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.