It came suddenly.
I was in the mobile accessories store, and a teenage girl was there with her father, choosing headphones. Her father prevented her from buying the small ones which go right into the ear-holes, for he thought they affect the ear drums more directly. Anyway, I quite liked the whole scene, the pink-over-black hassle and all. However, it struck me then that it had been 13years since I had been out with my father to a shop. While he was there, he made me feel like a princess. And it’s all because of him, that I still have the confidence to call myself one even 13years after his death. He has somehow instilled the faith in me that the world is a good place, with just a few bad people in it. We can’t give up on the good just because the bad are mixed with them. He taught me to chew with my mouth closed, not to talk while eating, say “thank you” and “sorry”. He taught me a thousand more simple things which have made me the person I am today.
I have just one photo with him. As a newborn. Otherwise, he was the photographer of the family, so it was tough to get into the same frame with him. Who would click the photo if the photographer is himself posing? Anyway, I think I am secretly happy that I have just that one photo with him. The most innocent one. He is looking at the camera, laughing, and I am wrapped in a red woolen blanket in his lap. I don’t look particularly pretty there, and he was in the late 1980’s style. But it’s probably the most beautiful photo I have been in.
As of now, no one has been able to fill his shoes. Pretty big shoes they are! Somehow, everyone falls short – well short – of filling up his position even to a certain extent, if not completely. And when I see girls around me, happy with their fathers, I can’t say that I don’t feel jealous. After all, what was the 12year old girl’s fault that she had to lose her father to a stupid heart attack? I have been raised as perfectly as I could have asked for, single-handedly by Maa. And she has done it all to keep me from feeling his absence. But a girl misses her father. It’s only natural. Especially when he was such a hell of a man!
While I was, I was a very possessive daughter. Would never let anyone get near my father. A classic Electra I was – or may be, I still am! That possessiveness has now been dispersed for some of my very close people, like my BFFs. And they bear the trouble amazingly!
Now that he is not here, and I have only a handful of memories, I wonder how my life would have been had he been alive. I know one thing for a fact that he wouldn’t have spoilt me. He had immense patience – never scolded a brat like me in my then life of 12years! He was an amazing cook. Back in the early 1990’s, he would cook chicken roast with lemon zest and momo for us. He was an amazing craftsman too! Someday, I will post a photo of the doll’s house he had single-handedly built for me. He was on his way to finish a children’s park, when it happened…
I remember an incident when I was in a cosmetics store with him. I saw this big palette of very colourful eye-shadows and lip-colours and asked him to buy it for me. This was somewhere in 1992. The price was Rs.150 back then, which would easily come up to something like Rs.900-1000 going by today’s rates. He asked me to promise him that I won’t use them, as they are bad for my skin. I promised him, and he got me the set! I mean, why buy the set if it won’t be used? Well, Maa was furious, to say the least!
By the way, he used to get extremely upset if Maa would beat me. He would always make me understand, as if I was some grown up.
I cling to his memories, because somewhere in my heart, I know that he is alive in them. As I used to live with my maternal side of the family while my parents lived in Bhutan, I got to see my father only twice or may be thrice a month. And, in the holidays. So, may be I got only 4years with him in total, if you count the days. But they are the most special 4years of my life. people tell me that he would have been proud to see me now. I wish he could see me though.
Sometimes, I know I would give up anything to have him back in my life. And yet…