Monday, January 05, 2009

To my ultimate backroom boss

You are my biggest hero. You were my hero because you always told the best stories to put me into blissful slumber when I was five. You were my hero because you always bought plum cake on your way back home from work exactly when I was craving for it the most. You were my hero because you bought me my first cricket bat and bowled half volleys in our backyard until I was the best cover-driver in 5th std. D section. You were my hero when, just before being wheeled into the operation theater for your heart surgery, you asked about school and about India's score in the 2nd test of the West Indies in India series in 1994. I told you they got 546. You ruffled my hair, patted my cheek and said, "Good, India won't bat again and you will study. Now give me a bit, I'll be right back". You were my hero when you went to work as early as 4 in the morning, while I could never wake up before 7 for my board exams for all the coffee in Brazil. You were my hero because, the other day, I stumbled on one of your diary entries for 1982 which said, "Salary for December = Rs. 800. Savings from last month = Rs. 150. Notes - pay final instalment of home loan, buy cycle for B and saree for S." I choked up after reading that, mixed half-tears of joy, awe and pain.

I know you're battling through a frustrating time right now. I know you hate not being the usual world-beating raconteur you were. I know you hate not being able to take your favorite long morning walks. I know you hate taking those pills. I also know how hard it is for you to see this generation gap between us, which occasionally puts a terrible canyon of static between everything you and I share. But you know what the highlight of this whole year for me was? It was not my new job which is paying me better. It wasn't India winning the one-day series in Australia. It was not even me acquiring my car driving licence. It was the whole month of October. Load-shedding in full force and subsequent power cuts meant that instead of coming home from work and watching Scrubs in my room, I spent candle-lit late evenings with you and that other great lady. I might seem annoyingly caught up with my own hectic, albeit atomized life, giving time and attention to all the myriad creatures that make up my life, but I just wanted you to know, irrespective of how rarely I say it, you provide more shape and meaning in your own way to my life than most people can imagine to give.

All this while, you have silently taught me one thing - knowing my strengths and weaknesses, reading through my value messages and wanting to be different is good. Being well-grounded while being different, however, is unparalleled. So, despite all the counter-opinion, I've begun subscribing to your one-liner as a possible mantra for the new year - "In your quest to know everything, just be aware of two things; you're middle-class and you're educated."

Thanks Dad,
Tons of respect and acres of hope!
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