weekends, and the only thing I remember from those years is that he brought lots of goodies to eat and took me for walks to the nearby paddy fields. 

Shortly after, Amma also got a transfer to a school in the town, and that's when I started getting to know him better. His routine involved waking up early(4 am), taking a cold water bath, and then settling into his favorite easy chair in the front verandah with the newspaper.

He was always a cool and friendly person who generally never lost his patience. However, I vividly remember one incident when I received a good spanking.. When I was small, I had a strong fear of darkness. This restricted my free movement after sunset, especially since reaching the light switch was challenging for the four year old me.  Then one day, I had a brainwave and decided to turn on all the lights before it got dark, and promptly went ahead with my project diligently climbing on chairs, windows, and whatever I could to reach the switch.

Upon seeing all the lights on (even though it was still noon), he promptly switched them off. But me being the persistent kind repeated the exercise. This ON-and-OFF routine went on for a while until he eventually switched off the Mains. The next time when I attempted to switch on the lights, nothing happened. I did my investigation and discovered that the big green magic switch is pointing UP instead of down as usual. I climbed the window (It was way too high for a chair) and switched it ON. At this point, he lost his patience and disciplined me until the sticks broke into small pieces and my legs were all swollen. That was the first and last time he ever resorted to physical punishment!

When I was in the 4th grade, Amma got transferred to another district and would only came home on Sundays. For the next three years, it was just the two of us at home. Every day, he would cook rice( as that was the only dish he knew how to make) and pack my lunch box with rice and curds well before I even woke up coz he didn't want to see me struggle..

Every day, he would pick me up from school, just to buy something for me to eat on the way coz he knew I'd be hungry.. He used to get me chocolates without Amma's knowledge (she used to scold coz I made them my main meal and conveniently skipped proper meals). And guess what? He does it even now. He is yet to realize that I have grown up!!

He is the one who taught me to ride a bicycle,  showing me how to stay balanced, look ahead, and find the right speed. He employed the traditional method of holding onto the seat and running behind the bicycle. Although he would be too worn out at the end,  he never expressed it. Finally, when I could ride on my own, I felt so brave and happy...I am forever grateful for that life lesson, especially since it wasn't common for a girl to learn cycling in those days..

I know there were many times when I made  my own decisions, and even though he may have preferred a different path for me (like taking engineering instead of medicine), he never asked me to change it.  I know I have hurt him whenever there were arguments in the family, mostly regarding my marriage which I don't want. However, he has never hurt me back.. I wish I could make him all happy... He really doesn't know how much I desire to.

Now, he is getting older. He is slowly losing his memory,  and doctors say he has a weak pacemaker. Despite that, he is generally healthy. I realise it's now my turn to take care of him, but I'm staying away from home, and I'm not able to do as much as I want to do.. He welcomes visitors and enjoys talking to people , even though he often forgets what he asked. There have been times when I lost my patience, repeating the same things over and over. How I wish I had inherited his patience.. He loves to travel and wants to go out and walk through the familiar streets he frequented before. However, we make him stay at home coz he had blackout on a few occasions, and we are not sure whether he can manage alone..

I know he doesn't know what a blog is and will never read this. So I can safely say what I always wanted to tell, but never did.. I love you very much and will always remain your little girl, no matter how much I grow up.. I want to thank you for what you are because that helped me become what I am. I am really sorry for all the unfulfilled dreams that you have about me..

Accha, I'm Wishing you many, many, many more healthy and happy years of life..


Richy said...

This has come pretty well.
I can see the emotions flow in your words. Good job!
ನಿಮ್ಮ blog ತುಂಬ ಚೆನ್ನಾಗಿ ಬಂದಿದೆ!!!

Dhanya said...

Thank you Richy..
Yes it was straight from heart..
And what are these in kannada??
I can't read :((

The Avenger !!! said...

here's wishing your dad a very happy birthday and like you i join in hoping he lives many many more years to come :)

Dhanya said...

Thank you Sudhir..

Unknown said...

Hey dhanya..your blog is simply great yaar..Wishing ur dad belated happy birthday...Janmadina aashamsagal :-)

Dhanya said...

Thanks a lot Smitha.. I'll tell him :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Dhanya,
That was really straight from the heart. I can understand how you feel about his unfulfilled dreams. But they are "soon" to come true. So be happy......... Your father is proud of you I know!!!

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

hi dhanya

This was so touching..I had tears in my eyes by the end... really wonderful..

Reshmi chechi

Anonymous said...

Dhanya...really heart touching..donno what to say. but I can say one thing, its really a great work you have done. You are the proud child of a proud father...keep it up.

Madhurima said...

Dearest Dhanya,
Am also a daddy's girl...and i so understand what you must have felt while writing this.
Our dads are definitely not just the first but the perfect man in our lives.
Wishing uncle many more healthy and lovely years ahead.

katturumb said...

Beautifully written!
... it did bring a tear to my eye

Archana & Darshan said...

Nice post Chechi...


Unknown said...

read it today only[after five months since you posted]...
very well written... I can very well picturise uncle [and aunty too] since I have met him during college days... I just remembered the days when I visited your home,your dog and nearby old-age home where you took me once..

Anonymous said...

Hi Dhanya

Very touching & relates a lot to our lives too. Beautifully written, I wish your Dad many more healthy and happy days to come.

Rochas (colleague of Anil Dharman)

ദീപു : sandeep said...

Really touching...

Anonymous said...

Dhanya chechi, Hope u remember me..Srividhya, junior in Eng college..I feel tears in my eyes after reading ur blog..u touched me so much chechi....i just hope u'll shed ur loneliness off from u..i wish u all happiness chechi be it whatevery way, but true happiness :-)

Sreejith said...

Beautifully written!
Your post brought in memories of my parents who were also teachers
.. the white shirt .. lunch box..
..not much distant worlds !

You writes very well and I am seriously thinking about visiting your blog more often !


Sreejith Nair

Anonymous said...

Hello Dhanya...
Read the whole thing even though I dont know who you are...but someone who has my name...Beautifully written...touching...


TBC said...

What a beautiful touching post. Very well-written!

Gaayathi said...

Nalla post ennalla enikku parayaan thonnunnathu.. athilum mele enthokkeyo... ethu valare vaikiyulla oru comment aakaam.. thante Achane enikkum othiri estamaakunnu... :)