It's been almost a year since you left us. On Sunday we were at Gaya, doing some rituals so that your soul is at peace. I don't know if the rationalist in you would have protested, or whether your spiritual side would have approved. However, knowing that you had conducted the same rituals for Dadu, I don't think you would have objected to it.
I also don't know where you are now. If as the rationalists say your consciousness no longer exists - or as the religious folks say your essence is somewhere, hopefully in a better place.
This letter is irrespective of that fact. This is meant for you, but I am writing it primarily for my own self. These are all the things that I learnt from you, as my father, as a friend and as a person I admired and looked up to.
- To take risks. You encouraged me after the momentous class 12 exams to explore careers off the beaten track. And then when after two and a half year of working I arrived back home, resigning from my job claiming I wanted to do something more with my life, you did not look at me incredulously but encouraged me. Sometimes I think you had more faith in me than I did in myself.
- To be selfless. In your own life you had sacrificed your studies to take the role of a father figure for your 3 brothers and 3 sisters. And they have always looked up to you for that role. And you never looked at that decision with any bitterness or rancor. No intellectualising about missed opportunities or chances. Just a duty as the eldest of the family.
- To be strict and yet encouraging. When I was growing up I was scared of you. I thought you were the scariest dad one could have. And when you did praise me I thought you were overdoing it. Whether it was about my writing skills or about the praise that my science teacher lavished on me in standard 6. Now when I look back, you ensured that I could take positive and negative news in equal measure.
And we continue to miss you.