I won’t immortalize you in the stars
Because they fade away
I won’t remember you in a poem
For it will be forgotten one day
I will just keep you safe in my heart
So that you are with me in every way “
When a daughter writes about her father, she writes about the man who means the world to her, and when he stops breathing, she realizes that her world is shattered. He is the only man who does anything possible under the sun, just to see her smile. He leaves indelible imprints on the mind that she cherishes for a life time.
The earliest memory of my childhood goes back to the house in Nagaland, where we lived for a little while. The most vivid one is of the times when my father would take me in his arms and feed me dinner while I would gape at the jumping frog beneath, which, apparently, was our pet. Shillong happened soon after and with it began my schooling years. My father was quite strict in bringing me up and always expected me to have basic etiquettes and manners. There was an instance when I did not greet a teacher whom we came across in the evening market. For this, I had to kneel down for half an hour at home. I never dared to not greet anyone after this episode. It was during those years that going to ICAR, Barapani, along with him in the office bus, was so much fun. Roaming around from lab to lab, and from department to department, and the canteen lunches were all like an amazing weekend picnic with him. This organization was his heart and soul, and his world always revolved around it, and to an extent, ours too. His trips to Delhi would always end with bringing home a lot of gifts for us. And he was a good buyer. He would always buy the right things.
My father was always like a mother. Whether it was about waking up in the middle of the night while I would be ill, or cooking good food for me, his love and care were unmatchable. This reminds me of an instance of some years ago. I was travelling by train with some friends and was unreachable on my phone for quite some time. My father grew so worried that was unable to work for the rest of the day, subsequently feeling unwell. Though we almost always lived in Shillong, his heart was always in Guwahati, in this old campus of ours, where all our people live. The well-being of Aaita, Pu Aaita ( his Pehi ), his uncles and aunts, and all his brothers and sisters, was of utmost importance to him. When he would be there in Shillong, he would worry about them, and when he would be here, he would worry about my mother. His relationship with Pu Aaita had always been very special and he would always press on the fact that none of us had the capacity to comprehend it.
My father had always been a great cook. Whatever he cooked always turned into something very relishable and gratifying. It had been in my mind for long that I would learn all the traits from him very soon. That never happened. On his birthday last year, by the time I returned home from work, he was done cooking every single item that could feed our entire family. There are so many incidents and occasions about which I would like to pen down, but with every bit my heart only grows heavier. Life takes such a full circle that my earliest memory of my father was of him feeding me dinner in Nagaland, and the last one was that in which I fed him some breakfast, just minutes before he closed his eyes forever. Rest in peace Deta.