पापा को शब्दो में बांधना समुंद्र को अंजलि में भरने समान है मेरे पिता का जीवन, प्रेरणा और दृढ़ निश्चय का स्तोत्र महान है चश्मे के पीछे उनकी वो आंखें बड़ी भोली भाली थी और व्यक्तित्व कि गहराई, कपट से बिल्कुल खाली थी आत्मा और सोच से बोहोत उजले और तन के सांवले थे सबको खुद सा अच्छा सच्चा समझते थे, कैसे बावले थे सरल आचरण, अखंड गुण और साधारण जीवन शैली थी उनकी प्रतिभा और गरिमा की गाथा दूर-दूर तक फैली थी उनके जीवन में बोहोत दुख, बोहोत कष्ट थे आशावादी थे, और इरादों के बिल्कुल स्पष्ट थे मेरे लिए तो वही आदि, वहीं अंत, वही अनंत थे मन, कर्म, वचन, धर्म से मानो कोई साधु संत थे तीखा पसंद था, समोसे बोहोत भाते थे Diabetes थी ना, मीठा कम ही खाते थे प्रभु भक्ति और काम में बराबर विलीन थे मूझपर वात्सल्य की वर्षा करते समय असीम थे मानवता, दया और सहानभूति का उच्च उदाहरण थे उनसा नहीं कोई पुत्र, पति और पिता, वो असाधारण थे उनके बारे में मैं जितना भी लिख डालू वो कम है और आज भी उनकी स्मृतियों से मेरी आंखें नम है बड़े मीठे, सुहाने, प्यारे प्यारे नामों से पुकारते थे वो मुझे और कभी कभी तो बस बैठे बैठे यूहीं निहारते थे वो मुझे जाते जाते वो मुझे विरासत में अपना सब कुछ दे गए पर अपने साथ वो मेरे अस्तित्व का एक टुकड़ा ले गए
Missing is not a timely thing; it’s a full-time job. A 24/7/365 thing. You are never done missing someone. It becomes second nature, just like breathing, paining a little with every heartbeat. Morning you will wake up and feel blissfully ignorant for few blessed moments and then the missing part will hit you hard in the guts, and you know a perfect day just turned imperfectly bittersweet. You will be bathing and find yourself just sitting in the tub or standing in the shower, letting the water soothe your senses, in retrospection on life, a knock on the door will jerk you back to present, and you will give yourself a small mental tap “get it together, just go through the day”‘
Getting dressed and making a scavenger hunt through your cupboard and you found the old sweater he so loved on you, and you pick it and feel it in your hands, feel its texture, try to relive that moment in time. You rub the sleeves on your cheeks and then sigh as you keep it back in the corner so that it won’t come back in your hands anytime soon. Sitting at the breakfast table and you are just served a toast that’s a bit burnt, and without any prefix you see him sitting in the chair opposite you, grimacing as he looks at the burnt toast and making a face like attempting to eat it. You laugh, and suddenly you realise you are alone in the kitchen, no one is here. You finish your breakfast in automation as food is needed to live. You lock your home thinking you locked his memory in there as well, but as soon as you bring your car to a stop on that red signal, you realise he has followed you and is sitting in the passenger seat next to you, his hand on the gear over yours, smiling at you in that quirky way with the corner of his lips curled up in a smile. The cars lined behind you honk, your stupor is broken, the signal has turned green, and you are still immobile, you shrug him away and get on with it.
You pull over in front of your workplace, and his favourite song plays on the radio, you switch it off, but he holds your hands and pulls you closer for one goodbye kiss, and you know it can keep you warm all day long, a colleague comes and taps your window, you are snapped from that alternate reality and give one longing look at the radio as you close it and move on. The work consumes you all, completely and it’s such a relief, you got no time, and he got no time to get you to himself. He sits back waiting for his chance to pounce you again. Lunch break it is, and your phone rings and your heart leaps that it’s him before you realise it can’t be him and you let the phone ring as you hear his voice in your ear as he whispers sweet nothings, telling you all things good and bad about his day. The caller disconnected, the silence broke your reverie, and you called back.
You are back home and at your doorstep, and you unlock the door, and the house is so silent, so quiet, you fall back on the couch, and take off your shoes, and there he is again, bringing you a cup of coffee he made for you, just like the way you like it. You trance broken as you see the coffee machine blink and you head back to change, taking off the 9-5 minimalist jewelry, and you open the drawer, but he was already waiting for you in there, making you yearn for him as you see the ring he forgot sitting in the drawer, you pick it up, wear it, feel how it snuggled around your finger and place it back in the drawer and shut it close with a bang, annoyed at him, annoyed at yourself.
In the kitchen you are making yourself a dinner when he sneaks on you and hugs you from behind, you close your eyes as he rests his chin on your shoulder and kisses the nape of your neck. You tell his memory to leave you alone, but it won’t, he was always so resilient. Like a robot you go through the whole dinner making and eating ritual as he smiles at you from the kitchen counter, sitting on it, making sexy, funny, sad faces, trying to get your attention. Time for bed and your close your bedroom door shut, and snuggle into your bedding, patting your back that you went through one more day. But he won’t let you be, he is under your blanket, scooting close to you at once, embracing you and entwining his fingers in yours, kissing your lips softly, running his fingers through your hair. But now you are so exhausted by ignoring him all day long that you allow his memory to make love to you as silent tears fall from your eyes and wet your pillow.
