|The author of the story requested for a blank photo-frame to go with the picture.|
Foreword By Soumi Haldar : Throughout the week we have heard stories that poured an overwhelming amount of emotions from Dads. Quite unexpectedly, my own father shared a personal memoir with us that took me unawares. Father’s Day held a different meaning for him than what I had always thought it did.
I never knew or heard of the phrase “Father’s Day” till I reached the age of 55. By that time my daughter was out of the university and had embarked on her professional career. Since that time, she, and later my son-in-law wish me “Happy Father’s Day” on a particular day of the year. I often wondered what the theme behind this “aspiration” is. Because in my perception, my memory, my nearness and attachment with my “father and the word” is a blank slate.
In my life span only one day and one particular incidence about my father faintly peeps in my mind.
I spent my childhood with my grandmother in a remote village, few kilometers away from the new residing place of my parents, brothers and sisters. My father was a doctor. He had got his medical degree from Calcutta Medical Collage in those days. He was a successfully practicing doctor and I heard later that he was not in the best of health. I was told that the day I was born he treated a patient and received Rs 900 in a single day. Unbelievable in those days but it is true and it happened.
I was studying in the local “patshala” (village school) with all children of the village under a single thatched roof. I was seven or eight years old. I used to love swimming in the ponds and small rivers, playing with the children, plucking fruits from the orchards, acting out small plays in the evening. Grandma used to tell stories from Ramayana and Mahabharata at bedtime and I used to slip into deep sleep with lot of dreams.
One early morning grandma woke me up and told me not to attend school. She had got a message that we had to visit my parents. We walked a long way on narrow paths between the paddy fields. We reached by noon. I saw that a body was lying on the floor covered with a white cloth. All the family members and relatives were sitting around the body and crying. I also sat without any realization of the situation. The only photographer of the area came and took a picture. The faded picture is still hanging in the house and none of the people in it are recognizable. That is the only photograph of me with my father. Soon the elderly people left for cremation leaving us the youngsters. That is the only memory of me with my father.
Time passes in its own way. The Father’s Day comes every year. I remember him and wish that “his great eternal, all-pervading, stable, immovable and primeval soul may rests in peace in the eternity of God”. I believe that I am fortunate to have lived in his presence even if for little time. “Happy Father’s Day”.
Story Credit : Swapan Haldar