Letters

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I am missing my dad again!

They say that daughters are always attached to their fathers and sons to their mothers. Something to do with Oedipal Attraction. I totally agree. I always was close to my father. Still am.

My dad, Capt Sandeep Rathod was in 36 Rajasthan Rifles and was deployed in Jammu region. He rarely got approved leaves of absence and visited us once a year. We always looked forward to those precious 15 days of his company. I did what I always did whenever I missed him. I found his bundle of letters, which he regularly wrote to me and picked out one at random, dated three weeks ago. There’s a mystic quality in these hard copy letters which emails and live pings lack! May be, it’s the personal touch or the idea that the person has taken the trouble to write something, especially for us… It touches the chords of emotions. Once again, I read it through…

‘Dear Ananya, 

Was just reading your last letter for the umpteenth time. It always reminds me of your continuous chatter. The constant prattling in your letters give me the eerie feeling of being with you and soothes me in the desolation of these impregnable and proud mountains. 

‘It’s quite cold here. In winters the temperature falls to 48 degrees below zero. I see your oval face in the whiteness abroad! I believe that in spite of its ethereal whiteness, the snow isn’t fairer than your face. I remember your screeches when I reduce the temperature of AC to 16 degrees and am warmed by the irritated expression on your face. Haha!’

I smiled and looked towards the AC we bought last year. It  was struggling to maintain the status quo with the June heat, and losing the battle.

Ananya, do you still write those little poems of yours? Those quaint ones with a Japanese name? Haiku? I have kept a few you sent. I can’t say that I understand the full beauty of them. You know? I always thought that being from an older generation, I couldn’t understand this new style of poetry till one of my adjutants came by them and literally swooned after reading. He told me that this isn’t a new-fangled thing and is an ancient style of Japanese poetry, which was preferred by samurai during 2nd circa AD! He explained me the calculations of syllables and still I failed to understand. May be, like a finger pointing to the moon, I focussed on the finger and missed the beauty of the Opal Moon! I was more focussed on the grammar and calculations, than the essence of your innermost explosions! Trust you to love such a deep and mystic thing! Wow! You are so young and so old! I’m so old and so young! That’s why I always said that you are my mom!’

I laughed happily! I could imagine my clownish father trying and failing to grasp one of the oldest styles of poetry, whose complexity lays in its simplicity. I loved the lines Old and young, young and old! He unintentionally summed up the ancient Zen theory of Yin Yang. A soft mango has a hard seed embedded within the flesh of its rind. The old have a child within and the young have a grave old person hidden. I felt a surge of love towards the best father in the world. Don’t know why the corners of my eyes were wet.

‘Just returned from mess. I don’t know who coined the term ‘Mess’ for the army food cafeteria, but whoever did, used tautology. It’s really a holy mess! I got a chicken, which could have been an athlete in its prime and died of acute old age. Anyway, let’s keep the gastronomical discussions for those long evenings, when you cuddle up to me and ask for the tales of war. I think, we fight a bigger war for food than any enemy outside of our own realm! I still have my old love, you know? Maggi.’

My dad could never cook anything else. He proudly proclaimed that he was an expert in Maggi and omelet during his hostel days of engineering. I vouch for it.

I looked at his old photograph which was kept at my bedside table. It was of a handsome young man in his early 20s, resplendent in a dress uniform of a Captain of Rajasthan Rifles. It was his pic, when he was 24 years old. He looked so handsome in it! In my second year science, I discovered that genetics goes cross. Male is crossed to female and female to male. Boys look like their mothers and girls like their fathers. I’m proud to be the daughter of such a guy, who wasn’t only beautiful physically, but was a prince at heart! A goofy, little absent-minded, loving and sweet father any daughter can dream of! My eyes were wet. But, they always are, whenever I miss my dad!

‘I love the tales of your office, Ananya. Are you really able to troubleshoot internet servers? And to imagine, I have trouble figuring out how to operate my Facebook account! I just can’t believe that my little angel has grown up so! I never cease to wonder if anyone can be blessed with such happiness!

‘Chal! C ya! I am stuck here in a time warp. Some day I will meet you and then will discuss how I missed the light of my eyes! Always thought that ‘without you my world is dark’ is a term of speech and a cliché. But, it’s really dark here without your scintillating smile, Ananya! Miss you, my doll!

Love,

Your Dad.’

Today is Father’s Day. I never believed in this American concept of celebrating days for your loved ones. For me, everyday is a Father’s Day. Today is 21st of June. It’s raining heavily. Bombay monsoon is famous for its cranky unpredictability. It is raining through my eyes too. Through the curtain of tears I looked at the old photograph which was kept at my bedside table. I turned 28 this May, older than he was in this picture. He will never meet me now. How can a 24 years old father meet a 28 years old daughter? He would forever remain 24. Death has ensured that.