Finally, comes sleep and you are happy that its oblivion, unconsciousness. NO, you were wrong, he isn’t done with you yet, he is there in your dreams, beckoning you, singing, dancing, picking you up and spinning you around till you feel giddy. You laugh, you laugh hysterically till you cry, hard body rocking sobs and you get up startled, heart beating hard, soaked in sweat, tears in your eyes. You bury your face in your knees as you know that he won’t leave you.HE LOVES YOU TOO MUCH TOO LEAVE YOU ALONE; YOU LOVE HIM TOO MUCH TO LET HIM GO. You place your head on his lap and close your eyes as he rocks you to sleep, just to wake up next day and go through the same routine.
I am writing this letter to you and writing just because I need to pen down my feelings; I need to let my thoughts on paper, or they claw me from inside. You are sacred to me Papa. I can never have a better god. A religion where You and I, we both are dedicated to each other. You have now left that body, the body I learned to love all my life. The hands that caresses my hair, wiped my tears, held me in my times of need, embraced me to shower immense love, fed me when my hand was broken, even tied my shoe laces before school every morning, wish I could hold them once again and hide my face in your palms like old times. There was never a better touch than your loving caress. I learned to cherish your eyes, that saw me as the perfect daughter; I was beautiful even with acne and pimples to your eyes.
The eyes I miss so much, so many tears I saw in them, that would well up at my slighted wound, be it to my body or heart. I wish to look into your eyes once again and kiss them; they are my two worlds. I miss your shoulders you know, on which I could rest my head and feel like all the pain washed away, in them I would hide from all the world and you would let none see me, harm me. I am still hallowed by your voice; that is still echoing in my voice, solemnly living in my soul. I miss the laughter in your voice and the way you scolded me in front of mum, just for the heck of it, My Goodness, so fake it used to be and made us conspirators against her. I so want to hear that voice once again papa; I so want to have that one more talk. I so want to hug you and hug you so bad.
You called me pious, after you, no one thought I am pious, you called me Angel, I have never felt like one after you. You made me your religion and your sanctuary, I have lost my god with you, never again my heart found peace. I touch your glasses and try to find your eyes behind them, but it’s just plastic, I kiss your watch wanting to feel your wrist in it, but no, it’s just metal. Your perfume bottle is till secure with me, and you know, I spray it sometimes, just in my room and close my eyes, trying to imagine that you are here, and for a moment, just for the time being, I fabricate you from pieces and feel your presence.
Why am I drafting this letter, I don’t know, but what I do know is it will reach you, I want to say so many things Papa, I am so desperate for you sometimes, just that one phone call. You remember how many times you told me that Papa is just a phone call away, Oh why then I can’t reach you on your number. I still have it, I call it sometimes, and despite all my wisdom your little girl who lives in me says “Pick Up”, haha, wasn’t I always a little foolish Papa ? I still remember the day of that Earthquake, you remember I was scared, and you told me, that you would shield me but let no harm come to me, I so miss my shield. You know I eat the things you loved, even lot of green chillies, thinking that you live in me somewhere and I might feel satiated by doing all this. Why Papa, why is body temporary when we are taught to love it for years upon years.
You know numerous times I have seen Mum miss you, but she never shows, she hides her pain from me, Yet I am her daughter and can see through her fake smiles, the unshed tears. Let me confess; I have not been the best daughter to her. I have not even taken care of her like you used to do, in fact, she is the one who took care of me all this time. I was always partial to you, always loved you more, I haven’t done justice to the woman who gave me this life and nurtured me within her body for nine while months, and has been nurturing me ever since. She is a pillar of strength Papa, you won’t know how bravely she held things together, I am very ungrateful to her you know, but you always knew. We still fight a lot you know, the only difference is that now we patch up on our own since we are aware you won’t come to mediate. I am sorry as I didn’t even keep the promise I gave to you on your last evening with me. It is a tough task you left me; I am so sorry.
I know you have broken the laws of nature to get back to me in ways no one will comprehend. In my dreams, in my friends, in things I do or say. You know I look for shades of you in all I meet, but you were Great, none is like you, none at all. I was a princess to you always, but you are my king too, now I tell you what I lack, what I need, and before I know it, you help me in mysterious ways. You have proven your presence to me in so many ways, and I know you will always be with me. I know you know all my heart’s desire, but I have learned things you know. Learned to make my way, learned to survive without dependence, learned to fall and get up myself. I have held onto your memories with both hands and trying to move ahead. Life has moved on like all told me it will, I don’t cry that much now, like all said I will, but you know, one thing they told wrong, that Time heals all wounds, IT DOES NOT! It is just that we learnt to adapt and evolved as per the situation. Now I firmly believe that what doesn’t kills you makes you stronger. I can’t say enough how much I miss you. But I know you know that I MISS YOU!
Sometimes I wish you were not that good; I might not have missed you so much, but you were so good, a great Father. Never you laid a hand on me, never you scolded me, and whenever you did, I would encash on the coaxing and cajoling that followed a few minutes later. Always you would say a Goodbye and then come back for another Goodbye, just to make sure nothing was left unsaid, but not this last time. You know you went without a Goodbye, and I am still waiting for it. I still hear your car come to a halt at the gate; I still hear your footfalls around the house. I still look into your briefcase to find scraps of your handwriting. I still got your pen and your ties and your shoes. I touch your shoes when I need your blessings, they still got the shape of your feet. Life is long, and there is still lots of time left in our reunion, but know that I carry you in my heart. Make this journey with me Papa; I so need you.Till then I will wait for the day I get to see you again. Promise me you will take me in your arms like you used to do when you were back from tours.
I Love You, Today, Tomorrow and Always, Forever and Ever
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