Father holding daughter’s hand,
An interdependent feeling of growing together,
Tell me, Dad, should we walk or run?
You and I, a force forever.
The child in you,
Now here resides,
In the hole that is in me
And that keeps me alive.
We will grow wiser,
And you will remain,
The same old boy,
In the spaces of my young mind.
Let’s not stop and wait for the others,
We don’t run for them, but we travel together,
Brothers this moment , and friend in another.
We protect and preserve
The forces that bind us
A memory in a photograph
Because that’s all we have.
But we will act, not lose face or suffer,
Sing, dance and pray to be heard
Dad, take my hand, we’ll walk awhile longer
You and I, the force grows stronger.
Everyone has always told me I resemble my father and my sister is a “photocopy” of my mother. This has always been a put-off. I resemble a man, how is that a compliment? But the aunties would reply, “But your father’s a good looking man”, as if that makes it better!
So, ever since I was born, I have been this hairy little girl with apparently a manly face, with my father’s stubby fingers, and his thin lips, fortunately minus the moustache. Supposedly, a physical reflection of my dad, my sister is the one who has really taken after him. When my dad’s not around, she is truly the man of the house.
My external beauty is a birthday gift from dad, but my inner beauty comes from mom all the way.
I have loved my dad for as long as I can remember. I loved him, for all daughters love their fathers. There wasn’t much of an argument about it really, we love each other because that’s how the Gods intended it to be. He looked like the legendary actor Dharmendra when he was younger, but I am pretty sure I would have loved him had he looked like the legendary villain Pran. He could look like Sunil Shetty for all I care! He’s my dad and I love him. Period.
We have some wonderful memories together, we are family, you know, and families always make for wonderful memories. I have lived for twenty one years now and I have seen many faces of my father. In his one life, I often feel my dad has lived many. He’s the cat with nine lives.
In retrospect, I wouldn’t expect anything less eventful from him. He has always been the adventurous kind, never doing things the traditional way. I get that from him I guess. He is quite the traveller, a gypsy of sorts. And so his life has been one journey after another. He has conquered many mountains only to find himself tumbling down and then climbing up again. I have rarely seen him fear the unpredictable terrain life has to offer. Every day is a winding road and the destination is rarely insight, but his book of life surely reads character.
He has never been a traditional father. I don’t remember him telling us to study ever, in fact he would try his best to deter us from anything academic. They definitely had my dad in mind when they coined the phrase ‘daddy cool’ because he is, he is as cool as they get.
In August 2005, he was diagnosed with cancer. What followed was an endless series of hospital visits. He went into surgery on August 5 and came out with one lung less. I was in school the day of the surgery and I remember the day well, because I was singing a solo for the first time on stage. I don’t think I was very nervous about the song or the result, what I feared was what would follow.
My dad was fine after surgery, weak, yes, but he was a big man, and one operation wasn’t enough to take him down. The hospital was flooded with familiar faces that day. All well-wishers, taking responsibility for papers, finances and what not. It didn’t make much sense to me, to be very honest.
He’s a born entertainer, my dad. He might have lost a lung, but his will to amuse was very much there, and so was an audience of sympathizers. Every detail of the surgery was narrated to the listeners sat wrapt. They laughed when he did and wept when he told them to. The man was meant to be an actor…and just when you thought it was over, there would be an encore.
Few weeks after surgery dad was taken for his first chemotherapy. That was the real test. Within weeks he shed 30 kgs. The strongest man in the world for me, was now barely a skeleton. Chemo had hit him bad. He wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t sleep at night and the side effects of chemo had taken a real toll on him. What was to be a cycle of six sessions, was stopped at four, for his body just couldn’t take it. Dad had always been a big man and seeing him like this was as good as seeing someone else.
Fewer visitors would now come to see him. Reasons varied, some, I figured, couldn’t bear to see him like that, others came to be entertained and got nothing, so stopped coming and still others got busy with their own lives. But this had become our life. This had become my father’s life. A perpetual struggle for survival. A constant battle with pain. While we watched him suffer, writhing in agony, begging god for mercy.
Certain days were particularly painful to witness. Chemo combined with his migraines used to take a heavy toll on him. It appeared to be a kind of a ‘cruciatis’ curse, from Harry Potter. He spent nights on end making a plea bargain with god, while all we could do was pray.
But he bounced back soon enough. In 2007, dad was cancer free and working, the only year that has happened since the disease was diagnosed. With one lung less and a head sans hair, he devoured the streets of Chandni Chowk for my sister’s wedding preparations and got her married in 2009. I kid you not, my father was the most handsome man at the wedding. The wedding was one that will be remembered for years to come and he made sure all my sister’s wishes were granted. With that, he successfully inaugurated a new chapter in the book of the Puri’s.
Tragedy struck again. Soon after the wedding dad’s cancer returned, this time in his spine. The dreaded chemo began again, but the rockstar that he is, dad sailed through the sessions. Between 2005 and 2010, he has undergone a total of 36 chemotherapy sessions. Mention that to him, and he’d probably joke about it.
Dad is five feet-eight-inches tall, has one lung and so an uneven shoulder alignment, barely any hair on his head, but a healthy moustache. He smiles every time he sees me and his eyes sparkle every time he sees butterscotch ice cream. He is now fighting brain cancer. He is in a daze often and is unable to walk at the moment. Something in him never lets him give up and every time he sees me, I know what it is. My heart sings with joy on days when he sends me a flying kiss and sinks when he doesn’t remember my name. He fights with us because we feed him. He fights this disease because we love him. I could just say my dad’s a fighter, but that won’t be enough.
He is a father.
So I just saw the last Harry Potter movie (Deathly Hallows Part II) and still recovering from it. This is an important moment in life right here, not just for me but I think for many of us.
The first time I had picked up a Harry Potter was when I was in class VI, around 12 years old. At 22, Harry Potter has been a part of my life for ten years, and will be forever more. In a sense we’ve all grown up together, Harry and me, Ron, Hermione and the rest of the gang at Hogwarts. We’ve seen Sirius enter Harry’s life and then leave, we’ve seen the wise Dumbledore lead and die and we’ve seen the end of Voldemort.
This being an emotional moment, here’s a list of five things I will miss about Harry Potter:
|Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore
The wise old man of Hogwarts will be missed most by me. My favourite character with the best, deepest dialogues. I feel sad but I must remember, in Dumbledore’s own words, “For the intelligent mind, death is yet another adventure.” Thank you, professor, for everything.
|Tom Marvolo Riddle
You-Know-Who will always remind me of all that is wrong and evil. How power corrupts and how there is always a choice and that choice makes all the difference. Truth alone triumphs. every, single, time.
3. Magic &Quidditch
I will miss the spells, some of my favourite ones being ‘accio’, patronus charm, and also the dark arts. No other sport will be ever as exciting as Quidditch on brooms. Will also be missed: Snitch and Firebolt.
This magical world of Hogwarts. Moving portraits, living ghosts, magical feasts, moving staircases; what a school. One question: Will I get admission?
These terribly fascinating creations. Two thumbs up to Rowling for having created something as frightening as these flying skeletons in cloaks. Brilliantly depressing stuff.
There are so many other things, but this is all I can think of right now and it’s tough to type with tears in ones eyes. This is a series of books I will preserve and make my kids read. This is a series that defines our generation. This is my classic. I heart Harry Potter. Forever.