Saturday, September 17, 2011

The Man Who Maketh Me

I always wanted to write about my father. Every time I sat down to write, I fell short of words; my thought flow stopped which ultimately ended in a blank sheet of paper. My father, a man who not only passed on his genetic DNA to me but supervised and carved me from a young shy boy into an outward thinking adult. His supervision was all but noticing me grow with my whims and fancies, with my stubborn desires and with my unforeseen agonies. His method of carving his child into a responsible adult was to stand as his back bone and let him explore and learn the world all by himself. Strange as it may seem, my father never ever advised me on anything whatsoever! He endured my desires along with me, probably living his childhood and youth all over again through his son. I love my father just for letting me be me. You teach others by teaching yourself is a highly thoughtful quote from Vedanta. My father told me that, when I was trying to impose my “righteous” decisions recently on my brother, his younger son.

On that eventful day, when my mother was in the final hours of labor with me giving a difficult time for the doctors, it was my father who held the nerve and comforted everyone around. After all, he had waited 6 years for that moment to arrive and when the moment of glory finally arrives, it brings in fear and nervousness too. Thus after a hard fought battle in the hospital and in my father’s emotions, I came into this beautiful world. My mother too, a brave lady fought through it [I would one day write on her too]. The other day, I found a note in his wallet. It was the calendar of March 1988, circled on 23rd and in his characteristic handwriting, my father had written: "My son, Vinay!" I melted down in respect and love for this great man. Today, when I sit back and recollect what is the most precious advice that my father gave me? I find no answer only to understand that no “advice” is best advice. He let me grow, nodding to everything I do, only pitching in to correct whenever I went horribly wrong. It reminds me of a time when our home got robbed in broad day light. I was 8 and all alone inside. The scoundrel thief ran away with my mother’s entire jewellery and some cash. Everyone around was going ballistic on me. On hearing the news when my father rushed home from work, he had only one thing to ask- “where is my son?” On seeing me, he exclaimed, “My little boy is unhurt, I thank God for that”. He later said “The money and jewellery are momentary; I will earn it back the next year.” He never mentioned about that incident again to me. By doing that, he not only taught me all monetary things are less important when compared to the people you care, but also to handle every crisis with composure. Out of all the personalities I fantasize of becoming in life, I want to become my father first.

I write this on this day seeing another father sob in agony. Mohammad Azharuddin lost is youngest son Mohammad Ayazuddin in a bike accident today [16th September 2011]. Azhar, as the country and the cricketing world dearly calls him was a nonchalant father who would have thought on similar parenting lines- The best advice is no advice. He let his younger son choose what he wanted to do in his life. Ayaz, as his family called him, was the dearest child both to his father and his mother, Azhar’s first wife Naureen. He told his dad one day that he would like to become a cricketer like him and Azhar was the happiest man in the world. He taught Ayaz the cover drive with patience and made him work for it. He would set aside his political meetings, for watching his son play. Somewhere in the corner of his heart; waiting for the moment his son to don the Indian blues just like he did. He would have hoped that one day his son will outplay him. He already had given wings to his dreams. For a father, it’s all but natural. So, when Ayaz asked him to buy a sports bike [Suzuki GSX R100] that would leave him poorer by 20 lakhs, he would have said- ‘Le Le beta.’  After all, his son’s happiness was his happiness.  Little did he know that the white elephant he bought his son, would take his life one day. The little boy was all of 19, when fate had nothing left for him. Harsha Bhogle tweeted on hearing the tragic news- “So many memories this morning of when I was 19, more recently of when my older son was 19.....the grief is unimaginable. ..and memories of the azhar i knew when he was 19. it is an age to begin life not to end it.”  Gaurav Kalra of CNN IBN writes thus:  Ayaz 'was'...Azhar 'is'...the baton has fallen...
Azhar with his son Ayaz.

The untimely death and seeing one of my all-time favourite cricketers sob and groan for a mistake that he would never do, a mistake which till this time he assumed as right for his son, makes me come a full circle. Life can teach the same lesson in different ways to different people with different perceptions. It can be cruel at times on innocent people. After all we all are mortals, aren’t we?

Oh God, if you are there up in the skies, please listen. For I can only pray but cannot order. I pray today, to give Azhar the strength to bear your mockery at his dreams. I pray today, to give my father the strength to hope that his son would one day stand up to his expectations. For I am not going to quit that early!

In Harsha’s words, 19 is an age to begin life not to end it. I am but 23, a toddler, if you want to call so…

I will be there for you Dad.

Love.