When I was a little kid, my mother used to sing a song and even though I am all grown up today, the song still lingers on in my mind. I yearn to lay my head in her lap and ask her to sing that song for me. I want to listen to her melodious voice. But I cant for that song reminds her too much of my father. I know if I remind her about the song, it will only serve to open her healed wounds. The song that once gave her happiness, now reminds her of her lost love. So, I try to find solace in memories of my beloved dad. I write about our time together, the things he taught me, the jokes we shared in a diary, a secret diary.
Even though there is too much to cry about, I hide my tears from everyone, including myself. I force a smile on my weathered face every morning and pretend to be OK. But when I cant fight it any longer, when the pal of gloom threatens to descend on me, I look around at all the fatherless kids- kids who never even got to meet their fathers, kids who dont even have a single memory of their fathers. I remind myself that if these kids can smile, cant I, who has tons of memories of a loving father, smile? Cant I, who got 16 beautiful years to spend with his beloved father learn to take joys in little things of life? Every time I feel the gloom threatening to engulf me, the pain threatening to drown me, I write. I write for all the fatherless kids, kids who long to hold their fathers hand one more time, kids who pray to see their fathers face again. I write, for them and for me. I write about our time together. I write about everything we did together. I write about our happy times and sad times. I write about his unique way of expressing love and anger. I write about everything I can remember about him and then I seek solace in the ink- the ink that tells our story. A story of a doting father.
The other day someone asked me, what is your best memory so far?” The question hit me like waves of ice cold water. It dug up memories I had long since buried. Though I didnt answer the guy in question, I couldnt bottle up the sea of memories his simple question had let loose. That night when I got home, I picked up my pen to pour my heart out.
My Best Memory
What do you tell a person who asks you about the most beautiful memory you have had so far? Do you tell him how your best memory also happens to be your saddest? Do you tell him how your past reminds you of what you have lost? No, you dont because no one other than you can understand the pain and the longing those memories fill your heart with. So, you smile and simply say you cant recall your best memory and pray that he cant see the pain in your eyes. But as soon as he turns his back, your eyes brim with tears and the memories begin flooding your heart once again.
It was a pleasant afternoon. I, along with my friend, were hopelessly trying to remove the stains that walnut peelings had left on our hands since our teacher was very particular about cleanliness. My father had gone to the city. While we were unsuccessfully rubbing our hands on the hard gravel, we heard a soft tinkling sound. At first I didnt pay too much attention to it as I was too focused on getting my hands clean so that I wouldnt have to face my teachers wrath the next day. But on being poked by my friend, I turned around. It was my dad with a brand new bicycle. He was waving towards me. My happiness knew no bounds. I ran as fast as my little legs could carry me. I wasnt sure if the bicycle was for me but when my father handed it to me, I was beyond ecstatic. My dad had known all along. He had somehow read my mind and got me what I wanted. I wanted to hug him but I was too small and could hardly reach up to his legs. So I stood there silently, wringing my hands around his legs, shedding tears of joy. Dad, slowly picked me up and gently put me on the bicycle seat. I was scared, too sacred but, he wrapped in his gentle arms around me and whispered, Son, you can do it. Dont forget I am here with you. His words gave me confidence. They filled me with a new strength and vanquished all doubts and fears from my mind. My dad didnt only teach me how to ride a bicycle, he taught me how to live. He taught me to be brave and strong. He taught me how to never give up. He taught me how to be me.
Though our time in this world was quite limited but I am certain that we shall meet again. We will surely be reunited once again-me, my mother and my father and then my mothers melodious voice will once again resonate in the skies. She will once again sing the song, the same song which still lingers on in my mind.
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