Hi, hello and namaste Pops. How are you doing? I bet you’re marking Diwali with Lord Krishna, Baa and Rewa in your flamboyant style. Everyone is running around you looking after your many friends and guests and you are holding court charming everyone with your brilliant conversations.
Dado today is Diwali, yes, my 6th Diwali (the festival of light) without your physical presence but I feel more closer to you then we were in life. Strange isn’t it! It is 2,127 days to be precise.
Yesterday while talking to a friend I realised again that I will never ever feel the closeness of heart that I have with you with anyone else, never. I will never feel my heart beating in sync as it did with you with another. It won’t ever happen. We were two peas in a pod, father and daughter. Kindred spirits and soulmates. I thank God for the gift of you in my life. The love I have from you will help me through until the end of my days. It is enough and I can’t ask for more from God. He has given me the ultimate gift of unconditional love from my father.
I remember our last Diwali together here in 2013. As usual I cooked a lot of your favourite sweets and together we celebrated the festival of lights in our own big way. Our home was open to friends and as usual I was running around spinning plates yet feeling happy because it was joyful to see everyone here who had come to see you. My first Diwali after you I remember not even lighting the Diwas/ candles and just working long hours trying to ignore Diwali. It was too painful. When anyone asked where I was and what I was doing you know by those kind souls inviting me over to join them I wouldn’t answer the phone. I just couldn’t. My world was dark and hopeless then I couldn’t see beyond my grief and broken heart. I felt like a vase broken into a million pieces with absolutely no hope of being put back together. I feel so sad when I think of how bereft I was. Only difference now is that I am grateful for going through this journey of discovery.
In the early days I read a piece in the Spectator by Mathew Paris who wrote about never wanting to get over his father’s death. I thought wow, here’s somebody who understands. That’s how I felt and still do. Why should I? I am my father’s daughter that is sacred and carries significance to me and who I am. The choice was clear even in the depth of despair, sink or swim. Being your daughter there was only one way to go.
Recently, I found myself comforting another bereaved orphan and found myself reflecting on how I coped. Walking for hours on end in the pouring rain with no destination in mind. My home is you. Sometimes I used to sit on the bench we used to sit on in our local park for hours on end crying my eyes out and feeling god how do I go on and why. Will I ever find a reason to smile? I felt numb and sensitive to anything that reminded me of how colourful life could be. I couldn’t even bring myself to paint my nails there was nothing or nobody that gave me a reason to keep going. I was praying to God take me to my Dad.
Fast forward here I am. I’ve never felt more closer to you then now. There is not a day that goes by when I don’t think of you or talk to you. Not a day goes by when I don’t tell you about my day, my worries or my joyful moments. You are with me always and like the ray of sun I feel your warmth and I see your smiling eyes. You made me and I have your DNA how can we be separate? In my highs and lows like before you are still with me sharing my every moment. I never say my home because it still is our home. In every room there are reminders of you. I have learnt to live and I am grateful for our time together.
In life you brought out the best in me and in death you do much more. You’ve helped me find me.
I know no one will ever understand my inner workings like you. That’s fine as I don’t want anyone else but you to get me like that. I didn’t realise how lucky and blessed I was having you in my life when you were alive. I took you for granted and often argued with you I am sorry for hurting your feelings as I know I did many a times. I have had to examine every aspect of my existence and it has been painful. I have had to dig deep Pappa and sometimes I feel I needed you so badly I need to put my head on your shoulders and cry my heart out but I managed to re configure our ‘new’ relationship and found comfort in carrying on as if my Pappa is still with me because you are. Ironic, the one person I needed when I was at my lowest because of you was YOU.
It is said that after death the soul either attains Moksha (salvation) or takes another birth. I am no expert in these matters but for me your soul and mine is an infinite energy and you and I are always connected regardless of which planet you and I are on.
So Pappa, on this 6th Diwali as usual when I woke up and opened my eyes I said Happy Diwali Dado to you first. Tomorrow I will take your blessings on new year’s day as I have always done. Nothing has changed.
Your daughter is strong and is still walking like you I won’t give up until I have completed my Dharma on earth. Last Sunday Pops I ran my second marathon, yes who would have thought I was capable of running 10k let alone two marathons. As I came to the finishing line I could see you standing there with open arms smiling with pride saying there’s my girl look my wagh(tiger) is coming. The place where I ran the marathon, 6 years ago in October is where I returned to the world of law 8 months after your passing to work as a locum solicitor. The route of the marathon took me over a bridge I had walked over many a times 6 years back. Then I was looking for ways to end my life now that thought never enters my head. What’s happened in between? I had to grow up. I had to dig really deep to climb out of a ‘hole’. You helped me Pappa through my darkest hour. You were there for me as you are now. As I came through the finishing line I was cheered on by my wonderful Coach who saw the running potential in me when I could see no hope. You sent so many angels to help me through this agonising yet enlightening journey and I am grateful to each one of them. You sent them for me, thank you.
The marathon route included some long and quiet country lanes and by about 17 miles it rained heavily. I found myself running alone surrounded by awesome trees in the beautiful countryside with the occasional sighting of some cows and marshalls. . I was wet through and even your handkerchief which I always take on my runs was soaking wet, the thought of giving up at 20 miles never occurred to me. The next day a friend asked me what kept me going in those quiet and challenging moments as there were moments when I wanted to lie down on the road as the legs were so tired. I replied to my friend after pausing for a moment and said, I was running with LK on my right and Dad on my left. In case you wonder, LK is the Lord. I wasn’t running alone there were hidden forces willing me on how else would I have completed the run plus beat my personal best by 57 minutes!! You know Dad just before this run I felt unprepared I thought I hadn’t trained enough but I was wrong, I was ready. On the morning of my run a friend text me to say many people believe in me. He was right all those people with you have helped me through.
My running is a living metaphor of my journey of the past 6 years. I know I will keep going. I still don’t know where but I know I’m coming home to you. Entering a marathon is quite an audacious act in my view let alone run it and complete it. Same way I have the audacity to say I am still standing with LK and my Dad by my side.
I am slowly getting to a point of equilibrium. Your death never made us apart and we can never be apart. Like the morning sun which comes out no matter what you, my father, are always with me every step of the way. I hear you and feel you in every cell of my being.
Thank you for being my ineffable father.
Happy Diwali my brilliant father, I love you Dado and always will. Any doubt? I hope not.
Your grateful daughter,
27th October 2019. Diwali. Year 2076.