It was the year 1988. Vishnu and his daughter were waiting outside the operation theatre waiting to hear some good news. He knew he wanted a boy, but it was a girl again. He accepted the choice and brought home his family and showered them with love. He also made sure he raised both his daughters with no limitations because of their gender.
This was untill his 2nd kid Swapna entered her teenage. She came up to her dad one day and asked him to teach her to ride a motorbike. That’s when he realised that maybe he should tell her that it wasn’t the right time or choice. He told her that girls should ride scooters whereas boys can ride motorbikes. She refused to accept it. He knew there was nothing he could do to change her mind. He even bribed her with biryani from her favourite Mughal restaurant but she was too stubborn to give up.
And so, he taught her 14 year old to ride a bike. She was super thrilled about it but the bike was just too heavy. Vishnu told her that he should always be there when she wants to ride it and that Swapna should never try it out on her own. But, … Yeah! Teenager! She was too bored one Saturday afternoon and her mom and dad had gone to a wedding. Her sister was too busy revising for the class test 3weeks ahead 🙄 and so, she quietly sneaked downstairs to the garage to go for a ride on the bike.
Everything went okay for the first few minutes. She was able to control the bike, maneuver it the way she wanted to. After a few more minutes, she found it tiring and decided to head back home after one last ride around her block. And that’s when she saw him. Her dad! He was waiting outside their house for her. She reached home and parked the bike herself, fumbling to support its weight as he kept staring blankly at her. She was preparing mentally to apologize and was mustering up the courage to do it. That’s when he spoke
“Swapna, one day in the future, I may not be there next to you, to tell you whether you are making the right choice or not. I may not be there to fuss over you as you recover from any wound that you may beget. I may not be there to tell you how to be more responsible. I may not even be there to hug you when you cry. At such times, I want you to be Strong. I want you to think about the people in your life. The lives you may be responsible for. The consequences of your action and the regrets you may have because of it. I want you to be sensitive to others’ feelings and I want you to be a kind, generous and thoughtful person. That matters to me more than any success you may ever get academically or financially. I want you to be true to yourself always. I want you to make me proud for having a daughter who gives more than she gets.”
With that, he went up to their home, leaving her speechless. Her father had always talked to her about being independent and responsible. He even used to show her where he had kept any important paper she may need if something happens to him, but she never bothered to pay attention to it. Not because she didn’t want to. But because of how devastated she would get, everytime her father spoke to her about his death. He was a healthy man. Never smoked nor had a drink. He ate well and did a few physical chores around the house if not actual working out. But, he always tried to prepare her for moving in after he was no more.
Roll ahead to 2006. Life was good. Things were going as usual and Swapna was now in college. Her father dropped her at college that day for her 1st semester exams and as she got back home, she saw him at home. Looking tired and walking with a little difficulty. She asked what happened and he told her that it was just a fever and body pain. He went back to office after lunch. She then waited…. Her father finally came home in a stretcher that night, looking peaceful and so fresh. His toes were tied and he was placed on an ice box. He had passed away due to a heart attack. And all that she could do then, was to make sure she informed all her relatives and her dad’s friends about it. Help out with any legal forms, made sure she kept checking in on her mom and grandparents who were shaken beyond their capabilities. She held her sister as she came home to a dead father. Swapna refused to sit for a minute and grieve. She just wanted to do everything she can by herself.
She finished his last rites and went to college to finish her semester exam. She came back home to a bottle of ash that was once her father. After spreading his ashes, she came back to an empty house. Her grandparents were trying hard to cope. Her mother needed to be with her brothers and sisters to cry it all out. Swapna hadn’t slept or cried for 4 full days. She was just sitting next her sleeping sister and staring at the keys in her hand. The keys of her father’s scooter.
Vishnu was her ‘Hero’ in every step of her life. He lived a life she could proudly talk about. He believed in God, in charity and in love for everyone. He taught her everything she wanted to learn from her dad; from how to save coins to how to use a drilling machine; from how to be kind to how to stand up for what is right; from saving for the future to living life everyday; from how to walk when she was a baby to how to ride a bike as a teenager. As she held the keys to her dad’s scooter, she knew that it was the only thing that would ever comfort her when she missed him.
She quietly got out of her house and went for a ride in her dad’s scooter. The wind against her face, finally broke her walls that she had built. She cried, bawled, screamed and kept riding on and on till she couldn’t cry anymore. She was too tired and she went back home, parked the scooter, locked up the house and went up to sleep next to her sister. She held her sister’s hand and finally fell asleep.
Rolling ahead to 2018. It is now 12 years since she lost her dear dad. Swapna was a married woman now. With a loving husband and a teeny tiny son. She still misses her dad. She still cries now and then as she thinks of her dad and how he was the most important person in her life and how she needed him. And everytime, she went to visit her mom, she would go for a ride in her dad’s scooter and her face would light up instantly and so would her spirits.
Swapna is now a loving, independent, kind, thoughtful woman. And she was strong just like her dad. Not just physically strong; but, strong enough to care for her family. Strong enough to stand for what’s right. Strong enough to identify right form wrong. String enough to express her hought politely. String enough to love fiercely. Strong enough to value friendships. Strong enough to save up for the future. Strong enough to get back up after falling down. Strong enough to accept changes. Strong enough to forgive those who repent. Strong enough to not let people walk over her. Strong enough to inspire others. And she truly believed that no matter who she meets in life, she would always think that ‘Her daddy was the strongest’.
Thanks to Priyanka for introducing me in her post. 24 of us are here to share our special bond with our fathers. So hopefully on to the next station – Pearlsbyshakespeare . The blog is rainbow of sorts from the Twin sisters Ritika Ghuman and Surbhi Sharma. Ritika has penned her thought n fathers day. So head to her blog post to read more.