“Wow what a line ” my elder daughter slid to my side from our drawing-room sofa as we watched the final moments of the movie ” Pursuit of Happyness”. One of the movies on my bucket list was ticked 15 years after its release. During that movie, I saw my younger daughter moving closer to my wife when the child Chris’s mother decided to leave him for good. Her question was ” How can a mother leave her child?”
Lockdown days make you reflective and contemplative. I started thinking about my father and started seeing images through a lens smeared with the grease of nostalgia. Let me call it as VIVID images. VIVID is the name of our house in my home town. My sister’s and my name’s first two letters followed our Dad’s name DAS, that’s how he was lovingly called by people around him. The image that always stuck with me in the last 36 years has been the photo that was placed in our living room. That black and white photo appears to have remained intact all along the way, while my life has gone through different colors.
In the movie, Forrest Gump which I saw a week ago, the movie opens and closes with the image of a white feather floating through the air. In the opening, it comes to rest in Forrest’s suitcase. In the end, it flies back up into the air. What does the Feather represent?
My father was born in a small village along with his brother. From a humble beginning, both the brothers through sheer grit and determination rose up in life. My father gave us a platform from where I boarded that train of life which had all of life’s amenities. I recollect Dynaora color television which was bought in 1984 to see the Los Angeles Olympics- a first in our colony, Pansonic Tape recorder, Fuji Color Camera, Kelvinator refrigerator, BSA cycle ( first among my friends and lot of my friends learned cycling on it ) and Priya scooter. He also booked a Maruthi car. He couldn’t see the Olympics nor the car.
Whenever I see movies ( Life is beautiful, Pursuit of Happyness and Forrest Gump) I miss my father. My memories of him get thumbnailed as shorter time period images. I remember seeing a James Bond movie ( The Spy Who Loved Me) and in between, I was asking him some curious questions. I recollect our first Hindi movie which was Kaagaz Ke Phool which we all saw together and that left me introducing Mohammed Rafi into my life. Ever since I became a big fan and after his Jordan trip, he got cassettes of Rafi’s Lahore night and Kishore Kumar’s Evening which I still look up on YouTube. His favorite song which got him really addicted and therefore made him pen lines in his diary was this timeless Malayalam composition by lyricist O.N.V Kurup (sung by Yesudas from the movie Chillu):
“Oru Vattam Koodi-Yen Ormakal Meyunna
Oru Vattam Koodiyen Ormakal Meyunna
Through this brilliant poetic song, the veteran lyricist recalls his childhood days. The English translation of the poem is “Once again, he cherished a keen desire to scurry around his courtyard and neighborhood, memories of which came reeling back to him. [Once More…]
It was one of those days when my father sat me down and gave me the advice of my life. The background was that I was not ready to go out with my mother for getting some things. By then he had two cardiac arrests and I believe was staring at those black days ahead in his life. He said, ” You have to take care of your mother and so you have to go out with her right now“. I used to have friendly and not so friendly fights which normally ends up injuring my paternal grandmother. Again it was time for father-son conversation. He said, ” Your grandmother never complains but yesterday she was in pain. I want you to know one thing. You will realize the value of her love not in her presence but in her absence“. To this day I have taken that motto and lived my life. Whenever I go somewhere, I always take the opportunity to meet and be with as many people as I can, many of whom have left by the time I go to those places again.
They say, ” Life is a C between B and D. From Birth to Death, C symbolizes choices in life”. My RICH Dad lived his life fully, made all the choices, and died with the music still in his heart. He was like that “Feather” touching me every now and then all along my life. That feather symbolizes the cycle of life and death, and one of the new beginnings.
As I pay tribute on his 36th death anniversary, one thing that touches me is I can find out and play all those Rafi, Kishore, and Yesudas songs, but I have forgotten his voice, only those f(e)ather touch images keep vividly coming back again and again.