Friday, June 17, 2011

Remembering Dad.

June 14th was my Dad's birthday. And we planned a feast for him. Except that he would not be able to eat it in person. This being the eighth year since he passed on, (Sonny boy came into the world a bittersweet year after his death) he'd only be able to eat it in spirit.

When he was a toddler, Sonny boy would unabashedly smother Dad's photo stuck to the wardrobe door, with wet kisses. I still have that picture of Dad's with one cheek all discoloured ... I don't think he'd mind.:-) But now, when he's grown up, and seen a couple of relatives in the family pass on, (the Acha's grandmother- another much loved lady, and my Uncle) he realises that Achacha is not quite omnipresent.

On the 14th, in the morning rush for school, we quite forgot to tell him that it was Achacha's B'day. So when he came back to appetising smells of biriyani ( courtesy my Mom who is with us currently) he sniffed appreciateively.

Today we're making Biryani???
Yeah, its Achacha's B'day.

Oh! today?
Yeah, Did you wish him?

*sheepish* No.
He'll be wondering why you alone didn't...

But I don't know his number, that's why.

We were zapped. He'd never asked for a number to speak to Achacha before. And then the penny dropped. He'd confused Achacha with Muthassan (the Acha's father)

We laughed and told him that it was MY Dad's B'day.

And then, he went upto Dad's foto and abashedly wished him a Happy Birthday.
And he turned and asked me-

Did he hear me?
Of course he heard you, Sonny boy, see, he's smiling down at you..

...and then, we went on to offer him dinner. Sonny boy rushed hither and thither, laying the mat, and placing the fruits and chocolates and payasam. In addition to the chicken curry, biriyani and salad. He almost knocked over a glass of water in his enthusiastic running to and fro.

In my home, when we keep food for ancestors, we lay 3 places- one for Dad, one for my side of the family, and one for the Acha's side of the family. So we finished our prayers, asked for blessings, and then closed the door so they could have their food. And then Sonny boy's voice piped up-

Who are the other dead people who will come and eat with Achacha?

It can still open a hurt to refer to him as DEAD. That's so final and removed from us somehow. And for me, Daddy, you are there always - maybe not foremost in my mind, but still there somewhere. Always. In happy times and sad. Sometimes in my times of need, I wish I could hear you just one more time.. touch you just one more time... so I could feel comforted even if nothing's been resolved... Sigh.