I ‘just’ don’t look like him. But I believe I am like him, in bits and pieces and shapes. For Eg the shape of my funny nose is like him.
Of all the qualities that people remember him for, one that stands out for me is ‘Contentment’, which is second best to his ‘politeness’ which in turn is second best to ‘Humility’.
Appa was content. He was peaceful every second of his life, and in death too.
I don’t remember any of the lessons I learnt in School or College.
But some of greatest life’s lessons were passed on to me from my Appa.
Appa did not teach me how to live. he lived and let us watch it. He was the biggest lesson. Unforgettable, Unbelievable and a priceless lesson.
Of all the different caps that he has worn and flaunted, Parenting shines like the biggest and bestest ever. For, to parent a child like me, was not an easy task.
My top 6 takeaways from Appa are;
- He called me a Bluff:
He called it all a bluff. My fears, my failures, my weakness, he knew it all and called it a bluff. My struggling Engineering days, when I fell on my face semester after semester with no hope of getting up, he called my failure a bluff. He literally misled my failures to success. He deceived me into a winner while I was clearly losing. He stood by me on my worst days and disappeared on my best days. I still believe he is handholding me every step of my life leading into light second by second.
2. He told me, ‘Don’t follow Christians’:
He was such a devout Christian, that he refused to display fancy Spirituality. For him both were very different. I would wake up to the scene of Appa, sitting beside me and reading the Bible. I will dose off each night with the divine sight of Appa kneeling down and murmuring prayers for us. He always told me, Don’t follow Christians. Follow Christ. Both are very different. He never preached. He only Practised. He was Christ like in every step of his life. I once told him, ‘Appa, I want to become like you. For which he replied, ‘Don’t become like me. I am just a Human. Be like Christ”. Its a shame that, I have never mastered it till now.
3. He never invested ‘On’ Me:
Some people said, that Appa could afford some more houses and more wealth and gold and land. But Appa would laugh it off when I ask about it. I knew the meaning of that laugh. He did not give any value to anything materialistic. He did not invest anything on me. But he did invest. He invested ‘IN’ me. He invested in my life, my childhood, my teenage and my complicated after teenage life. He invested in my education. He gave me wings to fly. He flew ahead of me and taught me to fly. He invested in the core of my heart. He invested his entire life to groom this nothingness. Appa, Iam indebted to you for this forever.
4. They are either ‘Ignorant’ or ‘Innocent’:
Every time I would run to Appa with some trivial people issues, he always listened patiently and carefully and the answer would always be ‘People are people ma. They are either Ignorant or Innocent to say or do such things. This would obviously piss me off. Unlike some parents he was never biased in his opinion, just because I was his daughter. He never let me host those petty pity parties. He would sympathise with me, but never let me ride on it and attain self righteousness. Although I find this logic is a difficult pill to swallow, when I clearly know that the other person has wronged me, I swallow it anyway for the face of Appa. And I think it works, its his Secret Ingredient to Eternal Happiness. Trust me it worked for him. not for me 🙂
5. Money is everything:
Yes, you read it right. Although Appa never told me that ‘Money is Everything’. He lived in such a way that he taught me ‘Money is Everything’. For Eg, When you take that public transport, and avoid a cab ride, you saved some extra bucks for your family. When you resisted the temptation to eat your favourite Biriyani and came straight home to eat the leftover food, you saved a couple of more extra pennies for your daughters education. However I have not done anything of the above. The Man with humble beginnings who was and is the life of his family, did all he could to save some extra Rupees, for he knew that ‘Money is Everything’ for a modest family of a hardworking father. He covered us up with his sacrifice, and today after his death, Asir and I ask ‘How and Why’ ?
6. Die while you are happy:
When Appa turned 66, I made a visit to Chennai just to be with him on that day and spend some time with him. Least did I know that it will be our last birthday together. And the words he shared with me on that day, are gold just pure gold. He told me, ‘Nalla irukum bothe poidanum ma. Yaarukkum oru kashtamum kuduka koodathu. Sirichukuttae poidanum. Padukaila irukave koodathu. Sonthakaarangalukkulam thontharavu.’ The above is loosely translated as ‘I want to die in my good days. I don’t want to be in sick bed and be a trouble for anyone. I want to have a peaceful death quiet and calm and never ever trouble anyone for even a single day.
I sometimes wonder what made Appa think like this. He probably knew me. he knew the ugly me, the me that would not take care of him in his sick bed. The me who would abandon him on this worst days. the me who will not wipe his left overs and wash his dirtiness.
He probably did not believe me, else why would he wish so.
But whatever the reason, Appa’s birthday wish was granted. He left without any fancy farewell and much announcements. As he wished, peaceful, without a day of giving trouble and a life time of guilt to people around him.
But reflecting back on his life, this will be my wish too. To not trouble anyone and to live and die peacefully.
Thank you Appa, for being my Appa. In all of the world, God chose you as my Appa,and I must say ‘Job well Done’. Am indebted forever.