“Shalu, Mamma is diagnosed with a minor tumor. Nothing to worry, Molu (dear). The doctor said it can be easily removed. So, we are planning to admit her in hospital today itself for surgery early in the morning tomorrow. I will call you back soon.” Dad hung up.
It started there. What seemed to be a dry cough had suddenly turned to be a monstrous Cancer. Yes, the surgery wasn’t minor – the doctors were taken back when they cut open her chest. The cancer had spread to all her vital organs – lungs, heart and diaphragm. The doctors knew that there was nothing left to do and they had to close her back. None of these happenings were informed to us- girls! It was in the month of December, I was in Grade 12 and taking up my Model Exams. Obviously, no one expected me to know! I remember Dad being called to the hospital by 5 am the next day. I was informed that she needed some medicines, when she indeed was dying. She had taken his hands to say how much she loved him and requesting him to take care of their two little girls. She had given up. She could hear her heartbeats beating down from 72 to 4..3..2..1..and Zero! That was it, the end. She saw the smiling face of my Dad, followed by the image of Lord Vishnu raising his hands to bless her. She felt a current pass through her and her heart again started beating from zero, back to normal. She was back to Life! Though she was in life supporting system, she started breathing on her own and was moved back home the next week. Remember, the cancer wasn’t gone!
Just like my sister and I, my Mom never knew that her condition was beyond recoverable. My Dad never informed us. He took everything upon his shoulders, going through the pain all alone. What followed next were the life-sucking Chemotherapy sessions and poisonous radiations being injected to her body. She had given up countless times. The excruciating pain, and the hairless head made her scream many a times. She didn’t want to look in the mirror anymore. But I could see a patient and calm Dad who always believed in the good, in the best. A loving husband that he is, Mom was fed with different kinds of fruit juices, soups and food every half an hour- the entire diet being prepared by my Dad. He was determined to make her fine, a caring and dedicated life-partner! He is a fighter who loves challenges and who stands for truth and justice always!
While Mom was recovering slowly but steadily, I was screwing up my Board exams. From someone who was considered to be one of the toppers in school, I went down to the lowest possible grades. Though he was extremely sad, he stood by me, encouraging me to be focused, competitive and hard-working. He always said, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going!!”. Today, I am proud to be what I am- with high grades in my Masters and a brilliant career which I’ve stepped in! I owe it to him- #MyRoleModel – the Man in my life– My Dad!
Just like most of the girls, I’m my Daddy’s little princess. That doesn’t mean that I was showered with kisses and hugs all the time. He is my Father and he embraced that fact. He wasn’t a best friend- but he was always there whenever my heart was broken and whenever I needed him. He was always happy and excited telling stories, getting me dolls or persuading me to watch the News channels with him. He always ballyhooed my Dance performances, as if I was the best in the world. He has set rules for both of us (my sister and I) based on firmness and fairness.
He has taught me to be Bold, Brave and Beautiful! No, no… I’m not exaggerating! He screams the hell out of me when I put on weight. He is health-conscious and his day starts at 4.30 am with a jog/walk along with his doggie followed by yoga and exercises. He loves gardening, and our garden blooms with flowers all the time. He also has a small area in the garden where he tends on different vegetables and fruits. He cooks so well that the mere thought of his “Chicken Curry” makes me drool over and over again.
He is a doting son and a loving brother. To him, family comes first! He has always been approached by friends and family in times of crisis because of his knack of positiveness, wisdom and selflessness. He was my History teacher at school and I always attended his classes in awe. He gave his lectures gracefully without even a book in hand. He remembered the exact dates of all the three battles of Panipat, or the hierarchy of Mughals in India or about the Harappan culture. You name it, and he gives you the details in seconds. He also served in the Indian Army close to ten years and that made him Punctual, Strict, Stubborn, Firm and Tough but also Thoughtful, Insightful, Dynamic and Inspiring.
I remember sitting behind his Army jeep and all the junior officers/soldiers saluting him. A ten year old I was then, I told him, “Dad, I want to get married only to an Army Officer like you”. He had remembered my words and helped me choose my life partner- an Army Officer who is in countless ways, just like him!!
Dad, I am blessed to be your daughter and I pray to God to give me a chance to be your little girl in all my births. You taught me how to keep loving through the good and the bad– to be respectful and responsible in life. You hardly kissed or hugged me. But your pat on my back makes me realize that I’m loved, cherished and appreciated in a great deal.
Dad, You’re my Life, My Everything…Love you!!