He was engrossed in furiously dialling a number. “What happened?” I asked, alarmed at his expression. “I ordered the movie ‘The Net’ from here” he snarled furiously, pointing to a website he’d order movie DVDs from. “I’ve ordered so many movies and these idiots still send me the Hindi version.” I remember laughing at his answer and my dad looking at me with the most annoyed expression on his face. “What’s so funny?” he asked. “Of all the people whose order they had to screw up, they screwed up yours” I sniggered. A smile appeared on his face, and the next second both of us burst out laughing. The fact that he was screaming at the website people just minutes later did not matter.
It was January 2010. College was ending, and I had to make up my mind about whether or not to use the next academic year to study for the post-graduate entrance exams. This would mean studying at home all the time and not taking up a job. To be honest, I was a little worried about the situation, even though I knew dad always had a plan for everything. When I voiced my fears, he told me to shut up and not worry about the money. “Why do you worry about earning money? Leave that to me. You worry about studying”.
It is ironical that he passed away just seven months after we had that conversation. Today, I think about all the things that he missed in my life – he didn’t get to see me leave college with top honours, he didn’t get to see me graduate like he’d always dreamt, he didn’t get to see me quit my job to become a writer (I’d give anything to see the look on his face), and he didn’t get to see me make the most important decision of my life – to get married.
It will be four years this October since dad hasn’t been with us. I read blog a wherein the author spoke about the theory of exploded souls. It said that when a person passes on, his or her soul explodes into pieces and these pieces attach themselves to the individual’s loved ones. I’d like to think of it as pieces of legacy that they leave behind. If it weren’t for our dad, my sister and I’d be stuck watching, reading, and listening to crap stuff for a long, long while. We would have discovered Dante’s Peak and The Gods Must Be Crazy very late in our lives, we wouldn’t have had Deep Purple and ABBA on our playlists right since our teens, and we wouldn’t be reading The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr Hyde as we tried to juggle our lessons in school. Ever since he passed away, we have come closer to becoming a little more like him with each passing day.
However, dad’s biggest legacies are the memories he left behind for us – innumerable holidays, amazing Saturday dinners, constant admonitions for writing neat cursive, obsession with Sunday morning cleaning, angry expletives thrown at sloppy drivers; well, the list goes on. Today, on Father’s day, I remember all the happy times we had with him, the memories of which are enough for all of us to move on.
My sister left for a 5–week job training programme last week and she was sending me photographs of her daily life, which I was looking at listening to songs. One particular photo stood out. It was her name tag that listed the top 3 things she wanted people to strike a conversation with her about. The second thing on the list was ABBA. Even as I looked at the list, the song on my playlist changed to Our Last Summer. I’m sure my dad is laughing somewhere.