Monday, June 1, 2009

Through my eyes..

He was a lot of things to a lot of people. To me he was Baba. Never could call him anything else. My earliest memories of him are those of him taking me to school everyday. Hand in hand we went admiring flowers and turning each cloud into a particular character. The walk to the school always felt too short.

As I grew up, he was my playmate, my riding horse, my mannequin, my patient, my student, my confidant. My childhood days were filled to the brim by his jokes and by his songs.

As an adolescent, I shared his dreams. His vivid imagery brought many an illusive and abstract notion to perfect form. His laughter was my joy. He accepted my limited talent in the subject of his choice- Mathematics. I never realised for a very long time that as my private tutor, I had the most sought after professor of Engineering at one of the most reputed colleges of our country. He always came down to my level and made maths tolerable for me.

His romanticism, love of books and people, craze for films, adda, unbelievably child like joy at spooking me and my cousins in the dark, passion for football and rabindrasangeet, his story telling, his enthusiastic praise, all find an echo in me today. So does his contentment and peace.

An ambulance on the roads blaring away always scared me stiff, till the day he said ,"An ambulance takes the critical to the hospital in a jiffy so that they can get well and return home". My perspective towards the white van changed that day. I learnt, amongst a lot of things the pleasure of laughing with others rather than at others from him. I also learnt how to hide silly tears while watching a tearjerker and mushy Hindi film!! Yes, the trick was simple, to get out of the room just a few seconds before the film ended, I do it every time, works like magic!!

I loved him and everything associated with him. But it was short lived, maybe even if I had a complete life time it would still be short. I also understand that for every child, the pain of losing a parent is heart wrenching. I saw the suffering till it was unbearable. Eventually I prayed for his release, I let him go to a cloud we had booked for him. 16 years have passed today since I bid farewell, and yet the oozing wound stays just below the skin.

Life has moved on, and has brought many a pleasure in its course. But in every moment of utter joy, I miss his presence. I wish he had seen my kids, I wish he had played with them. Today as my kids joined their hands in silent prayer before his picture, I believed it reached the solitary cloud that still looks out for me over the desert sky.