Happy Birthday Papa!

Some memories from the years gone by..

Some memories from the years gone by..

My dear Papa,

Happy 60th Birthday!

It’s a big one this year and I wanted to write a letter to you today. I know I have not written to you for as long as I can remember but so what? A letter is good anytime. 🙂 Today evening, when you will login to check your mails, you will see this post and this will hopefully be a better birthday wish than my few words in the morning. Like what I said over the call, I want to wish you a very healthy and happy year ahead through this post as well.

It seems just like yesterday when C and I would step out a day before your birthday to buy you an audio cassette of Madhuri Dixit’s movie from our pocket-money or we would find the latest Jagjit Singh’s album for you. The one that you had planned to get recorded at that shop in Chowk.  And how you would smile and say, “Thank you, this was not required”.

Today is a day to tell you how much I have learnt from you and how this learning never stops. You amaze me with your awareness on almost everything possible and how I know you are so honest in everything you do and say. So much so that many a times, I am worried in that in this big bad world, how do you trust so easily?

I have learnt from you that staying positive in all situations gives us the confidence to brave through whatever comes our way. Whether it was my jaundice when I was appearing for standard twelfth examinations or my failure at the IIT JEE, you were always there to tell me to look for a silver lining. You gave me the confidence to move to Noida for engineering, to come to Bangalore for my first job, to again go back to college and all cos that was what I wanted to do. You never accompanied me to settle me down in a new city while fathers of other friends did. You never got my reservation tickets done when there was no online ticketing. You always told me how to fill the form and get it done on my own. You taught me to depend on my own self and no one else. I always complained that my parents never came to visit me when I was in Nagpur for two years but which other parent had that kind of rock solid trust to never visit and believe in all that I did?

I have learnt from you that books are the best gifts. When you used to return from the Indian History Congress or your stay at IIAS, Shimla, your suitcase used to be loaded with books for us. Ruskin Bond, Rabindranath Tagore, audio cassettes from Shanti Niketan and so many other things of value. That time I used to wonder why Mum gets clothes and we get books. Now I know if I hadn’t got those books I would not have known who wrote “Where is mind is without fear, and the head is held high. ” and what it means when I was a teenager. Through your gift of New Year diaries and note books, I knew that you were encouraging us subtly to put our thoughts to writing.

I have learnt from you that food should not be wasted and what’s on our plate should be finished. Even if it is not good to taste, it can still find a way to the tummy. I have learnt from you that if someone comes home, they should not leave hungry. Like you, I like offering lunch and dinner and even though I don’t cook on a regular basis, I don’t mind cooking when people drop by suddenly. Like you, I can survive on rice and non-veg is the best thing ever. Like you I am open to experiment various cuisines and I tend to over indulge.

I can’t forget that late evening of December 6, 1992 when we were playing outside and there was a power cut. There were some guests at home and you and mum were inside when there was a sudden commotion in the colony. The news of Babri Masjid demolition came and in no time, C and I were on a terrace along with some older boys who escorted us there to bang plates and rolling pins. C and I thought it was a game and we were having fun with so many other children. Suddenly, I heard you calling my name very loud. So loud that I knew I had done something wrong. We ran down and this was the first time I saw you angry. I had tears in my eyes not knowing what I had done but then you took us both in the living room and told us what had happened. You told us that our actions on the terrace meant that we were happy with the demolition of the mosque and that’s when I understood what I had done. I cannot be happy with a place of God being demolished. I don’t care if there was a temple before or a mosque or who owns that land. I don’t care if it is in Ayodhya or Agra. Babri masjid was the place where God resided and when it was blown up, it was not right. I understood that I am not a Hindu or a Muslim and that I have no religion. I am an Indian and no Indian can take pride in such acts of shame.

I have learnt so much from you that all that cannot be summed here on this one post. On your birthday, I want to tell you how lucky I am to be born as your daughter. How lucky I am, that I had you to watch my back when I needed you the most. How lucky I am to have your genes and like you I love to read and write. I also want you start writing regularly. I want you to do all that you wanted to do when you were 30. Life is too short to wait for retirement and like you wanted me to step out of my comfort zone and experience the world, I want you to do two things everyday – write and take a walk. I want to share your posts like you share mine with everyone. I want good health for you so that you never have to depend on any one.

