It’s almost twenty one years since Appa left us. He left home never to return back when a tragic accident snatched him away from us .When a hale and hearty , lovable , one’s hero , a very active person suddenly leaves us it’s very very difficult to digest and come to terms with the sudden loss .
Two decades ago I was not even aware that something called ” father’s day” is celebrated world wide.
There are so many things I fondly remember about my first hero in life. He was a self made man. Coming from a very humble family background he worked very hard to rise to a very high position in the corporate world. There was a fire in his belly to excel in whatever he chose to do. He was very meticulous , dynamic and a very honest man.
My parents have given me a wonderful childhood and I have umpteen number of beautiful memories of my growing up years. Although he was strict and a disciplinarian, he was also very friendly , loving and caring. He wanted his daughters to shine in academics and be an all rounder in other activities too. He introduced us to badminton, carrom board, tamil film songs, devotional light music, good movies, books, gardening, table tennis, access to library, photography, chanting shlokas, travel, comfortable journeys by road, rail and air. He taught us to ride a bicycle and the two wheeler. Whenever we took part in extra curricular activities he helped us in drafting with the poem recitations, speeches and debates.
There was never a dull moment with Appa around.He was a good singer, was good in drawing, appreciated good prose, poetry, music and dance. He would also enact some bharatnatyam songs with his hand gestures and facial expressions and would try to explain the meaning behind the beautiful lyrics. I still remember his all time favourite bharatnatyam dance song ” madhavi pon mayilal” sung by T.M. Soundararajan. He introduced us to the world of tamil music through T.M. Soundararajan and poet Kannadasan’ s songs which were rich in meaning.
He was an all rounder for us who guided us at every step in life.
He had travelled around the globe and believed in ” be like a Roman in Rome”. Coming from an orthodox south Indian family his views changed because of being posted to different places within the country
Whenever we visited a new city he would take interest in showing us around the city. The two things he was particular about were rising up early in the morning and scoring good marks. We as kids would often grumble about it . He believed in the power of education and wanted his girls to scale heights. I could see the pride in his eyes for his daughters whenever we won a competition, secured admission in a good college, came out with flying colours in exams.
We had lots of Jasmine flowers in our garden. He would personally pluck the flowers with so much care for us. Amma would string it for us to be pinned on the hair.He always helped my Amma in kitchen and in few household chores. Once in a while he would cook and let Amma relax. We are a family of three daughters and since we always saw our Appa lending a helping hand to Amma, the very concept of boys or males not helping in household activities was alien to me and my sisters. We have been fortunate enough to have a beautiful upbringing and we were always given the freedom to express our views.
Appa was religious and had immense faith in the Almighty. After he met with the tragic accident we were very very angry with God. Circumstances they say change a person. Me and my two sisters started questioning so many things. After facing the turmoil and tough times along with Amma, we in a way have become less emotional when we see people cribbing for trivial issues. We started questioning some of the superstitious rituals that are followed. Yes, maybe people think that we are outspoken and not as submissive as girls are expected to be.
Appa passed away within six months of my marriage. It was a big blow. Newly wed girls normally celebrate all the festivals with so much enthusiasm within the first year of marriage . Somewhere the looking forward to celebrate festivals lost charm within me. He could never play with his grandkids too.
It took time to come out of it. I still have a letter that I wrote to him in heaven , a year or two after he left us informing him about how we are dealing with life without him. I realized that at least I could enjoy and experience the relation of a father till my early twenties. There are so many in this world who might not be as fortunate as I was . I reconciled myself taking it as God’s plan.
Memories are finally what is left behind . Thankyou God for blessing me with such lovely parents. I firmly believe that my Appa is blessing and guiding me in each and every step in life. I hold him close within my heart and he will remain there to walk with me throughout my life until we meet again.