My wedding was scheduled to take place on 28 November, 2012.
On 13 November, we got the news that my fiancé's dearest grandmother had expired. Nobody knew how to react, as it was just days before our big day and according to Indian traditions, this could have led to the wedding being called off. I was confused when my father came to my rescue and said that such is life. He shared some more stuff on life and death. Stuff that hardly mattered to me.
Anyway, the wedding took place on the scheduled date.
Exactly one year later in November 2013, we got bad news again. My father was in the ICU.
What he had shared with me on life and death (for the first and last time) the previous year, on the same day, finally made sense.
I am not a very religious person but I do believe in God. Ever since I have known prayers, I have prayed to God in my heart--every day, every year. Yes, I have. Whenever I got hit by life, I convinced myself saying that it must be a cost that I have to pay for having my prayers heard.
God could not be that cruel.
My father, an active 62 year old and a highly respected doctor who had saved so many lives, was hooked up to machines, unable to move. Nothing worked. Not even the magical prayers.
We lost him on 13 November.
What he had shared with me on life and death (for the first and last time) the previous year, on the same day, finally made sense. And it did matter this time.
Most of us feel that our parents are the best people alive, so I'll try to keep that part to myself. But yes, dad was remarkably zestful about life. And that is what hurts me the most--someone who so wanted to live, was so interested in people and things, died without saying a word.
There comes a point in life when you become stronger than your weakest points.
I am not superstitious and have come to terms with the bitter fact that I will not meet him again. But there are other ways, I still hope. I pray to God to let me see him, like in dreams. However weird that may sound, some losses are beyond tears and missing. Goodness and hope are all that we can carry forward.
I always thought that I would break down if I lost my parents. Not that my world revolved around them but they formed the centre of it. Nothing seemed more difficult to me than living without them.
But here I am. Living, partying, watching movies, setting goals, travelling, attending functions, and looking forward to life.
Do I miss him? Every day.
Is it easy without him? Not at all.
But you know what? There comes a point in life when you become stronger than your weakest points.
In a country where girls are forced to choose a 'decent' and home-friendly career, I became a TV journalist covering parties till 3am. And there are no mishaps in my history.
In a society where children are forced to choose a job/college near to their hometown, I lived in the biggest Indian metros, Delhi and Mumbai. And I still love my family the most.
He only had one expectation from me--that I be happy wherever I am. I want to grant him that wish.
In a culture where families boycott love marriages, I was free to choose my husband. And I got into an arranged marriage and am happy.
All this does not make me the most accomplished person. But all this did make me a better human being.
I have my own share of pain points and shortcomings but I developed a positive and open outlook to the world. Good or bad, I lead a fairly honest life, believe in inner happiness, have faith in universal energy, value relationships, career, and hope to make this world a better place.
Seems somewhat fine to me.
All this because of that one person I call my father. Maybe he wanted to bind me with values while liberating me in lifestyle.
Yesterday was his birthday. I wore clothes bought by him. I flipped through his photographs. I prayed for his soul. But nothing helped. So yes, I miss him and his presence.
But this is no tribute to him.
He did so much for me--so much so that I don't remember a single toffee brand I did not try during childhood! I don't know how he managed but I know that he only had one expectation from me--that I be happy wherever I am.
I want to grant him that wish.
I carry forward his values and goodness in whatever I do. I try to choose accepting people over walking away from them...
So here is how I celebrate him after he left. I call his side of family and people he adored to remind them that I am there as a part of him. I carry forward his values and goodness in whatever I do. I try to choose accepting people over walking away from them, to build a productive career on the incredible support he gave me in my educational choices, and to maintain the relationships he worked hard at.
So here I say with a big smile that choosing to live with a bitter fact is hard. But living to choose goodness and happiness always makes it just a little bit easier and beautiful too.
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