Papa, this day is special and I want you to know how much I love you and how much I miss seeing you every single day. I left home when I was 17 so my connection has not been physical but one that’s of the hearts. I don’t come home to see Mum and you that often but sitting on my couch writing this, my heart is in that lobby where you are having tea and reading this.

Happy Birthday Papa! May this day bring the best always!

Lots of Love

R

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  1. Pingback: My love for jalebi that knows nothing - happiness and food

  2. This is truly a beautiful post dear 🙂 A very beautiful letter 🙂 I loved the way you wrote about the beautiful things that you learnt from your father or the things that were passed on to you as legacy 🙂 And I liked brothers comment too 🙂 his comment added a charm to this wonderful post 🙂

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  4. OMG! This is my dad minus the books part. He never had to buy me books I was too busy doing that to myself all the time 😀 he kept on insisting I play outside 😀 yeah nerd that I was 😛

    I am so happy I could read about both your parents what a wonderful introduction it has been to them through you 🙂

  5. friends two quotations have changed me and made lasting impression on me and that is relevant to the present context i mean this post. they are as follows:
    1.Having children makes you no more a parent than having a piano makes you a pianist
    – Michael Levine
    2.There are only two lasting bequests we can hope to give our children. One of these is roots, the other, wings
    – Hodding Carter

    i am thankful to you all for the kind words on my birthday and of course parul’s blog and siddhartha’s comment thereupon
    badri nath

  6. So sweet.
    Happy birthday to your dad, Parul. I bet you made it an ultra-special birthday with this super-special post. 🙂
    I hope you are doing well.

  7. अपने पिता के साठवें जन्म दिन पर एक बेटी ने उनको पत्र लिखा जिसमें बताया कि आपने हमें किस तरह ढाला….
    पारुल, तुमने हद कर दी…. खास तौर पर बाबरी विध्वंश पर तुम्हारी सहज प्रतिक्रिया…. वाह! वाह!!

  8. Happy birthday to your Dad, Parul. Even if you hadn’t shared these lovely memories of him, it’s obvious that your parents have done a fine job of raising you to be a wonderful young woman! May your wishes (and your brother’s) for him come true!

  9. What a love-filled letter from a loving daughter! Best wishes for your father and the entire family. A daughter’s relation with her father is always so special.

  10. Wonderfully captured! You both should be proud of each other 🙂 The values we get from home are the building blocks of the society.

  11. It was my mum’s birthday yesterday.. And I got her a gift by breaking my piggy bank.. And then she said the same thing that your dad said.. That the gift was not needed.. Maybe all parents say that?

    But then, that’s the thing about parents. They get us to be strong and independent individuals and make our mark in society. There’s hardly any way we can repay them entirely. These small gifts, which bring a smile on their face, is the humblest and best possible way in which we can bring a little happiness and sweetness to their life! And in a way, it makes us feel a little happy about being able to make them happy.. The very same thing that they have been doing since the day we were born!

    Happy belated birthday to your dad, Parul! 🙂

  12. I am so touched by this post Parul. A very happy and healthy birthday to your dad. The way our fathers take care of us inexplicable! I was thinking about my dad all the time reading this post 🙂 Thank you for sharing 🙂

    Cheers

  13. That was touching! Indeed we learn so much from our fathers that we can’t even think of summing up in a single post! Lovely letter! 🙂

  14. Parul, this was the most touching post I’ve read in a long time. The right values taught young will definitely make us better people.Though I do not know your father personally, please convey my regards to him. May other parents learn these values and pass them on!

    • Thank you so much Preethi for your kind words. I will convey your wishes. And you are right – values are to taught early on in life. That’s when they stay!

  15. Such a lovely post Parul. Brought in a smile and so much along. Many thanks for sharing 🙂 Happy b’day wishes from me 🙂 A wonderful post indeed. He must be proud, so proud!

