Of a Hero

His mother once told me that he was stubborn (still is!)

That he got that from her.

When he was born, the oldest of 8,

His mother decided that education would be his ticket out of their difficult circumstances.

So his parents educated him. Went hungry sometimes but made sure he ate, his fees were paid and that his education never suffered.

He paid them back by making sure they never went hungry again. He went on to become the most educated person in his family. Moved out of Kerala. Took care of every one of his seven siblings and made sure that each was well settled.Made sure his parents were taken care of. Every wish his parents had, he made sure he fulfilled. Unconditionally and without expecting anything ever in return. Despite all the difficulties he’s had to face.

When it came to me, he played different roles in my life.. at different ages.

He was my elephant between the ages of 0-4

He was the master storyteller of ONE story.-of the hen who made payasam. One that he still insists on telling. It was the most important story ever since it meant I wouldn’t sleep until I’d heard it.

He was the experiment who sat patiently while I applied several coats of powder on his face, put 7-8 ponytails in his hair and three bindis on his forehead.

He was the man on my who believed that I am destined for greatness but I am also too lazy for my own good.

He was the confused relation during my angst ridden teenage years. Because he didn’t get the rebel without a cause concept, and I expected unconditional acceptance. He was the angry man and the opposition in our legendary blow-ups since we never seemed to see eye to eye on anything during this period.

I don’t know when he made the transition from angry confused relation whom I didn’t relate to, to a friend.

He was the person I talked to when I first thought I was in love.

He was the friend who made me a cup of coffee when I was hungover the first time.

He was the friend who held me while I bawled when my heart got all broken.

He once told me that I was raised to think for myself so I should use my god given brains to take decisions. To own my life and my responsibilities. If my decisions screwed me over, at least I’d know they were mine.

He’s always had my back.

Even when he didn’t understand.

Even when he was hurt and I’d hurt him bad.

Even now.

I don’t always understand him. We still argue. Fight.

But it is because of him that I am who I am. He filled the house with books when he didn’t even have a reading habit. He gave me the best education. Exposed me to things that a girl from a super conservative society in Kerala wouldn’t normally be exposed to. Told me that my grey matter and thoughts mattered and that anyone who thought otherwise shouldn’t be given any space in my life. Of course promptly regretted it when all i did was butt heads with him and his thought processes and question every damn thing. I’ve been told he was rather proud of me though thoroughly annoyed by it.

12573716_10153277992061631_3218733760472749041_n

He’s been there. Always. Counselor. Friend. Man with high standards.

He’s been there. Taking care of everything and everybody. He still does. He never gives up.

I’ve inherited quite a bit from him- my love for cooking, for good food,  and according to my mother- every single annoying habit he has.

He’s been through a lot. Hard times. Happy times. Been betrayed by people he thought were friends. Not been given his due. But through it all- his faith in people never seemed to take a beating. His love never changed.  He doesn’t hold a grudge and tends to forgive pretty damn quick. It’s taken me ( I can hold a grudge and I take a terribly long time to forgive) a long time to realize how special that quality is. That, that kind of love was a strength and not a weakness. And that forgiving meant those people never really occupied mind space. That you could continue to see the nice side to people love them for that. He was nobody’s fool, but he chose to do things he thought was right. Always. His standards were high and he upheld that- irrespective of the behavior of others. Even people who may have disliked or disagreed with him, always respected him. His work defined quality-personal or professional.

He is a person who makes the ordinary- extraordinary- just by doing it so well.

He talks to my kids everyday. They tell him stories and stuff going on with them because he lets them know that every thought they have is important to him.

He is a Hero. One that most of the world won’t meet, see or hear of.  He’s touched the life of so many people just by being the wonderful person he is.

Today he lost his brother in law. So it’s been a rough day. In the midst of death, grief and chaos-He turned 70 today. I thought it was important to celebrate life. One that has been lived beautifully so far.  Happy birthday to the first man who held my heart. My dad. I am incredibly proud to be your daughter. Whenever I meet others and see how differently and awesomely I’ve been raised- I realize I have you and Amma to be so thankful to and for. And I am. Grateful Everyday.

Happy birthday, Achan!

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Baby Boy mine…

So marathon blogging it is. Monika Manchanda had a brainwave of writing a post a day in December… she shared on FB and before she could think another thought… a whole bunch of us had joined right in.So here we are

3465_10151362331230815_589766811_n

Baby boy mine,

You’ve just turned five. Yes FIVE!!! That’s five years of joy, countless moments that overwhelmed me…

They say a soul chooses its parents. So in addition to applauding your superb taste- May I just say- Thank you. It’s been been a wonderful five years. You bore the brunt of my learning curve as a mom. You’ve taught me so many things. It’s been loads of fun growing up again with you. I can’t believe you’re five and you’ve grown up so fast.

So many things I’d like to tell you. You brighten up my day with your logical mind. Yes, it feels like I’m living with Unni maama again. You always seem to be coming up with things..The other day you told me your bath water was “luke cold”  and when I asked you what you meant,  you just said ” when lukewarm water is not warm enough” or the time you asked me what a cyclone was- I explained it to you and when you little sister asked you, ” was cyclone” you said… “Oh, its just a whirlpool in the wind”.

Your frustrations with the women and girls in your life seems to be finding a voice in various ways. One day you refused to go to school because there were not enough boys in your class and “those girls just don’t listen.” Your papa had a hearty laugh and told you that if you ever did figure out a way to make the girls listen to let him know. Here’s another example…

703570_4904930344151_746909062_o

You’ve picked up your reading habit again over the last year and half and its absolutely wonderful to see you read  Dr. Seuss to your little sister. Me, I can probably recite “hand hand fingers thumb” in my sleep given the number of times we read it. I’m going to give you a piece of  advice and as you grow you’ll find that mamma does a lot of that- Don’t ever give up reading. Some of the best journeys I have taken are through the pages of a book.  Some days you sit with your nose immersed in a book tuning the world out and and I feel irrationally proud.

But what made me feel like I’m doing a decent job as a mother- your caring attitude. Yes, in the house you and Mishti drive me insane with all the fighting and arguing and generally bugging  each other.. but the moment you’re outside the house you’re her big brother. We’d gone for a diwali party and as you headed out with your bunch of friends, you turned to me in the lift and said,

“Mamma, I’m going to play with my friends so please keep an eye on her and make sure she doesn’t go near the crackers. Okay?”

Melted my heart right there…

You were trying to teach Mishti to play hide and seek- one that you recently mastered. Mishti hides and when you ask aloud “where is mishti?” She either starts laughing out loud or says “I’m not there” and despite constantly explaining it her.. you just gave up and indulged her. Here’s a pic of the both of you hiding when mamma was the seeker. When I asked you “why there?”  you said, ” she wanted me to hide here and I didn’t want to make her sad. ”

hiding

There are just so many more things I want to tell you.. write in detail about all those heart melting moments…but for now I’m just going to say- I just love being your mom and I’m so waiting to see what this year with you brings..

Happy birthday lil boy!!

love loads,

Mamma