He was a real cool guy, you know, my dad. I mean really cool.
He used to drive really well. He loved it. It was his passion. At that time (and this was a long time ago when we were little children) , his job involved a lot of travel around Karnataka and you bet, he drove. When we had summer holidays, those were the best times. My brother, my mum and I would travel with him.The part I remember most was how expertly he used to navigate the hair-pin bends in the Western Ghats which can be treacherous if you have no expertise. My brother and I would slide in the back seat from one end of the seat to the other (whoever heard of seat belts, back then :-)) , as the car swerved and we would shout "Whooooo..Daddy another hair-pin bend coming. Once more, daddy once more!"
When I was 16 or maybe 17, he taught me how to drive, in an Ambassador car. He was a tough teacher. The slightest of noise while changing the gear and 'thwack' there would be a sharp twang across my forearm. He expected nothing less than perfection. The first time he did it, I threw a tantrum and got out of the car and said "I don't want to learn to drive." He got out and made me get right back in and said "You will bloody well learn it and learn it well." Of course I learnt it and learnt it well. He would accept no less.
I remember how he used to play with us on the beach. He would play Frisbee with us. He would also play 'running and catching' and he would run so fast that my brother and I would never be able to catch him. But how we loved trying!
And then the swimming in the sea and the river. Oh the memories, it evokes! He was an excellent swimmer (too), my dad. He taught me (and my brother) how to swim and we learnt in the river with a strong current. Later the swimming pools seemed so tame, in comparison.
Dad was very sportive and he was also a lot of fun. One time, as a child, when I was heavily into reading Enid Blytons, I badly wanted to find an 'old treasure map' like the Famous Fives. So I drew my own map and soaked it in tea, to make it look old and burnt the edges. (yeah, I was an innovative little devil :)) Then I buried it in sand in our garden and pretended to find it and showed it to my dad. He played right along and I was so delighted that he did not call my bluff. "That is indeed exciting. Let us go look for the treasure," he had said.
He really has given me a treasure--a lifetime of truly treasured memories.
When I was in college, he coached me in a supposedly difficult subject--Mercantile Law. He made it so easy for me. He predicted the questions that would come and he was astoundingly right. I topped the University in the subject that year. He was so proud of me.(but then he was proud of anything I did)
And then, after I got married (too) the conversations and discussions we used to have. My dad loved books and I inherit that from him. I also could discuss anything under the sun with him. Almost every single day I used to speak to him on the phone. He was so much fun, my dad.
He passed away this day four years ago. The way he died was as unexpected and dramatic as the way he lived. He went sitting down in his favourite arm chair, in the middle of a conversation. One minute he was watching TV and talking to my mother and the next minute, he had closed his eyes and he was gone. He was so fit, agile and had absolutely no illnesses. He was just 64.
Those of you who have read my book, know all this ( and probably in detail too). But today I had to say it all again.
I cried today for almost an hour.I missed him so badly.
Most days I am fine, but some days,the aching just does not stop.
Picture clicked in 1974. My dad and and I