Readers, Be warned! These are wistful ruminations of a lonely father. At the cusp of a changing scenario, as my daughter returns to India next week. Am sharing this as I realise I am not alone in this inhuman, human situation! We all are missing our loved ones…so let me pour my heart out.
Rashmi was in London for higher studies for the past year. I have never been very expressive about my feelings… and my pain!! So I know how these past several months have been for me. To say the least, I have managed the long, long time which abysmally stretched, longer and even longer. I have missed my daughter at every moment. It was indeed the life of a blind man, groping around in a pitch black room. Because, as her name itself signifies, she is Rashmi…the ray of sunshine…the light of hope….the one bright spot in a father’s morning.
Thinking about Rashmi, I realised an old favourite sung by Mohammed Rafi for Parasmani movie, actually says what I want to say, and what I feel far, far better than I can by myself. So I am structuring this blog around the lyrics of that song. It truly feels as though the lyricist Asad Bhopali is putting my emotions and thoughts into words when he says….
रोशन तुम्ही से दुनिया रौनक़ तुम्ही जहां की
फूलों में पलने वाली रानी हो गुलसितां की..
सलामत रहो.. सलामत रहो…..
Rashmi has indeed been the sunlight in my dark life, and I believe wherever she goes, she spreads that sweetness and light. Yes she has had a good life…not the proverbial silver spoon in the mouth story, but she certainly walked on flowers and enjoyed a good existence.
Fortunately we could afford to give her what she wanted, when she wanted it. Many of our relatives felt we spoilt her. Sometimes even my wife was upset with me for not disciplining her enough. But my faith and trust was that like the cats, that Rashmi showered so much love on, she herself has the cat-like instinct of landing on her feet, and living life on her terms. She is not a predator, but she knows how to go behind what she sets her sights on! Like the cats, Rashmi has the same disdain for the world around her!! And walks with the same feline majesty, ready to take in her stride whatever life, and the vassals around her, want to offer. Naturally the only blessing I had for her was सलामत रहो.. सलामत रहो…..
Rashmi….तुम प्यार से भी प्यारे…क्या बात है तुम्हारी
क्या बात है तुम्हारी..आँखों में दो जहां हैं… मालिक हो दो जहां की
सलामत रहो…सलामत रहो हाए…सलामत रहो..
Vinita, my wife rings up and talks to Rashmi every day. Some days, more than once. Days go by when I have not talked to Rashmi. And frankly even when she calls, I only want to have a small, focussed conversation. Do you need money? Are you well? Are you eating properly? Besides these 3 topics nothing actually interests me. She is doing a course in Fashion Technology in the University of Arts, London. And I understand nothing of fashion. And cannot even grasp the nuances she tries to explain in the fabric construction, the color pallette, the fall and feel , etc. etc. I want that part of our conversations to end soonest!! And often I do directly tell her am in the midst of something, or with some people, or in a car, or whatever that can make her say….Baba we will talk later.
Does that mean I do not love her? do not miss her? Not a single day goes by where I do not regret sending her to London.
When she was here, I at least saw her every day, exchanged some pleasantries, some differences of opinions and angst, sat for a meal together, caught a movie (though our choices are poles apart), sat in the same room with our respective laptops,….basically sensed and felt her presence in and around me.
Now that she is heading back home, I am looking forward to the revival of those times and living together again. Welcome back Rashmi. Happy Homecoming my dearest.
But even as I say this, another fear looms large! And makes me morose. I must accept that…Now she will have to find another job. Now she will have to make a new life. Now she will have to prove herself in the professional space all over again. Now she will have to find new friends. Maybe…the time has now come….when she will also have to find a life partner. In this way or that….my baby Rashmi will fly the coop and I will be left alone again. For longer. In a darker cave.
Do I resent this? Do I hope that such a pass does not come? Do I hope that time stands still and let us be? Naaaaah! Never!!
Beginning from the cloistered, safe environs of Atul, to the big, bad gullies of wicked Mumbai, then living alone in Bangalore, choosing to do a project in Assam with Bodo weavers, then a brief but fruitful stint in Corporate India, and finally further education in London….all these steps have been progressively taking my darling daughter further and further away from home and hearth. Good? Bad?? Ugly??? Naaaah!!! Would I not support/encourage/push her to explore the world, if one had to live the life all over again? Actually I would not change anything! Except possibly say to her more openly and frankly how much I love her. How much I miss her. And how my life revolves around my little girl.
जीती रहो यूँही तुम
मेरी भी उम्र ले लो मेरी भी उम्र ले लो..
किस दिन दुआ न मांगी हमने तुम्हारी जान की
सलामत रहो.. सलामत रहो..
You are the real sunshine in my life: Love you hamesha, vikibaba