My dad laid his life for country on 21st June, 1999, during the war of Kargil, when I was 8 years old. But, he’s always present with me in spirit. Joshing me, encouraging me, egging me on to dominate the world!

Professor Sigmund Freud was partially right about his Theory of Oedipal Complex. A son may not love his mom forever, but a daughter will always love her dad. Even beyond the veil!

I sighed, wiped my eyes with the back of my hand and picked up the pen to write another letter.

‘Dear Ananya,

I know that you are sad, my doll! …’

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47 responses to “Letters

  1. This brought tears. Firstly, I love the name of your blog. There is something mystic about the Opal Moon.
    I am filled with so much of respect having read this post. I will be a frequent visitor from now on.
    Letters! They are the best form of communication and as I read in a comment, I doubt that yours will be the last generation to know its value. The main mode of communication in the college I studied is still letters. I got the habit from there and I still write to some like minded friends. Some are as close as 2 kms and some, very far. The e-communications today do not satiate the soul’s hunger like letters do. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks a lot, Ranjini!

      Actually, my name means the opal moon in Sanskrit. Raka tasya eesh, iti rakesh. That’s why I kept it as my blog. And yes, moon is always associated with mischief and mysticism. 😀

      So, I’m not alone in believing the snail mail to be better than its electronic counterparts! I think, it’s more than 15 years that I have received a real letter, apart from those spams and really miss that exhilarating feeling of tearing open the envelop to read the content. Wish I could write to someone like yore! Unfortunately, I’m willing to write, but people don’t have enough patience to wait to read it. My damned friends will call me instead and spoil all the fun 😀

      Thanks again for your kind words! It really feels worthwhile when someone likes our efforts! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I thought it meant Lord of the moon. When I try understanding Raka tasya eesh, I get the same meaning. But I’m sure you know better. I’d be glad if you could tell me if eesh has other meaning.

        Oh no you aren’t alone. Besides, I am gathering more fans for the snail mail. I already wrote to two youngsters who have never received a handwritten letter in their life. They were enthralled and are improving their handwriting to reply 😛
        I also have other friends, very few, who have the habit. I’d love to bring about a revolution where people go back to letter writing. I know it’s just a wild dream of a silly soul.

        If I could find people who are willing to write, I am sure you will be able to connect with such too. Hope you will find someone to write to soon. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Lord of the Moon is Mahadev. Somesh. Raka is Poonam. So, Rakesh is full moon. Eesh or Indra is lord or God. Eeshan is the direction of gods, that is, North-East direction. For example, Devesh or Devendra is Indra himself, Mahendra or Mahesh is Mahadev, Ganesh is The Leader of a Team- in this case, Shiva’s Team, Veerendra is again Shiva, the greatest warrior… and so on.

          I loved the idea of writing hard copy letters to unsuspecting kids and exposing them to the beauty and satisfaction of written words! I’ll do the same! Don’t worry about people finding the idea silly! All the great ideas are considered loony, till people understand them. It’s really a great initiative, I say!

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  2. Emotional and touching letter. I always love to write letters and here you’ve described a story in your letter. Loosing your parent at such a young age can help you to become mature… It’s my dream to write such wonderful letter to my papa.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May be we are the last generation, who know and understand the powers and bonds of a letter. The feel of a folded paper sent by someone we love is magical and heals of any kind of grief. The sonorous pings of an incoming email can never compete with the brazen summons of a khaki clad postman.

      You are right about being mature after the loss of a parent at an early age. It also causes us to value the feelings, which lot of people take for granted and never care for.

      Thanks, Arpita! 🙂

      Like

  3. Oh my God, This is a story!!!!! I was crying at almost every word. After reading comments, I realized you wrote it. Hats off to you. Loved every bit of it. The pain sounds and feels so real. I don’t know why I loved these lines very much-
    “I see your oval face in the whiteness abroad!”
    May be because they depict how a father is missing her daughter and sees her everywhere, every instant.

    I am a fan of your writing now, Rakesh.
    Just awesome.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, thanks, Shaifali! It’s a wholesome praise and appreciation! 🙂

      I have a six years old daughter and every year she goes to our village in Benaras during summer vacations. Due to job constraints, it’s imperative that I stay in Bombay without her for at least a month. During that period everything reminds me of her. Even those things, which she has broken during the bouts of skylarking. We always associate people we care with inanimate objects and events. This keeps on fueling the flame and keeps reminding us. Nostalgia is just another name for association of memories with things or events.

