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13 Apr
2017
It Takes One To Know One.
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Dear Father, I Hope You Are Proud Of Me Wherever You Are.

‘Father’, ‘Dad’... We feel pleasure when we say these words. It brings peace. It brings happiness. It brings care to our minds. The importance of a father cannot be expressed in words by the one he provides care for.

I’ve lost my father. I am probably never going to be able to call anyone by that word again. In this post, I’ll tell you about my father, how he died and how I feel about it - before and now.

CHAPTER ONE

As I look back it’s funny how my father took up such little space. I just can't seem to get over it.

He had never been large but he always had a thick bear-like solidity.  My father was the sort of man who could block a doorway. He could do anything. Whenever he would start something he would always see it through.

The drive to attain success drove him and gave his eyes a weird little spark. 

I asked him one day, '”Why chase success now? Shouldn’t you have started when you were young?”

He replied with a smile, “Success doesn't require an age.”

He had made a name for himself. When we, his family, were outside people would say, “Look, there goes Subhashis Roy's son, wife, father, mother.”

I was given a free reign. I wasn’t pressured to study. He just told me that when I actually do something I must do it out of my own interest. I must never do anything forcefully or the result will never be good.

He never did anything without me. He always brought me something on his way home from the office. 

He cared for me and always made sure I was on the right track. I am a Mathematics lover and I owe it all to him. His passion for Mathematics was immense.

He was awesome and really cool. 

It was 2014 and the month was October i.e. Durga Puja month. My dad was over- enthusiastic during the Puja days. He was super energetic.

We celebrated Kali Puja in our house and my father was always over-indulgent with his participation. It was wonderful seeing my workaholic father taking days off a week.

That year my father did the same and promised that this year it will be extra special. All of us were very excited.

When the day finally arrived, my dad woke me up and told me to get ready as we had to go and pick up my mother.

Every year I went with my dad to buy the statue of the goddess. It was the same that year too. I was pumped up.

I went with my dad on his bike. We went to the shop and came back with everything before midday.

I believe I am a good observer. I don't know why, but, I kept looking at my father the whole time. He was behaving differently. He was doing things he normally wouldn’t do.

He never served anything. That day, for the first time in my life, I saw my father serving lunch to everyone.

He was a different person that day. His smile felt so different, as if, he was enjoying the day to the fullest.

I dozed off in the afternoon. In the evening when I woke up, I saw my father patting my head. I asked him what happened. He just smiled and kept doing what he was doing.

I ignored it.

That day, he even let my mother use the television – even though it clashed with when his favourite movie came on. That was really unexpected.

We laughed about it.

CHAPTER 2

Every year, my maternal grandparents came to visit us during the Puja. After the day’s festivities got over my father dropped them home.

I went to meet my friends. Just when I was returning home with them I saw our car surrounded by many many known faces.

One of them was my mother. As I came close I saw my father sitting on the driver seat and the car’s door was half opened.

I realized that he was feeling uncomfortable. Mother was extremely concerned. He wasn’t saying anything.

He just kept quiet and nodded his head. I guess he was just trying to tell us – Everything was fine.

Mother told me to bring his medicines as she thought he was having trouble breathing. When I came back, I saw that they had left and mother was standing there. She told me that they thought that the matter couldn't be left alone, so they decided to admit him to the hospital.

She told me to go directly to the hospital with the medicines. When I was on my way I saw my cousin Didi coming back with a very panic stricken face.

She saw me and asked me to come with her to the hospital. The hospital was a few yards away.

I asked her, “Did anything happen?”

All she could manage was, “It will all be fine.”

I didn't say anything. I reached the hospital and Didi told me to wait outside.

I waited patiently. I saw many relatives rushing inside but I, very surprisingly, didn't move an inch. I still don't understand why I didn't go in.

I waited for nearly an hour. Finally, I saw someone I knew. My uncle came out calling somebody.

I went towards him and asked, “Is everything alright?”

He hugged me and said, “Tor baba aar nei re.” ( Your father is no more! )

My heart broke into a million pieces right then. The medicine box slipped from my hand. I lost my balance and fell down on the road.

Tears weren’t really rolling down but I felt an uncanny pain in my heart. I got up and ran towards the entrance. My Didi and aunt were crying.

They tried to come and hug me but I ignored them and went inside the ill-fated ‘Cabin 6’ and saw my father on the hospital bed.

He looked peaceful. I called him many times. No response. Then a loud voice came from somewhere within me and I screamed at the top of my voice – Father.

I couldn't control my tears. Didi rushed in to hug me. I was devastated. I felt broken. I felt like I was an orphan.

I couldn't control myself. I’d never cried like that before. It is really hard to explain this.

My only thought –

1) What will I tell my mother?

2) How will she react?

3) Would she be able to control herself?

I came back home leaving everyone behind. Everyone was telling me, “You have to be strong. Who will look after your mother?”

As hard as I tried nothing really made sense - Why do I have to be strong in the first place? What did I do to have to go through this? I didn't deserve this.

I came back. Mother and other relatives asked, “What happened? How is he?”

I couldn't tell them. I said, “He is fine. He is coming back.” I went upstairs and didn't say anything.

After a while, he did come back. Wrapped in a white shroud. They carried him to our room and kept him on the bed. Cries filled the room. It was hell. I couldn't breathe properly. I decided not to go downstairs.

But, the thought of my mother made me.

I saw her smiling and patting my father's head. I asked her, “What are you doing?”

She told me to keep quiet. She mumbled in a soft voice, “He is sleeping. He didn’t get enough sleep. Let him.”

I realized that she wasn’t thinking straight and was so emotionally distressed that she was on the verge of losing it.

After a long waited hour she somehow regained her composure. She hugged me and gave in to her emotions.

Sometimes, crying does help. I was slightly relieved to see her come back and take control of whatever was happening. I cried as well.

At that moment, I started doing things that I hadn't done in my entire life. I suddenly felt like the “grown up man” my father always wanted me to be.

At day's end, we had to go for the funeral. When dad was being taken to the pyre I couldn’t take it anymore and fainted. When I came back to my senses I was on my sister’s lap.

I got up and started walking alone towards the river close by. I stood there and started crying. At that moment I shouted with all my might, “Father, wherever you are, please be safe. Don't worry about me or mother. I will take care of her. I promise you I will become the great human being you had always wanted me to be.''

CHAPTER 3

Through this piece, I wanted to tell you guys about my father, how important he was to me and how you never really know what you have until it’s gone. Now, it's 2017 and it's already been 3 years since he left us.

Yet, it feels like it has been ages since he left. He was and will always remain my role model. I still feel that void and emptiness knowing that my father is not beside me but the very thought that he is there somewhere looking over us, pleases me.

I hope he will be very happy knowing that I am trying my best every day. Thank you father, for everything you have done for me.

I love you, dad. Still.              

*****                 

Note - If you could connect to his story don't forget to reach out. Remember it takes one to know one.

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