Memories of a man

The earliest memory I have of him is from one evening in our old home. We had to collect potable water from a nearby tap in the township, since the well in our yard wasn't always so clean. I had just returned from the playground, and had mentioned on the way back as I hung on to his hand that I was thirsty. He had gone out right afterwards to fetch water with a bucket in hand. In the dark summer evening when the electricity was out, I saw him entering through the door with a towel wrapped around his waist, hauling a solid iron bucket of water and ignoring the sweltering stillness of the humid evening. I was probably two or three years old at the moment. I walked up to him and said, "Baba, I am very thirsty". That seemed to put a special speed into his step. He nodded his head and assured me, "Right away"; filled water into a large filter jug and poured out a glass for me.

That sort of served as the model he set as a human being. My mom would say, "I never have to remind him to bring in some groceries or if something needs to get done. I just have to tell him once". As I look back in time, I can see the face of my 32-35 year old father who had just been married a few years back, raising a family and carving out his own corner of the world. He tried doing so by making sure that the people around him could rely on him. And he earned their trust through his deeds. If he told you that he was going to be meet you somewhere at 8 pm, you could be certain that he will be there at 8 pm. His wrist watch was always on time: never a few minutes "fast". He used to be a referee/umpire on official football and cricket games, a time keeper in intra-steel plant athletic events and the treasurer of his club. In our township around a steel plant where everyone knew everyone else, his reputation was an untarnished gold standard.

I would often accompany him during evenings when he would go for his "adda" with his friends and colleagues. As a small boy, I would be standing in the front of his scooter while he drove from home to this adda and back. I loved pressing the button that beeped the horn from the scooter. I actually looked forward to any herd of cows that would cross our path - then I would gleefully keep pressing it until he found a clear way out of the jam. He taught me that I shouldn't be blaring the horn when we drove through small gullies with residences on either side: it was okay to do so on the wide road. And then at the adda, I quickly picked up the phrase "হরি, দুটো চা দিয়ে যা এখানে" ("Hari, please serve us two cups of tea here"). Whenever people asked what my dad did when he went to this adda, to everyone's delight, I would imitate his deep voice as best as I could and tell them that's what he did at there. Oh, and one of the rituals of my accompanying him to the adda was also a nice fresh rasgulla from the shop when we were about to head back home. I remember the Banyan tree and the cemented altar around its trunk where they would sit while I played and ran around everywhere. I remember the strong yellow street lights that would illuminate the whole area. I also remember the bakery nearby where we would sometimes stop on the way home to pick up a baguette or a fresh raisin bread.

These are fond memories, and there are many more. I want to continue writing more of these posts about him while I can still recall some of them. Just because a person is gone from the earth shouldn't mean his memories are to be erased. Perhaps one day when I am old and my own memory fails, I would reminisce and relive my childhood through these posts. Happy birthday, Father - you would have been 65 today!

Comments

  1. Beautiful memories, Sudipta. It's sad that he's no longer with you, but your memories remain a tribute to his life. Well written, as always. As you said nothing better than recording your memories while still fragrant.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is true - the memories remain with me. I am afraid I will begin to forget these so I decided to jot them down.

      Delete
  2. thank u so much Chhanu for bringing back so many wonderful memories. & 2 be very honest, u did bring more than a few tears to my eyes. keep writing these posts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Borda! I will keep writing.

      Delete
    2. By the way, I never knew that you read my blog. Welcome to this side of my world! :)

      Delete
  3. Beautiful. These are really beautiful memories that should not be forgotten. Even if our memories fade we still can reread and reminisce it

    ReplyDelete
  4. Im thinking about my own dad , reading this. Im so glad you had a great dad.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I have begun jotting down about my old man as well.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular Posts