The morning post
brought little Kelly a letter from her father stationed in an obscure hamlet in
the Kashmir valley. As I watched her jump up and down with glee shrieking
``Dadda`s letter, Dadda’s letter,`` I remembered with a sudden pang that that
was how I used to react when I got a letter from you.
letter-writers we were, Dad. Even as a not-too-easily-impressed Lit major, I
recall telling you that you were far and away the most expressive word-wielder
After I left home
and was barracked in one-horse towns all over the north, your letters became a
virtual lodestone for me. I’d eagerly wait for those pale blue sheets filled
with your elegant miniscule script, full of news, views and your own brand of
wit and wisdom.
While I’d read your letter, I’d conjure up a picture of
you, just as I’m doing now. You at your writing desk, a faint smile creasing
clefts in your cheeks, your grey eyes holding wry amusement, your nicotine
stained fingers holding the old-as-hills cross pen Mom got you ages ago.
The hoary saying
about the special bond between fathers and daughters notwithstanding, we
cemented a bond through these missives,
didn’t we, Dad?
There was, there is,
so much to tell you, all the time. The
idiosyncrasies of eccentric uncles, trivia about the current place of posting,
a zerox on the evils of tobacco (not very subtle, I know), how someone
traversing the Drass-Leh road saw a plaque stating that the Border Roads had
built stretches under your command.
You were indeed my
father confessor in a very real sense. I turned to your encouraging letter when
Math got the better of me, and it told me there was more to life than algebra.
I turned to your consoling missive when life seemed unfair and I found the
strength to face another day. I turned to your calmly happy epistles when I
wanted to mark a milestone in my life and it was as if you were there, saying ``That’s
Oh, we had stormy
exchanges, too, remember Dad? I’d rave and rant and you’d refuse to write back
till my anger had evaporated. At other
times, you would put down words that cut like a knife. I would carry the hurt
inside for days on end, only to have it melt in the warmth of your next letter
But now, I carry
this sharp lancing pain inside of me, all the time Dad. You have been gone a
while now but I don’t know if I will ever come to terms with the cold cruel
fact that you will never write me a letter again.
Labels: father, Feature, Features, tribute