CREATIVE FICTION : A Life with no regrets By Ramya Vivek
My journey to Rameshwaram didn’t start on a somber note, as expected, considering I was carrying my father’s ashes to be scattered at the temple town. It was natural that my relatives should think that I was one cold- hearted offspring for not even a single drop of tear had escaped my eyes ever since I laid my eyes on my father's lifeless body, and not even at the moment when I saw him laid upon the pyre.
Well, I could never cry for I would want to remember my father as the person he always was - ever smiling and ever ready to help people. He would always be seen with a childlike glee with a neverending enthusiasm to learn new things. My father had a glowing heart full of love. He was a person, who could never think bad about someone, even if that person himself comes up with a huge placard stating he was bad.
My father was just 27 when my mother passed away, leaving him to fend for himself. Well, he was not alone. He had me, a tiny one-year old responsibility, standing by his side, clinging on to him, tugging at his trousers. He had just lost the love of his life, yet looking at my innocent smile had given him, his life's purpose, he had told me later.
He happily assumed the role of my mother, from becoming my nanny to being my first teacher and my play buddy, he lapped up every role of a mother, like he was born to lead the role. He tagged along with me to my doctor’s appointment to parents-teachers meeting. My father would be the only male, representing his child amidst the sea of concerned mothers.
‘Why don’t you remarry?’, he was asked time and again. He always offered them his toothy smile, telling them that he has got me, letting them know that I had therefore become his only love now, taking up my mother’s place. I would always beam with pride, hearing his love filled words for me, knowing that I would never be replaced in his life.
My father was my best friend and I was forever his confidant. Growing up, he never let me miss my mother.
He learnt to comb my hair with such precision, learnt to cook for me, he was the one with whom Ì discussed my first periods. I can never forget that day. I came back from school like a frightened kitten, he sat me up and pacified me. He looked at me with utmost affection and cared for me like how a mom would. Time and again, he had let me know how proud he was of me and I know he meant it every time.
Whenever the topic of my marriage cropped up among the relatives, I used to stop them even before it could become a point of discussion. I could never leave my father. Period. We were just enough for the both of us and we never needed a third wheel in our relationship. I was sure about it. My father was my date to every party I went. I was so sure that I couldn’t find another soul who could love me the way, my father did. He had set a benchmark that no one else could ever reach. My friends were forever jealous of our bond for, they could never forge such a bond even with their mothers. What they ever failed to understand is that my father is one of a kind, a unique soul, a singled out human specimen, after creating whom, even God paused to admire!
As I was sitting in the corner seat of the train leading to Rameshwaram, I couldn’t help, but remember the last discussion we had. He was growing weak. I could definitely see him fading in front of my eyes. One day, he called and sat me next to him. Looking at me adoringly as always, he expressed his last wish of me taking care of his last rites and I promised him exactly that, society be damned. I could still remember the glint in his eyes, as he spoke about my mom and how proud she would have been for the beautiful woman that I have grown up to be.
From ashes to ashes and dust to dust, my father has lived a full life. He never had any complaints. Even when life had thrown at him the greatest of challenges, he had faced them head on, complimenting them with his smile. He taught me how to live.
Why would I even cry for, I know he is there in my heart, in my every thought and word, guiding me.
I looked up at the sky and smiled, ‘My shooting star, I hope you have found my mom there!’