“The joy in a slice of mango is unmatched- pure bliss.”
What is it with fathers and mangoes? Why does a fruit as simple as this weave a web of memories of bygone days in my mind? Come summer and every year the season is welcomed by this green and yellow fruit. They may be juicy or tangy and sour. Yet, you could enjoy them in any way you choose.
My father loved the fruit. My memories of my childhood summers are full of my father’s antics with mangoes. Though I loved the fruit myself, I could never really understand his obsession with the fruit. All that I was really interested in was to dig my teeth into the juicy pulp.
It was a whole ritual. Every time he would go to our roadside vendor to choose the fruit himself. The right one had to smell right, look right and feel right. He would judge how good the mango is by looking at the stem point. After he brought them home, he would wash them well and peel the skin thinly with a knife. He would further slice them into thin long stripes or dice them and keep them on a platter. It would be then refrigerated for an hour or so, and served after dinner. Ah!!! The feeling then was sheer bliss…
Years have passed by….My Dad isn’t there anymore. And my passion for mangoes has somehow died along with him
I am a parent now and I do the mango ritual for my kids in my own way. I choose them randomly, hoping they are good. I lack the skill my father had. I skin them with a peeler, unable to slice thin with a knife. The only simlarity is that I refrigerate them for a while before serving. And yes, my kids love it.
I realized now, it was not his skill … It is the pure love that he had in his heart for the fruit and for us, to serve us the best.
Image Source: Pixabay
Children have this unique skill of giving the simplest of solutions to the most complex of issues in life. They can give answers to questions we ourselves never really manage to find. It’s amazing to see how innocence can address the complexities of life.
I lost my father in the early months of 2015, after a fierce and unsuccessful tryst with cancer. It was not a fight that was his alone, but it actually was the entire family’s fight. The grief that followed post death was pretty subdued. In fact it was more a relief that the pain and trauma the disease inflicted on each one of us had eased out. Through the months of 2015, despite me settling back into normal course of life, I would stumble upon things belonging to dad and ponder about the good old days.
On a warm Saturday afternoon, I sat in my verandah pondering over thoughts. The warmth of the afternoon sun was a comforting embrace, when all of a sudden my 7 year old propped her head on my lap, staring right into my face. She sensed all wasn’t well and asked me if I was missing grandpa. She had earlier asked me at the time of death as to what happened to grandpa, and where he had gone. I had then told her the usual story that now grandpa had become a star. But, somehow I felt like being frank at that moment and said, “Yes, I am missing him a lot today”.
My little girl thought for a while, held my hand and said, “Mamma, why do you feel sad? Grandpa is here only. He hasn’t gone anywhere”. I gave her a stare. She continued, “See Mamma, he has just become a star and it is morning time now, so you are not able to see him. When it is night-time, he will come out then you can see him”. She didn’t stop there. She added, “Grandpa is seeing you always, but you aren’t looking at him because you are always sad and then sleep in the night. So grandpa should miss you…”
I had a hearty laugh. Not that what she said made much sense to me, but I realized she had found answers in her own convincing way. Answers filled with innocence. It made me feel better and I smiled with an uncanny lightness in my heart.
Over and out to you little girl!
Image Source: Pixabay
Dad’s watch has become my most prized possession, since the day I cleared out his closet along with my mother. As the two of us, rummaged through his personal belongings, I picked up his watch, an old self-winding piece that had stood the test of time for over sixty years. And just seeing, touching and wearing that watch brought back a flood of memories and feelings.
Going through the dead man’s closet
If the death of a loved one is heartbreaking, then going through that person’s personal belonging post death is equally heart- wrenching. It took mom and me over six months to clean out dad’s belongings. Through the entire process of sorting, there were moments when mom would shed tears and look around her, as though she sensed his presence around. There were memories of him as we spoke of bygone days together, and finally there was that moment when we realized we must simply let go.
And we must let go
We began sorting out his stuff into “keep”, “throw” and “donate”. But by the end of the day we had realized that the box marked “keep” was almost full, whereas the other two boxes barely had items. We didn’t want to let go, and surely wanted everything that once belonged to him- an old pair of socks, a worn out shirt, an accounts ledger in his handwriting, a pair of shoes which would seldom fit any of us. There were innumerable other things such as coat buttons, comb and hankies. Finally, on seeing the pile that lay in front of us, mom decided that it didn’t quite make sense to hold on to each and everything that belonged to him. It was best each family member picked up one item of Dad that they liked.
Time is surely eternal
Of all the things that lay in front of me, I picked up Dad’s watch. An old self-winding watch, it belonged to my grandfather and Dad had picked it up when grandfather had died. At that moment, there was this sudden sense of calmness that seeped through me. The watch on my wrist, I felt the need to let go and move ahead in life. The watch had witnessed the vagaries of time. It had moved on from, death to life, to death. I realized, the only thing eternal in this universe is time. And surely years later there may come a time, when the watch shall pass hands yet again, when my time shall end.
*Image Source: Pixabay
Left us stiff through the way,
When Death Came knocking at our door.
Not once did he let us stay in peace;
Not once did he make us feel at ease.
He said at first let me in,
Of course we couldn’t let him win.
We tried and tried to keep him at bay;
But little did we realize it’s finally his say.
He took with him not father alone,
But money, cheer and left us worn.
Why us? I often asked;
Why so cruel? I often wonder.
But answer to this I seldom got,
It was him who got the last laugh
And left us all to just ponder on.
Linking with : http://www.writetribe.com/write-tribe-pro-blogger-challenge/
Dad was diagnosed with colorectal cancer on the 1st of March 2010. He passed away on 17th October 2014. His 4yrs and 7month fight against cancer has been tough not only on him, but on each and every one of us. Mom- the pillar of support, towards the end, started to lose her cool too.
On days she used to feel low, “L” and me kept pusing her spritis up telling her that we’ll fight it out. We wont let dad giveup. But she just had this one thought- Is he living with cancer or, is he dying with cancer?
Looking back, I feel maybe he is in a better place now, calm and more peaceful. No chemos, no PETs, no Adjuvant therapy nothing at all… I now truly agree with mom… he really wasnt living a life after diagnosis—- He was dying with cancer.
The 4 odd years of our lives have been tough. Starting today, I shall share all our experiances – diagnosis treatment, hospital rounds and all other aspects of fighting the ailment. I hope it helps other people probably in a similar state.
When Dad passed away, i was feeling very lost. Where had he gone away all of a sudden? i asked questions …many of them on life and death. As I watched the rituals unfold in front of me and Dad’s last rites, I really wondered if all this made any sense to the departed person.
I did mention this to “A”. He gave me his version. “A” thinks life is a form of energy. And energy cannot be destroyed, killed or removed, it is converted from one form to another. So then going by this explanation, if life is energy, what is it converted to when death occurs? “A” didnt have an answer, and said, these are things which science has to still find an answer too.
I am still lost.. Coudnt come to terms with Dads death, until I came across this beautiful piece on a blog titled Source of Inspiration. It sure has been a source of insupiration for me and I just had to reblog it.
So with all due credit to the blogger here is a must read.