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A Letter To My Late Father

By Ramya Sundara Raman

Dear Papa

It has been years since I’ve written something to you. I miss you ever second my life. I am still unable to process that it has been four years since you passed away. I am yet to come to terms with the fact that when I come back home, there’s nobody to welcome me with a hot cup of tea and biscuits. I don’t have anyone to annoy and fight with. I stare blankly at your picture whenever I feel helpless, begging you to speak like the portraits of the dead witches and wizards in Harry Potter movies.

Do any of my words reach you papa? Are you still around us or have you transcended this world and this birth and reached to your next destination?

I hug your picture and cry whenever I feel like there is nobody to understand me. I watch and re-watch our old videos whenever I feel completely broken. I see how you cared for me. I see that beautiful chivalry in you. The love you had for maa.

I hardly see any man of this day and age have anything like that. The more men I meet, the more disappointed I feel.

Everyone around me talks of getting me married off and then me having a child which resembles you. Amma is very vulnerable and comes into the words of anyone who assures her of being present for us. But even the presence of a Divine entity is useless to me, as you are all that I need papa.

Does your blood boil when someone tries to dominate our decisions, papa? Or would you rather let us obey the instructions people throw at us?

I keep feeling vulnerable without you standing up for me and my choices. I feel my life and my decisions hold no value without the support of an adult. I’m viewed as a child for making my own decisions, but as an adult, to beget children. How is this fair, papa?

My world turned upside down the day you left us abruptly. Nobody knew that death would come as an uninvited guest and steal you from us.

Am I sounding selfish? I often feel guilty when I remember you as I need you for ME. For my selfish needs. For my support. I never fully thought or processed your pain ever… how you would hide your pain when your company sacked you overnight without any notice. How you dealt with all of it. How you rose from it, got back onto your feet, and started working again…

Now that I am in your shoes, facing everything you did, I now understand why you asked for a little more discipline from me… Why you would keep waking me up in the morning and ask for some help in packing your and Amma’s tiffin. And now that I’m also working and have a hectic schedule, I now realize that I was never truly available for you papa…

I’m extremely sorry for it. I’m sorry for never asking you for coffee or tea immediately after you came back home. I’m sorry that I took your presence for granted. I’m sorry for never truly appreciating how well you took care of me and Amma.

I was cleaning your bag the other day and I found, carefully folded, the gift wrapper of the gift that I had given you, on the last birthday you spent with us papa.

I broke down and hugged your picture and wept uncontrollably… did my tears reach you in heaven, papa?

Do you also miss me there? Do you miss Amma there? I go for walking every evening in the opposite park and see old couples going for a lovely walk there.

I feel so envious of them. I see Amma break down in tears whenever she hears someone tell a younger person, ‘Deergha Sumangali Bhava’.

I don’t know how you will look in your old age, papa…

Would you also lose your hair like thatha? Would you lose your teeth? Would you have gone on pilgrimages with Amma to Bhadrinath and Kedarnath, as you always wanted to?

Would you like the man I would choose as my husband? Would you approve him for me? Would you have played all day with my kids as thatha played with me?

I won an award recently papa, for best dubbing… my eyes searched everywhere for you, but I couldn’t find you anywhere… were you in the audience, papa?

I have a volcano of feelings bursting all at once but everyone around me only talks of getting me married off. I want to run to you and hide in your arms papa. Will you pardon my selfishness and come back to save me papa?

Will I ever get any answers to my questions, papa?

Does heaven look so beautiful that the life on Earth seems too painful? Did you get a chance to ask God, what was on the Earth before the beginning of time? Have you forgiven everyone who did you wrong? My thoughts and questions are as muddled as I am, papa. Forgive me, I’m trying to get myself, my confused and sacred self and my life in order.

Never leave my side papa… I’m willing to bear any punishment for this selfishness… I need you always by my side papa…

Will you ever answer my letter, papa?

Awaiting indefinitely

Your loving daughter

Chickoo beta

By Ramya Sundara Raman

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