I don’t believe I could ever have enough, or the right, words to present as a tribute to you. After all, how could I give a form to all the unconditional love we carry for each other. While it would never be entirely possible to write about what I feel for you, let’s call this a small attempt.
Whenever I’ve asked you to narrate a favorite childhood memory of mine, you’ve mentioned how even at a few days old, I would look at you and my eyeballs would move around and follow you wherever you’d go in the room, since I wasn’t old enough to move my neck. That proves my fascination for you to be as long as my existence. Your second favorite is when I’d somehow know when you’d be about to reach home from office ten minutes before you’d reach when I had newly learned to talk. And in those ten minutes, I’d go around the house screaming, “Abu aagaye.” (“Dad’s home.”)
The look of pride on your face and the gleam your eyes carry every time you narrate those (or any) parts of my childhood fill me with this insurmountable happiness I can’t explain.
From the smallest moments, like hugging you to sleep at night to sharing all my secrets with you to just being there with you while we’d absorb each others’ silence, it has been an incredible journey, and always shall be one. Maybe that’s what love is. Being there, merely being there, without speaking a word and feeling like the strongest person in the world and as though nothing could break you apart till you’re together.
Whilst you were always close to me as a father, it was only after Ma passed away that we had this magical bond be created. Thank you for being the perfect father, mentor, teacher, best-friend, secret bearer, defender and idol. Thank you for completing my soul.
I often have friends and family tell me, out of care of course, that I can share things with them if I can’t share them with you, you being a father. But here’s what almost makes me laugh at that.. There’s absolutely nothing that I have kept from you. There’s nothing that I had had to keep from you.. All thanks to you for being such a patient soul and for letting me confide in you and for your unshakable trust in me. And having that in mind, I promise to never harm your pride and trust in me.
Your struggles give me goosebumps like nothing else. When you share with me about how little you started from, to you working tirelessly as an honest police officer for over three decades and achieving heights very few do. I love hearing the stories you tell me from your childhood. Each one of them. I’ll tell you a secret. There are many stories that you’ve told me over and over again, thinking you’re telling them to me for the first time. I know them by heart, but I’d never tell you which ones they are because I love the enthusiasm in your voice and the richness in your eyes when you tell them, even if repeatedly. In fact, I don’t have to act excited when I hear them, because your excitement is so raw, innocent and infectious that I feel a new glee listening to them every single time.
I love how you tell me that I am a clone of my mother – in what I look like and in what I do. In fact, that’s my favorite most compliment especially because it comes from you.
Thank you for setting an idea of love so unmatched in my eyes. How devoted and faithful to and how in love you have remained with my mother not only during her life but up til this day, almost 7 years after her death. That’s an example of love I’ve never witnessed.
I love how you never talk about it, but have her picture as the only ‘favorite’ in your cell phone to this day. I remember you singing “Tu meri zindagi hai” to Ma whilst we’d be on our way to our village, and that’s one memory I cherish more than I could tell.
I remember sitting wrapped in your arms in the lobby of the hospital Mama died a few hours later in. You told me we’re together in this. That no matter what happens, you’ll be right beside me. Thank you for keeping that promise. Every night and day and second following that. And I promise to always be beside you, too.
I love you and I respect you for who you have been to me, but I love you and I respect you more for how you treated my mother when she was healthy, when she was ill and now that she is no more.
Thank you for being there to catch me every time I’ve toppled, for being there for me during those long nights I couldn’t sleep in and would wake up scared or shaking and crying, for healing me at places I didn’t realize I was broken, wounded and bleeding. Thank you for keeping up with me while I’d be my bratty self, which happened a lot and still does.
I’m sorry many people have not been appreciative of you and haven’t understood the pure goodness and innocence in you. I promise I do. I promise I’ve noticed every single time you’ve fallen asleep with your eyes wet. I promise I witnessed every time you took your wife to the hospital at 2 in the night without as much as a sigh when she wasn’t well. I promise I noticed every time you liked something at a shop but didn’t buy it for yourself so you would buy me something instead. I promise I noticed every time you smiled, seeing me smile, even if you wouldn’t know what it was about. I promise I’ve witnessed you, the toughest person I know, praying for me shaking and in tears. I promise I could see your love and your sincerity even when you were judged and misunderstood by your own people..
I promise I’ve witnessed you filling up with pride every time someone has praised me. I promise I’ve witnessed you genuinely loving and caring for every single person in your life, in my mother’s family (even long after her death) as well as yours, and every time it went highly unnoticed, which happened a lot. I’m sorry you weren’t as appreciated as you deserved to be. But I love you and appreciate you and every single effort of yours, hidden or obvious, with all my heart and every being of my soul.
I know we continue to face trials and struggles, hidden to the everyone but us even today at a daily basis, but I promise things will get better and we will get healed as long as we’re together and I promise by each drop of blood in my body, we’ll always be together and you will always matter more to me than my own self, such is your soul entwined with mine.
I know sometimes I don’t understand some things as you speak them, but I swear even when that happens, I know you’re right. I know you’ve attached all your dreams, goals and achievements to me and I promise to fulfill all of them and never disappoint you.
I know I tell you that I love you and that you’re my favorite creation of God over and over, throughout the day, every single day. And I know it can get irritating for you sometimes, but I promise I’ll keep doing it, till the last of my breaths, because I know you secretly love it and also because I mean it every single time I say it, even if I say it thirty times a day.
Whilst I don’t know what life throws at us next, but I promise to protect you from all woes and tears, and stand right in front of you as your shield. Thank you for being my reason to live, smile, breathe and look forward to each new day, knowing you’ll be in it. Days having you in them are my favorite memories. Thank you for not abandoning me, when so many people you knew almost wanted and expected you to (because I wasn’t a son and because my mother was dead. 🙂 ). Thank you for devoting your life to me. I promise to devote mine to you. And to love you, more than I can ever love myself, any thing, or anyone in this world. I promise to make you very proud of me one day, every day.
P. S. You are perfect. Ma would be very proud of you!
Happy Father’s Day,
Love you forever and beyond.