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Jun 29, 2011

And the Heartbreak…

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This is about Riddhie’s reaction on seeing me after a gap of five weeks.


Dear Riddhie,

It had been over a month and the wait was agonizing. I dozed off multiple times for short durations during my flight home and kept dreaming about you – your last few pictures sent in by your mother, fresh on my mind. I kept thinking about the way you would probably jump up upon seeing me and the kind of feelings that would be stirred at the moment.

It wasn’t until a few hours after touching ground that I got to see you. I rode back home at devilish speed from Gurgaon with a heavy backpack on my shoulders. As soon as I came in, I wanted to see you and rushed in to the room where you were sitting. I called your name and stretched my arms to pick you up and to my dismay you looked back with a confused expression and hid behind your mom.

2Every following attempt made by me to pick you up worsened the situation till the point you could contain no longer and howled your heart out. It was heartbreaking to see you cry out aloud and shirk away. Of all things I imagined, I actually did not consider that you would fail to recognize me altogether.

There I sat, at one end of the bed cooing and coaxing you to crawl towards me and you constantly chose to ignore my being there at all. You did not even look at the doll and other things that I brought you and kept tugging at your mother’s dress suspicious of this ‘stranger’ who had walked into your periphery.

1This did not end soon and with every furtive glance you threw at me from a distance, you seemed to withdraw further into your shell. Even if I made half a gesture to come near, you frowned at my attempts and looked to cry at the drop of a hat. As the night fell and I reclined to the bed, you rushed to your mom and started crying again pointing at my direction. It wasn’t until late in the night when you slept on your mom’s tummy that I could get near you and stroke your head for a while.

Though the morning after and the next day turned out to be slightly better, this little incident on the day of my arrival made me realize the importance of little things in life all over again.

With my current profile and job description, I shall be required to travel quite a bit in days to come and very often I shall not be able to take you along. At your age now, you don’t care much about who is around you as long as your mom is close and you get a change of diapers and your milk as and when you need. In years to come, as you get aware of my presence, you shall probably want more of me. However, I am sure there would come a time when you would want to be out with your friends and would want to see lesser of me; maybe would even want me to doze off early in the night so you could sneak past me to your room. I guess every age has its own shade and its own palette of hues. When time comes, you and I shall sit together and read through these letters and smile maybe.  For now, I shall continue to find ways to win you all over again and make you rush over to me with a sunshine smile and open arms.

Love,
Dad.

Jun 15, 2011

Time and Tide…

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“This one begins with a riddle that you shall probably take half a second to answer (with whatever search technology you would be using when you are ready to read this). Find this song and play it when you read it. The song was written by former Louisiana State Governor Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell in 1939 and it is one of the two official songs for the state of Louisiana”.

I will give you another hint. This song has been rendered by Ray Charles, Bing Crosby and Johnny Cash and over a dozen others….sunshine. :)


Dear Riddhie,

I am, hopefully, about little less than a week away from seeing you again and just can’t wait to hold you. The last few days have been taxing on the work front and I can foresee that things would continue to be a little crazy even once I am back. There are things to do and plans to make and people to visit and then more things to do after that I guess. I am not sure as of now, which way would things turn out to be and you may find this letter to you to be a little vague on details but then, if life followed a plan, we would all have been dead by now.
 
To tell you something, when I was a kid, people travelling overseas were not so common as they are today (when I write this letter to you). During the 80s, the average Indian didn’t really have the means or choice in cars, telephones, color TVs and other gadgets that one has access to these days. You may find it really hard to believe but there were no air conditioners or power backups in our house when I was a child and we often used a petromax lamp for light while studying or having our dinner when the power was out. Today, there is an abundance of information available at your finger tips and you have access to resources, books and libraries that I, as a kid could not even think about.

I am sure that most of the day to day hardships that we saw in our routine lives would be wiped out by the time you are ready to step out in the world or pursue higher education. I, meanwhile shall continue to do my bit in ensuring that you get all what you ever need and I say need and not want because there is a difference and perhaps as you grow up you shall realize this as well and will see that the divide between needs and wants continues to widen unless you learn how to control your mind. But then, I guess, as long as my intellect and my body permits I shall try and be that bridge between your needs and your wants. I shall try and provide for everything that a young princess as yourself must have and I hope that on all occasions when I fail, you shall never get to see the holes in my soles.

I don’t know what will you value more in life when you grow up? A dad who is away but brings you all the toys and goodies that you would want or a father who comes home to you after work with whom you can play the same round of carrom every evening.
 
I shall let you decide how you wish to go about your life but then I would also want you to be aware of the fact that there is always a cost attached to luxuries in life and the cost varies depending on what one has to offer. I guess this time around, it was my time away from you. In the last 4 weeks of our lives, I made my first trip to the New York, Philadelphia and Washington. I saw the world and went places and clicked a lot of pictures but the downside of it all is that I missed out on about 25,92,000 moments that I could have spent being around you and watch you laugh, cry, create a ruckus and spread sunshine into my life.

I don’t want to turn this letter into another lecture. The essence is simple and I am sure you would have gathered it by now. I have been missing you and I can’t wait to be back. Now with vitals out of the way, let me close this letter by just saying that at this moment when you are still unmindful of my existence in your life, I hope that all this running about yields some dividend and makes this whole effort worthwhile.

For you, I shall just post these picture with thanks to one of your mom’s good friend – your Shrimi Aunty who clicked them this very afternoon and sent across to me.

RiddhieRiddhie Riddhie
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