Friday, January 16, 2009

a heavy heart

I feel it physically. I just feel like tearing my chest and pulling the lump stuck in my heart. It is very heavy, presses on my lungs and causes a lump in my throat. The pain that this ailment causes makes me want to cry... The root cause and the sole remedy of my complaint would be this man who is responsible for bringing me into this wonderful world. A man who loved me to bits and then even more. A man who lifted my spirits each time they sagged. A man who I will now meet only after I leave the world.

I wish I could give him one tight hug. That's all I crave for. Appa, I miss you badly. I want you to know it. I've seen tough times, this one is the worst for me...

Stay with me in spirit, pa. I need you to be with me through this.

Love you pa,

P.S. Everyone around is so sad because you left. Everyone. You won't believe it. But everyone misses you. You were really special. 

Monday, January 12, 2009

Kolhapuri chappals... and a quiet Bandra

I went to Bandra today to meet an old friend, to take a trip down nostalgia, to revisit haunts where my heart skipped a beat... Nothing's changed. I didn't notice anything new.Yet, I found myself shunning the place and the memories. I muttered to myself, that without the jocund company of friends, Bandra drives me crazy and to tears.

I went to my old favorite stall that sells Kolhapuri chappals. It is this unique stall that isn't lost in the commonness of the Linking Road stalls. It stands separately near Metro shoes. It doesn't have a name, yet it has it's own identity. You can't miss it. I've been coming here for close to 15 years now; initially in accordance with my shopaholic teenage sister, later on my own adventures.

I love the stall. It retains its old world style and design and yet has some new, funky ones. It is nothing but a hutment on the road selling footwear - yet there is this alluring charm to it. Owned by an old Muslim chap who wasn't sitting on his small stool when I was there; his young sons were manning the stall.

Muslims. I came by Bandra station at 5 p.m.. Usually, the mosque there is blaring the evening prayers in a nasal twang that would put Himmesh to shame. (I hope I spelt his numerologically inspired name correctly). Yes, nothing changed. Yet, a lot was different.

There was a subdued character in the air around. Bandra station and Linking road are crazy places to be around in the evening. Yet there seemed to be some order and hitherto never-seen decorum. Crowds weren't thronging at Linking - and there is always a crowd of young girls there even on Monday afternoon.

Something has changed about Mumbai. It is deceptive, only a seasoned resident can detect it. I didn't initially, then I had a glint of suspicion and the more I think about it, the more convinced I am.

People seem to be wary of lingering around for too long. Either that, or young kids really have jobs or colleges that they're attending. The latter idea though, seems highly unlikely to me.

My hometown doesn't seem to enjoy frivolous and idle activities the way it used to. New Year's celebrations were not enjoyed with the same gusto as before. The city is still mourning, still recovering from the shock of being violated. I will be going to the city tomorrow, near the Taj. I am still debating if I want to pay homage; but I argue that it might be superficial and hypocritical. I am still debating.

Baltimore entices me because if offers me quiet even in a crowd. My hometown seems to be luring me with the same idea. Although I'd love of the idea of Mumbai becoming quieter, this pregnant silence is seriously deafening... and heart-wrenching.

There is sadness at home... and there is sadness at home.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

2 weeks later...

Everyone's left. The sadness persists. Loneliness envelops. Reality is still sinking. The chair is empty without him, his stick waits for him to take it for a walk. Moksha longingly looks into our home waiting for her uncle to play with her. Santosh hesitates to cross the threshold. Anan looks for him in every surrogate grandfather and expects them to indulge her in comical antics and monkeying around - the way he entertained his daughters and granddaughter.

Yet, I feel his presence. I hear his voice waking me up in the morning promising me hot coffee. I hear him calling out my name to eat, to sit with him and talk to him, to make him rotis and to give him his medicines. I hear his loud booming voice shouting angrily at irresponsible people, muttering loudly at the pathetic state of governance. I hear him craving for his favorite foods and describing the best hotels in and around the city. I hear him pleading with me to make his fingers move freely - a plea I had no remedy for. I feel him patting my head when I lie down, trying to soothe my worries and lulling me into a deep sleep and into the realms of a utopian world. I feel his presence even though he isn't here anymore.

What he meant to me is inexplicable and verbose enunciation will only kill the feeling. I don't think anyone will even under-estimate the beautiful bond that a doting father and his daughter share. To be able to spend 25 years of my life with a man who exemplified strength, steadfastness, courage and will power is an honour that I have been bestowed with; but to spend it as the daughter of a man who loved to love is the greatest gift I have received. I think my sister will nod in agreement to this testimony. In her, I see his resilience, his strength and the innate resolve to keep things going. In her, I see his large eyes and humped nose. In her, I see his ability to forgive and love.

Appa has been the epitome of will power - and I say this again and again... and I will keep saying it all my life. He shielded us from all the sorrows and took the big blows himself, my mother keeps saying; I cannot but agree with her. He was shattered, but picked up the shards and glued them together and led us to believe that there will be a better tomorrow. But the todays were good enough for me as we were together in it. No matter how glossy tomorrow will be, Appa, it will never be as good as yesterday - for you were there yesterday, to give me hope and to give me a smile and keep me smiling. For you, I will keep smiling, we will all keep smiling; in the wonderful hope that you're smiling with us wherever you are.

Love you Daddy.
Yours forever,