Today while cleaning your wardrobe I found wealth, a wealth which I will treasure lifelong. I saw a few snap-shots of the young you, many vintage newspaper cuttings with your named underlined on it and a few certificates. Awarded for excellence in work, awarded for bravery, a certificate spelling a civilian fit to be a civilian bomb detector. I remember you telling me particularly about this certificate that it is the one which army gives after training few hand picked civilians in the art of war. “This helps the army in times of trouble.” I was filled with pride after hearing that. Your love towards your mother country can be best seen from your deeds. However, I may try to be like you, I won’t. Of course, you’d argue that I have my own persona and my own path to build. But I promptly remember that in times of trouble how your courage has boosted me. At the age of 61 you are still very lively.
Your life has been an inspiration enough for me. You tell me often about your poverty stricken childhood days and your ambitions. “If my father had money to teach me further, I would have taken politics as a subject,” you’d told me. I saw the ambition take birth in me and I took up that subject in my junior college level. When my walk becomes stiff I see only perhaps one image of a fighter, a national level boxer, surrounded by loud cheers and pale from the fight, a tired man wakes up and with one punch wins the bout! And there is yet another image wherein you encourage me, you punching your right hand on your left palm and urging me to fight, I can hear you so clear, even if you are far away sitting somewhere in a meeting, you say, “Siddhu beta, you are my daughter, you won’t give up, get up and fight!” That’s enough for me to spring back to action.
Father when you were born I am sure the heaven sang glory songs for you and every god up there blessed you. While each of the god was blessing you, I sneaked away to meet Ganpati Bappa and tell him that I want to take birth as a daughter of this man and he simply nodded in noddy style and said “if you say so.” I am extremely happy to be crowned your daughter, to be your princess. I shall forever be your princess and I know your love for me shall grow with each passing minute. As a father you have my respect but as a human/common man you earn my respect for all the valid reasons. Before your retirement when I saw people crowding our drawing room urging you to not to take voluntary retirement and crying their heart out I realized you are a man with heart of gold. I realized why in my childhood you’d come so late at night and go back so early to office. All the while I cribbed about you not being around you were solving the issues faced by labors. You are a man with opulent knowledge of wealth, father. I would want intelligence like you. So much is your knowledge that you can command and dispense advice even to well-read IAS officials. I have seen many bow down and take your blessings. I am so proud of you my father. Perhaps this letter is my only chance to tell you how much you mean to me and how much I love you and respect you because if I get down to talk this out I might not be able to say everything I want and would break down holding you. A year more I shall stay with you and then you’d gaily give me away to my man but my father shall be my guardian angel and my super hero forever.
Super hero, that you are! Your stories of valor are recited not just in our household but in many houses you have saved from destruction. Dispensing sound family advice, counseling a daughter/son, helping those in need is what you have always done. My mother told me many tales, reciting beautiful tales of her warrior prince but I remember particularly one in which you saved an innocent girl from the gang of human traffickers. I was numb after hearing the story and thinking how would the girl be living in a Saudi country if it not were for you. You rescued her! Selling teenage girls for sex slavery to Saudi country has become an indispensable part of human trafficking. You helped nab one such gang and save a girl’s life. You are a true man, my father! I love you so much that words fall short. You gave up the job of police hawaldar because you overheard few strangers cussing the cops for their corrupt practices. You are truly gem and a rare gem that is!
You are a national level boxing champion, a state level billiards player, a social worker (I am averse to use the word politics here because a politician you are not!), a great orator but more so you are a great human being!
I love you father!
I am lucky to be crowned as your daughter.
Your only Princess
Siddhi Ramesh Palande/ Siddhu
PS: This post won the Father’s day contest and is featured on Bookchums blog.
I Miss You Baba…