Father

 

my father passed away on Saturday, 22 Jan.

You taught me to write.Well you tried your best to make me write as neat and as clear as your writing. That was not the only thing your attempts, time, energy and hopes went wasted on me, which when you realised you declared that your daughter was like a military man who could not be made afraid, without which the disciplining was difficult.  We wrote letters to each other when I was studying away from home. We have hardly stayed together. And whenever we did, we only clashed.  Do you know I do have a wague memory of me living with you in Calcutta where I, as you proudly recall often that I brought coffee for you when you were working? I have some hazy memory of the house we lived (the big tree in our backyard), where exactly you (or was it me?) hid the big long stick (under the bed in case you can not recollect now) which you used when disciplining me and using the long uuthukuzhal  to make the kitchen tap a nice pumpset type for your little daughter to have a water play time… I was only four they say.

You were not a regular father in other households. I was ashamed of you for a long time. It took me the western exposure to make me realise that you were an extra ordinarily brilliant and a misfit man in your social environment. Will you believe me that I do acknowledge that it was you who sent me to Engineering education by going against everyone in the family? Do you know I proudly introduce you to my friends by telling the letter you wrote to MGR, then Chief Minister, and got our money successfully refunded and sent to us? You never got to know how proud I am of you, as how proud I am  not of you was so overriding.  It took my husband and the two children of my own to teach me that it is okay to feel wanting to abandon everything including children, especially children. You know what, I have started to believe that it runs in the family. First your father, then you and now me! Your father lived alone for a while before he died and it was a similar story with you too. I am now worried that it is going to be me now. Or is it that I am beginning to accept it? Wouldn’t that be worrying!  When the society is not easy on you men folks that you did not have the option to stay at home, cook for everyone and call yourself the sacrificial soul. You were expected to earn, be responsible,  think about the future, save money, plan for children’s marriages and their future. All you wanted was to have some fun, when that was portrayed as being irresponsible, you became highly irresponsible and started to mind your own and your own only, your own life and fun only! I just wish you had a little bit of caring feeling and protective feeling for your children, just a little, like what you showed me the last two times.

I fear death. I do. Just not mine. Just about those on whom my life depends or those whose deaths will have an impact on my life. I guess that was the reason I never feared yours and never thought it would be you who would be leaving us soon.  My children would have loved your company. You loved them and showed it well too. You told my son that his mother could not be frightened even by a ghost whereas he was afraid of little leaves and little plants. I wish you could be here to tell him when he can understand and make him stronger. It is a big loss for them! I would never feel a  loss of a father as I never had one in the true sense. You were just a namesake father.  But I will miss you. Strangely, I have quit Kombai and everything, after your leaving! And Kombai was not even your home town! You were always reminded, well, I was always reminded that we were outsiders there. But I heard that you were given a good final send off. I am glad I was not there to mess that up.

Goodbye. You had it very good. I am happy that you did not suffer, not just in the way you departed, but also in your last days. You were very lucky. You had a very good closure in every aspect. I am very happy for the way things were all good for you. Goodbye now. May you rest in peace!

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38 years of debt

I generally do not ask my mother for anything. But later I complain that she didn’t care for me and she wasn’t there when I needed her. Now that I am pregnant I think it is her duty and my claim that she comes and slaves in my kitchen and waits on me. Nope, the unlucky me has to lose out this time as well, that my sis-in-law is also pregnant and my mother has to be there to slave in her kitchen and wait on her (which she has been doing otherwise also). 

Me being the eldest, the most responsible, the most selfless great soul, (I have no option is not a matter here), I let her stay there. I phoned her last week to ask whether she had lower back pain when she was pregnant. She said she could not remember that it has been long time since she was pregnant last time. Then she asked about my health and asked why I enquired about back pain. Then I had to tell her that I have been having back pain, I cannot bend to take things even from my coffee table etc etc.. She said that she will try to be here as soon as she gets her visa, until then I should believe in God that I will not have any problem/complication. I said fine. She never remembers that I am an atheist. She never remembered about my vegetarianism either, which I followed for 20 years! (broken since last year). So, I shook my head for her not caring me enough to remember my things and put the phone down. Few minutes later my brother phoned me enquiring about my back pain. He talked for hours thinking that I was very worried and I had to be given some reassuring words. Then I went to have shower. When I came out, there was already four missed calls in my mobile from my chithi and she was on the phone with Balan asking about my back pain problem. She insisted on talking to me (which I generally avoid) and talked for hours too. Apparently, my mother was worried and phoned and told everyone about her helpless condition that she couldn’t be here with me.

38 years of debt mother/chithi. Don’t think that this is going to tally the whole lot in one go.