My dad. Loss of a parent.

This is part of a small therapy session where I write to the world about the problems I am going through, I am someone who doesn’t like talking about my problems and emotions.

My father was a fun man. I had him for 25 years of my life, which is unfortunately much lesser than what people will have their fathers for.

He was often referred externally, as a public figure, as the most successful and all rounded man. He single handed, with a comparatively low-income background, went to the best education centres in India and then to the USA.
You can name all the ‘cool’ things anybody had to be cool — in all probability he was all of it, and then surprise you more with insane things like, say, backpacking in Italy in the 80s.

Indian Institute of Technology? Done.
 Harvard? Done.
 Stanford? Done.
 Research patents with royalty? Done.
 Philanthropy? Done.
 Partying? Don’t even get me started..let’s say parties may have started without him, but they couldn’t end without the ‘life’ of the party being there — my dad.

Left everything in the USA (a dream for most of the Indians) after years, and came back to build and develop the most prestigious, lifeline of the middle class in India — Indian Railways — Done.

A great father, strict, funny and would let me do anything till the time I didn’t bring back problems to him. 
I admittedly, didn’t have the best relationship with my father the last 3 years, nevertheless, by Indian standards that means I was not talking to him every day for 15 minutes, probably for 5mins.

He did everything possible to make our family as privileged as any body could be in any country in the world. A lot of passions, habits which I have today, are in retrospect — my dads.

Indie music? Thanks, Dad.
 Consumer electronics? Thanks, Dad.
 Bass guitar? Thanks, Dad.
 Computer science? Thanks, Dad.
 Respectful atheism? Thanks, Dad.
 Partying? Thanks, Dad.
 Living kingsize? Thanks, Dad.

And most importantly -

People skills. Thanks, Dad.
 This man, my father, put in a religious amount of effort to maintain, foster and care for his connections and relationships.
 Which is something which I idealize, as someone who never puts in enough effort to maintain relationships and connections, this is something which I am actively taking note to fix within me.

The emotional void he’s left behind is something which will obviously never be forgotten and hurt that he’s not with me, my family, to experience the rest of our lives which will eventually catch up to us.
 As the youngest member of the family of four, and my parents being the youngest within his siblings, had me as someone who would be distraught at this. And the fact is, that I am. But everyone mourns in their own way. I just wanted to say a couple of things to anyone going through something similar, which is losing a parent.

  1. Broken crayons, still color.
  2. Life, goes on.
     This is something which initially I had trouble accepting, at how easily does the clock tick when your life has just been broken in millions of pieces and is never going to be the same. How dare the clock tick so easily? Eventually, the only thing which barely helps, is time, nature and the acceptance of the fact that the clock is going to tick, there will be dusk- then dawn, it’s been 2 months, and that’s what helps.
  3. You will feel guilty.
     You could’ve been stuck in the worst traffic caused by weather, but when you miss your flight, you are still going to feel that you could’ve left a little earlier.
     It’s a human emotion, mine were binging on the lines of selfishness, self-deprecation of self and my work, the guilt of not being there enough ( even though I was by his bedside in the hospital for 4 months).
  4. You will cry, when you least expect yourself.
     In Hinduism, on the 13th day after the death, there’s a peaceful remembrance procedure. That evening, dads siblings, their kids, my cousins and my family were all sitting around, and my dads elder brother — started to sing. I went to pee, and in the loo, I cried. I cried so much. I fell down, crying, all alone at my father not being here.
  5. It’s OKAY to be not okay. And it’s okay to be okay as well.
  6. For a while, everything seems meaningless. 
    As a posthumous tribute, the Government of India wants to name some infrastructure project on his name. Everybody came to know about this, was in awe. But I had such mixed, mostly negative emotions on this. And mainly, as standing on a fricking road which is named for my father isn’t going to make me feel like I am with him. This sounds privileged and spoilt, I know. Further states, that the passing away of a parent is indifferent to any strata of the society.

Originally published at Akhil Singh.

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