  16. That’s a lovely post. You made me emotional. I lost my father 7 years ago and when I read this, I so related to this, especially the mention that he did not book the tickets and taught you to fill up the forms. That’s exactly what my dad did as well. Wonderfully written.
    Many hearty wishes to your dad and wishing him a long, happy, healthy life and expecting to read his posts soon.

  17. Very nice article. True reminisce of those times which only we two can share and bask again in. These memories can only surface out on occasions as today.

    Though it might be that initially we started off with audio cassettes of papa’s choice, but in the later years, if you remember, we decided it’s better to gift what we like for ourselves. Audio cassettes of Wajood & Taal movies are two such that I remember. A gift would still mean a gift to papa besides satisfying our ulterior motives too. But good that papa did not reciprocate the same when our birthdays arrived. I mean how far is November from July – just a matter of months & imagine getting a full year subscription of economic and political weekly on your birthday!!

    Anyways, books are not what I consider as gift that came from him. It’s a legacy infact. Books were always there, no matter which corner we hid in B-11. But yes, the reading habit is the gift. Too less peers got that from their fathers’ despite their fathers being in teaching profession– at least no one that I know of & along with that reading habit came the gift of patience. Or was it through genes? Confusion here.

    Not wasting food is a gift; a true gift– till date I am not able to leave the plate without finishing everything. Sometimes even to the detriment of my tummy. And another is filling up each and every bottle and bucket to the brim. Though I cry out when I see papa doing that when I go home, surprisingly I too do it without fail. Apple never falls far from the tree.

    That babri mosque is a good one – I pretend to not remember but I do. Sometimes I feel guilty too about that. But then I console myself saying to myself that I was too young. You too. Don’t worry sis. If I would have seen my kid doing that I would have pushed him off the terrace. But you know- had those incidences never happened, we would never have known true meaning of secularism. Indirectly Papa taught this very well. And papa, I still remember, what you used to say about that – that how a nation actually is, can be best judged by how it treats its minorities.

    Things that we both remember from those days & in reflections later on have made us what we are today. Never realized then but can see now.

    Best wishes on your 60th birthday dearest Papa. I can understand you must be missing more audio cassettes but the era has gone now. It’s the downloading age & you are much better in that than me.

    Unlike didi I would want rather different return gift from you. It is that I want you to do those things that you and mummy could not due to the responsibility of raising us. Things / activities you missed because of us; time that could have been spent together between you and mummy, with friends, with colleagues. Go find time for your self – see and experience things that you both have only read about so far. Spending long vacations / going on a foreign tour every year, exploring… I do not like you two coming to Delhi / Bangalore each year on your vacations. Besides you have seen and know well both these cities. Go further now. Kids have got their share and always will be there for you. But it’s not necessary to spend your entire vacation with us. Go see the worId. I liked this year better than others due to Goa happening. But that was fluke. Don’t deny it.

    And spend more on yourself, get an ipad, the one you like at phupha’s place, get a dog for mummy , join a club.

    School fees, uniform, books, tuition fees etc for di & me – those routine monthly expenses are long gone. It should be us covering your monthly expenses now. And keep aside your own money only for indulgence. That’s how it should be. Both of you have devoted enough time to us – now is the time to think about yourself. Nahi toh kab!!

    • I believe you are Paruls younger brother . You write Blogs better than her 🙂 I was more moved by your Blog than your Dis . Parul Incidentally it is your Sis who Reviewed my first Book on short stories : Journey from Guwahati to Machhiwara . Do read if you have the time. Parul please don’t mind if I said that your Bro wrote better Blog than you . Probably you taught him how to write .

    • Thanks Laurel. Here is this post is a section where I’ve mentioned an incident that happened in India in 1992 and it was a lesson on secularism for me and my brother.

  18. That’s such a beautiful and a heart warming tribute to your dad on his birthday, Parul! Your love for him is shining through your words. And I am sure he must be so touched and felt so proud of you as he read this letter from that lobby. Best wishes to your dad from me too. Cheers ♥

  19. Salgirah Mubarak Uncle, Happy Birthday 🙂
    Parul, what a lovely dedication, awesome 🙂