Friday, February 15, 2008
Daddy's girl :)
25th June. Last day of my second semester holidays. I had to pack my bags and leave by the 2 ‘o’ clock train. My lovely month long vacation had ended and I wouldn’t be home for at least 6 months. Emotions running high, Amma (for ppl who don’t know amma is Malayalam for mother) trying her level best not to look too upset; all bags were packed, locked and we were ready to go. Achan (Malayalam for father) was supposed to reach home by 12:30. But as always work bogged him down and rushing at the 11th hour; he came hurrying at 1 ‘o’ clock. Rushing the baggage into the car it was VT station (Mumbai) ahoy. I really didn’t want to go back, especially not after fighting with Achan, but last minute rushes always got me tensed. The argument that ensued in the car was inevitable I guess. As much as both of us hated to fight, we hated admitting a fault. Like father, like daughter!
Now Achan was the kind of person who wouldn’t let his emotions take control of him; especially if it was the kind that led to tears. He would never cry. Or let’s say he wouldn’t admit it even if he did. Deep down I know he missed me when I left home, but he would NEVER let it show. Amma was near to tears. You could see the tears welling up but she was trying her best to keep a straight face. And Achan? He didn’t look the least bit sad. One could look at him and think he was going to see off his boss instead of his daughter! Me? I was talking to my brother, listening to last minutes of Hindi songs and trying not to think of the days ahead at college (I should probably mention here that I despised my college. If it weren’t for my roommates I would’ve dropped out in the first year!)
Amma finally gave in as we reached the station. My brother was still holding together. Achan was walking in front of all us with me tagging behind, my suitcase strolling along. And then suddenly, Achan turned around and held my hand. He gave me a huge smile and started walking. All of a sudden I didn’t want to go back at all. I hadn’t walked holding hands with my father for a long time; probably not after my 5th or 6th standard. Later he got busy with work. It was rare for us to go out on family outings anymore. Either he’d be busy or I’d have classes. And now, after all these years I had grown up. Grown enough to travel all alone from Mumbai to Chennai by train (in most families, this is still a big deal for a girl!) I was doing my second year BE and walking, holding my father’s hand. This might seem very trivial to you but somehow it felt like a big thing for me that day. Five minutes and a lot of crying later I was off. Back to Chennai. Back to college. Back to the hostel.
When the train reached Pune a few hours later, I saw this middle aged man walking on the platform with a little girl- his daughter for sure. The girl couldn’t have been more than 11 or 12 years old. I couldn’t help smiling even as I felt a tear roll down my cheek.
I so wish I could go back in time- to the days of the 5th and 6th standard when we used to go out together every so often; spend time as a family; when I had fun with my Achan. Everything just changes so much as you grow up. There are so many things you wish wouldn’t change but you cannot help it. Time just slips by and you stand there like a helpless onlooker wishing for it all to stop but then again, unable to do anything about it. And all you can think of is to say- that’s life!
And in the hustle bustle of your daily activities, you sum up all those feelings into just one line... i love you dad :)