Remembering my father...

Remembering my father...

RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE

Representative image: iStock Photo

It’s been seventeen years since my father passed away.  He was a skilled surgeon with a legion of patients. They all swore that he had a healing touch and long before key-hole surgery became popular, he performed small incision surgery that healed with an almost invisible scar. He had trained several young surgeons and treated rich and poor patients alike. A self-made man, he lost his father at age fifteen and worked his way up through college and medical school. His Australian-born Professor so loved him that he made sure my father set up his practice before he left India. 

 Our house was an open house in those days and because father lived in the big city of Madras and was a surgeon, there was a constant stream of visitors coming in--to recuperate, deliver babies, undergo surgery, pursue college or find a job through his contacts. Perhaps not possible in times like these. Among many memories, I remember him talking about the time when fear of widespread plague gripped the city and people evacuated their homes.

On some earlier death anniversaries, I have been in transit or travelling but this time I was home-bound due to the lockdown. There was no priest coming in to do the rituals and veggies and fruits were in short supply. I lit a lamp and offered my father his favourite fruit--apples. I would have made some of his favourite badam-kheer had we not run out of almonds, but instead offered some cake that the grocery shop boy had sent by mistake instead of soda that I had put down in my list two days ago. Maybe he knew that my father liked cake.

Sacrilege you might think but my father and I have always defied convention. After all, being the only surviving child at the time of his passing I lit his funeral pyre

Simple offerings made I sat down in front of the picture of my parents and had a brief chat with my father. I thanked him for the kind of role model he was, for all that he provided--the education, upbringing and the values and qualities that I imbibed from him. I remembered the decisions my mother influenced such as the school I would go to--farther than the one my father wanted to put me in, down the road. 

This was a different way of commemorating his passing. There were no rice balls, til seeds and darba. It was a change without a doubt, but it was heartfelt.  Who would have thought something like the Corona outbreak would have engineered it?

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