Saturday, June 18, 2011


"The words that a father speaks to his children in the privacy of home are not heard by the world, but, as in whispering-galleries, they are clearly heard at the end and by posterity." ~Jean Paul Richter

I lugged the picnic-basket up the little hillock. It was a bit heavy for me but that didn't matter. After all, it contained our “victory treat." I just managed to keep up with my brother and father, who were carrying our prized kite and the paraphernalia that goes with kite flying. Daddy had clubbed a picnic along with the kite-flying event. I was flushed with excitement. We were going to "finish off " all our contenders that day with our daddy-of-all kites, in our area at least. It was between 3 1/2 - 4 ft I think.

The kite was a beauty, really big and daddy had reinforced the ordinary twine to hold and lift it against the wind. All this was painstakingly made by my father because my brother and I lamented that we never "got the better of the others."

Indeed, it was a day to remember. A victory constructed for us by Daddy.

I was six years old then but many decades later, the memory is as fresh as ever. There are myriad memories painted on the canvas of my childhood, and Daddy made the best of these. Some of these stand out more than the others because they have moulded me; given me strength; inspired me and filled my heart with eternal hope.

I was the youngest then, of four children. My younger brother was born much later. I was a tomboy and this aggravated my mother especially since my other siblings were docile and quiet.

Daddy had a big hand in moulding my interest in boyish pursuits. Of course, he didn’t realise it but the tales of his boyhood, which rivalled Tom Sawyer's, fired my imagination. It drove me almost to the point of setting out to explore the world at the ripe old age of eight. I got into scraps with boys who picked on my brother, crept through the underbelly of a bridge to the middle, to catch a whale from the backwaters of the Arabian Sea with string and a tiny hook! I even jumped off an eight-foot high ledge with a parachute made of a tablecloth, in order to be the youngest para-jumper at age seven (fortunately I didn't break any bones!) And these adventures are only a minuscule part of my life back then!

I suspect Daddy liked the firebrand element in my nature, for he never reprimanded me nor criticised my escapades. However, I'm sure it began to alarm him at some point because he introduced me to music, dance, drama, drawing and painting. He began taking me to visit museums and historical monuments and encouraged my interest in History and Art.

At about this time he also began talking to me about the values of life and Jesus. Not as one would with a child but as he would with an adult. There was much I didn't comprehend at that age, but this was to be the drift of our conversations in the future. So, what went over my head then, finally went into my head and my heart, as I grew older in years and understanding.

I have to tell you about Daddy's singing. To my mother's embarrassment, Daddy would burst into song while walking down the street, causing passersby to turn and stare. Oblivious to my mother's scowl, I'd clap and laugh and join him if I knew the chorus - for those were the songs he sang. His favourite was -

Trust in the Lord and don't despair
He is a friend so true
No matter what your troubles are
Jesus will see you through.

Sing when the day is bright
Sing through the darkest night
Every day, all the way
Let us sing, sing, sing

Marriage took me away from home, widowhood brought me back. My husband's death unleashed years of turmoil and struggle. I saw many masks fall off, and many of my idols topple from their pedestals. Bereft of comfort and support, I found myself falling back on all that Daddy had taught me. My trust and faith in God grew stronger with every onslaught of misfortune. Was it surprising then to find myself singing – “Trust in the Lord...” as I wearily lay my head on my pillow? It was Daddy again.

My idols had toppled from their pedestals - but not my Daddy.

When I look back today, it is with immense gratitude to a parent who gave me a goal and showed me the path to tread. It's been a long haul Daddy and I want you to know how much you have meant to me...I love you and remember you fondly.


  1. Absolutely wonderful, my dear Joy!

  2. very nice Khushi, well captured.

  3. Thanks Gayatri. I'm glad you liked it.

  4. Pleasure to read this fine note "with immense gratitude to a parent who gave ....the path to tread" - Father-daughter relationship has many layers of bliss as well. Thanks Khushi. He is always there with you !

  5. Thank you Raj. Yes, we did share a many layered relationship.