I have always loved the way my father laughs. A hearty laugh, mouth wide open, teeth shining and chest moving rhytmically with laughter.
He laughed when he talked about his adolescence, his friends, the pranks he played on the people around him.
Now he laughs less often. Only when a long forgotten incident comes up on his mind, he would smile, sometimes laugh, and share it with us. The cheerful laughter has taken a form of a closed smile. And now his chest moves the same way up and down, up and down but only when he takes the stairs or walks too fast.
The steady long steps that he used to take a few years ago are now careful and measured. No he is not too old, may be in his fifties, but the pain in his knees and legs is too arrogant to go away.
He is a man who inculcated in me the virtues of spiritualism. He is the man who had slapped me on my first mistake (I had bought bhel from the chanawala and
forgot to didn’t pay). I was a rebel as a kid. And when I won’t listen to my elders, he would sit me down and knock some sense into my not so matured head.
He would stand all day out in sun, and look at his buildings get constructed block by block. He could have sat in air condition in his office, giving instructions but he chose to be on site. It gave him immense pleasure to just be there. He would walk throughout the site, giving orders, taking charge. He trusted the supervisor, but he was too much in love with the site to leave it on someone else’s hands.
Not much has changed now. Even today he goes there without fail, but most of the time he spends in his office. His mind and heart never leaves the field.
He loves to cook and when he feels like it, he would order everybody out of the kitchen, and prepare a delicious meal for us. He is a great cook. Better than my mom I would say.
When I was sick , like bed ridden sick for months, he would sit beside me all day. helping with the little exercises I was supposed to do. He would tie knots on his handkerchief for me to open them. An exercise for my fingers. He would deliberately tie them loose to boost up my morale. But when I could not do it, he would excuse himself to the bathroom to hide his weak side from me, again to keep me strong.
My father and I are not much of a talker. We speak less on phone. Though its only been 2 and half years, I am married and staying away from him, I feel like I have been away from him since so long. I miss everything about him.
When I go over to spend a few days at my place, we don’t spend much time together. We don’t sit and talk for long. But I have my spirits high throughout my stay there by his mere presence. And my mom says he laughs a lot more when I am around.
A sight which is so rare now, a sight which I have always loved.
By- Sweety Pateliya