I took the first steps on the slippery surface cool, looking into eyes encouraging, inviting.
I wobbled, I fell and I cried and cried. Arms strong scooped me, held me tight.
Coaxed, cajoled left once again to try, I fell not only once, nor twice but umpteen times.
Each time the eyes encouraged me to try. Finally I guffawed in delight.
I dangled on his arms firm in the belief he’d scoop me up should I have a fall.
I bicycled on knowing he’d steady me should I wobble and fall.
I ran a race knowing he’d not laugh at me should I lose.
I drew a face knowing he’d love the thought behind the sketch.
I shared with him my fright, my dreams knowing he’d understand
I shared with him thoughts penned knowing he’d not laugh nor make fun
I looked up to him when in need of advice or when I was down and out
I knew he was always there to hear me out.
He was a pillar of strength, an embodiment of honesty, integrity
Ambitious by nature, sincere and hardworking
A self made man he learnt life’s lessons the hard way
Each achievement, each success he yearned, he earned.
Ambition apart, he was a family man
In parents and siblings he found souls to be loved
In wife he saw a soul mate, a motivator great
In children he saw a spark for the future bright
Even in pain, he found the strength to smile
To spread cheer all around, not a tear to the eye
A man of steel with a heart soft as butter
A man to reckon, a man of principles
A father, a friend, philosopher, mentor and guide
A man to cherish, a man to pride
A man who lived in the hearts of all around
My Father, my Hero he was, no doubt.
This is a tribute to the first man I ever loved, my father. A man of steel, he fought pain for 20 + years with a smile on his lips. He was often quoted as saying that he drew strength to fight the battle against pain offered by a leaking heart valve and cardiac asthma, from us his family. But the truth was that we drew strength to bear the sight of his suffering from the way he carried himself even in agony. The lesson we learnt from him is, “Don’t be a weakling. If you are strong mentally half the battle is won. Leave the other half to …….. Fight to the end.”
An ambitious person he was an epitome of success. Interview after interview he battled it out with gold medalists, people more educated than him, younger in years, ‘sharper in brain.’ Yet in the end it was him all the way. His treasured assets, hard work and experience won him the day. His pang for success he ignited in us. Encouraging, motivating, inspiring he showed us the way.
The evenings he set apart for us, his beloved, listening, teaching, sharing and caring. The teacher in him was a strict disciplinarian. Answers we sought, answers on our own we found. He had the knack to make us delve in ourselves, find answers to questions we thought we never knew. He taught us to have confidence in ourselves. According to him there was nothing like, “I don’t know.” Search, search and search, the answer is there right in front. I learnt this lesson while writing school essays on odd subjects. Every time I went to him with a difficult topic, he would ask me to hand him over a piece of paper and pen. Then he would prod me on to open up and speak what I knew on the subject. The discussion would slowly gain momentum, have me fully engrossed saying point after point. Finally when I would be out of steam and further stuff, Dad would hand me back the paper with all the points I had said saying, “Take this. I think this should be enough for you to write on the topic.” The best part was that I would have held at least 95 percent of the discussion without being aware of it. He knew how to make one think.
A man who respected the fairer sex, he made it a point to see to it that his better half had the first tea of the day made by his very own hands. This was his way of expressing his love, his gratitude to her. A man who acknowledged the lengths to which women went to keep the home and hearth running, he was a stickler for timings, one who made it clear that men could be away till late in the night but not at the expense of a woman’s sleep. A man not ready to mince words, he was once heard telling his nephews that if they intended to reach home late, they must be prepared to serve and have supper on their own. The ladies could do with some proper sleep.
A man loved by all, he was the heart of every crowd. Friends, acquaintances, peers, subordinates all loved him, respected him. His popularity among his staff could be assessed by the fact that once, when news of his accident spread, the hospital was flooded with people anxious to know his well- being. Heaven was flooded with prayers and appeals for his safety. Though tough on the erring, he was fair to the core. Hence he earned a lot of goodwill.
But what set him apart was his sense of sacrifice. He sacrificed his chance to higher education so that his siblings could enjoy. He sacrificed his chance to rest so that his children could survive. Yes it is another thing that he did not give up his thirst for learning but continued it when the time was ripe. That thirst he passed on to us his daughters, too. He was in every sense a soldier, a true warrior who did not put down his arms when the going was tough but fought it out only to win. Even today though he is no more in our midst, I turn to him when I feel lost and troubled. The locks open up one by one. The light is revealed to guide me on. He is my key to ……..
Miss you Dad, my hero, my role model.