I remember my father’s Vespa, on which he used to take me on rides. Some rides I loved, while some others I hated. I hated the ride to the kindergarten and, subsequently, the ride to my school. The ride to the park and the ice cream parlour, I relished. I remember how I used to smell the petrol tank, by lifting the seat, when he returned from his Yoga or Karate classes.
I remember how I used to wait patiently for his return to eat a bar of Cadbury’s Dairy milk chocolate or Caramilk candies that he never forgot to bring for me.
I don’t remember if I were particularly sad when he gave that scooter away and bought a new Yamaha RX 100. But we were all happy that a new member had come home. It was his fellow traveller for almost two decades. How proud he was about owning it! He wouldn’t quite allow my brother to use it, and I remember how grumpy he used to get for that. I remember how I would sit on its petrol tank due to lack of space at the back for two people. I still feel embarrassed when I think about when once a police officer even teased me by asking for my license.
It broke my heart when he gave it away.
It shattered me when he left this world soon after. Fathers are almost always a hard nut to crack. It is like talking about God. It is said of God that he doesn’t answer some of our prayers only because he doesn’t find them suitable or good for us. He is chasing away danger from us. But we tend to unsee that at the moment and complain and rattle about that all the time.
Losing our father at any age is like losing our guardian angel. We may never always realize how he has always been there for us, as he never makes it obvious. But once gone, our life tends to fall apart. You search here and there for that invisible rope that always pulled you out of dire situations.
I still remember him singing rhymes for me. It is always the same rhyme that comes back to my mind. “Oh! My My, Tell me why, Birdies fly, In the sky, One, two, three, three, four, five.” I have never forgotten these lines, despite the fact that this is not a commonly heard rhyme.
Maybe he wanted me to wonder about the fact that birds could fly. Maybe he wanted me to fly one day on my own. Maybe he wanted me to see how high the sky is and how much I have to strive for the flight. He considered himself a humble student of the Universe, always learning new things every day. Like Ulysses, he always strived to expand his horizon, never reaching complacency. As Tennyson sang, “To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
Losing him was something I could never deal with. My kids lost the most precious gift they could have got in this world. He might have been a wonderful grandfather. They could have learnt a lot of things from him. The tragedy is that I never let him know how much he meant to me when he was alive. I guess it happens with almost all of us. We tend to take our parents for granted so much that we forget to acknowledge them. We behave as if we are going to be together forever when all we ever have is now. Make great memories with them. Gold wrap those memories like the old Diary Milk in our mind so that we can slowly unwrap it and relish it as and when we feel like reliving those past moments.
Thank you, God, for memories. Good memories, unlike any other thing sweet, is never cloying.
Contributor: Sheema Shireen
About our Writing Program Student
Hailing from God’s own country, I am a teacher by profession. Apart from reading and gardening, I try a hand at writing poetry when inspired. I believe that an independent woman is a happy and content one, and I am on my route to achieve that.