My dad, my hero

My dad, my hero

Most of us may have encountered at least one great person in our lives, although we may not have realised how truly great they are. I never had an opportunity to meet Gandhi, Nehru or Churchill.

However, I did meet the greatest man I have ever known, my father. I like to call him Abbajan.  He was a cheerful, wonderful, and positive person. He had a good spruce personality and was fair like a European. Whoever met him would be impressed by his approach. I always aspired to be like him — a hero. For me, he was the ultimate in savoir faire and savoir vivre; I could not imagine him at a disadvantage or at a loss to deal with a situation.

Once, as a small kid, I contactedwhooping cough, which was more often than not fatal to a toddler of my age then. I required round the clock care to keep me alive. As a result of trauma to my head because of the ceaseless coughing, my eyes became crossed.

Even as I recollect the times of my childhood sickness, I remember how Abbajan pulled me through the ordeal with his constant nurturing, support and care. I can never forget how he took me to the hospital when I almost collapsed. I can still feel the warmth of his hand on my brows and then on the restrains as they were loosened and I was being picked up in his arms and carried away through a cacophony of morning lunatics on the loose.

I kept my eyes closed and leaned my head on his chest and listened to the steady beat of his heart. I felt comforted and safe for a few moments, but soon we were in another room and he was lowering me gently on the bed and covering me with a soft blanket. He sat on the edge of the bed and raked my hair with his spidery fingers.

I don’t know for how long I slept.

When I woke up, he was by my side, nodding off. “Why am I here, Abbajan?” I asked and he opened his eyes smiling silently. “Why can’t I go home, why can’t I go back to school?” I demanded, my voice anxious and fidgety. “Just a little while longer, you’ve been very sick, my child. A few more tests and we’ll take you home.” He seemed very distant, detached and slightly apologetic. But, he reassured me that I would be going home soon.  

Holding his hand to my cheek, I asked him, “Will you have me tied down again?” “Not if you behave.” “But I didn’t do anything wrong, Abba Jan!” I protest and whined, as tears choked me. I couldn’t be a big baby in front of him, I knew. He got up abruptly then and walked away from me, hurrying out the door with an “I’ll see you later.” No hug, no kiss, no looking back, nothing. That left me worried; however, he returned a while later. Likewise, perhaps, he may come back now. I miss you, dad.

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