      Thanks a lot for reading and liking! It truly means a lot to me, ma’am! 🙂

      Like

  4. Such a warm read. You know letters not only have the personal touch, but also the fact that we pour our hearts in it. We assimilate all our thoughts and pen them. Not pen them, we give them words. My father said a terrible thing a few days back. He said, he feels his days are numbered. So, I am all teared up reading this one.

    And, I am not getting your blog updates.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Saru! It’s a long time that I’ve received a letter and have nearly forgotten the feel. Nowadays the only letters I receive is those buff envelopes, addressed as Dear Sir and gently reminding me that I missed out on my credit card payment. It does cause a flow of emotions, but I don’t think that it’s exactly an affection for the writer. 😀

      Aap itna load mat lijiyega us ‘Days numbered’ wali baat ka. All fathers joke with their daughters, they being the only sincere audience for their stand up comedy. We all know that our days are numbered, including you and I. It’s just that we don’t know the exact number, and thankfully so! The older generation is physically and mentally stronger than us Complan Kids. So, no worries. 😀

      I’ve added the Follow button on the page. Being new to WP, I wasn’t aware of the settings.

      Thanks again. 🙂

      Like

  5. This is so touching, I’ve got tears in my eyes. I lost my father 17 years back to whom I was the most attached with. I still talk to him when I ‘m in gloom, and always visualize him as a young man in my dreams. This is kind of my story narrated by you Rakesh jee. Hats off.

    Well, about Freudian theory of ‘Oedipus & Electra complexes’, I simply don’t agree to them, as I think that is rather an extremist approach of reading human minds.

    The way you have narrated this story through a girl’s perspective, is seriously amazing. I’ve become a great fan of your narratives. Kudos to you and thanks a lot for this great read. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Sangeetaji. Even I don’t agree to most of Freudian theories. He was always partially right and most of his ideas are challenged and controversial. Oedipal is a very strong term and that gossamer affection between a parent and their offspring cannot be addressed with such a harsh and impractical term. That’s the reason I said that he was partially right.

      This was the first time I’ve written from a female perspective and was wary that I’d drop a clanger somewhere. Happy to know that it wasn’t bad! 🙂

      Thanks a lot for reading and liking the story. It’s indeed an appreciation! 🙂

      Like

    • Thanks, Purba. Daughters are always more caring and emotional. Lucky are those fathers who begat a girl child.

      Thank you for reading and liking it! 🙂

      Like

  6. So many soldiers are still spending sleepless nights at the borders so that we can have a safe life! Such a touching story…every daughter can relate to this. A father is always s hero to his daughter… I think being a father, you know it and can feel it very much…:) Neo-freudian psychology terms it as Electra complex. And, thanks for bringing those small three- lined poems in the discussion… I love them…:)

    Liked by 1 person

    • ‘I think, being a father you know it… ‘

      Bang on nose! 😀 You are absolutely right. I do know it and consider myself lucky to have a daughter.

      The Neo-Freudian theory is just a corollary of the original, just a milder version. Freud was quite flamboyant and had a devil-may-care attitude, which reflects in most of his bold ideas. It’s the same for boys, but in a milder form, they being less expressive than girls.

      Even I love haiku. Even tried to write it, but exactly like my character, I was focused on the finger and missed the glory. I simply couldn’t focus on the content. Was just busy counting syllables. So, finally gave up in disgust. Now just prefer to read others, who have the talent. Poetry sabke bas ki baat nahi. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Such a heart touching story, You have perfectly brought out the emotions of the loving father- daughter relation. Yes, for most daughters their dad is the first hero…and here her Dad is in fact a hero. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Somali. I have a daughter and believe in exactly what you say. Also, I’ve found Freud right in this when I look around. Daughters always are more caring and sensible than their male counterparts.

      Liked by 1 person

        • I don’t actually subscribe to the Freudian idea of the Oedipal Complex. Although, I believe that it’s an inherent affection and dedication towards once paternal and maternal figure. The only fault of Freud was that he tied everything to sex, which may not be the case. Even if we read his dream psychology, the outcome is always the same. No wonder that he was stoned in his age. 😀

          I searched for a lesser controversial and equivalent term, but used Oedipal Complex as couldn’t find any.

          Liked by 1 person

          • I haven’t heard of any equivalent term either. I too don’t completely subscribe to Freud’s theories though some are interesting , but I didn’t know that he was stoned to death.

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            • Arre na! 😀

              He wasn’t actually stoned. I was just figuratively speaking. He was shunned by all the philosophers and psychologists of his time. The world was quite prude in his times and they were scandalized by his bold theories.

              I like most of his theories, except a few like this oedipal one. He makes an interesting read, though. He was very stubborn. After all, he was a Taurus. 😀

              Liked by 1 person

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