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The Rediff Special
June 18, 2004
The thought of Father's Day brings tears to my eyes. I don't know if I can find the right words to describe what my father means to me. It's more difficult now, when I know he has gone and will never come back.
I am writing this today because Papa always encouraged me to write. He thought if I made an effort, I would be good at it. I never thought I was good enough at anything, but he used to encourage me to do everything. He was always by my side, whenever I failed, whenever I needed him.
I have always been proud of being Mr M L Bahrani's daughter. So much so, I retained my maiden name even after I got married.
I was always eager to follow him in everything he did. I believed in him blindly. I knew he could do no wrong. I always thought he would be with me all my life. I could not imagine an existence without him. Now that he is gone, gone for than four months, I feel guilty for being alive.
Life has become so difficult without Papa. I never had to worry about anything with him around. He was my superman. He could do anything and everything and had solutions to big problems in minutes.
He never displayed his love for my brother and me in front of everyone, but we knew and understood his love because of all that he did for us.
He was so independent; I don't remember him sharing any of his problems with us.
We never did anything for him, but he still did everything he could to make our lives better.
He was the same with everybody; he never gave any trouble, he would just help everyone. He did not bother us even when it was time for him to go forever -- he went peacefully. He made the perfect and best use of his life. He never wasted a minute.
I want him back desperately. I won't be able to do anything without Papa. I just don't see the purpose in living without you, Papa, but I know I have to. For Ma. And for me. I have to make you proud.
You never gave in, no matter how bad things were. I have to follow you.
Papa, if there is any way to do it, please come back.
I have thanked you before, but not enough.
Thanks Papa, you were the best. You will always be the best. If we ever meet again in this world or any place I don't know of yet, I want to be your daughter, your Guddu, again. This time, I don't want to us to part again; I want to be with you forever.
Hope we will meet again soon Papa.
Swati Bahrani, 27 years, USA
'Achan is my support'
I feel honoured to have this opportunity to write about my dear Achan. One of the things he taught me was, "When you build bridge, think how to reach the shores even if it falls." This is a very practical thought, both in day-to-day activities and in modern day crisis management.
I have been taught to be independent in every front in life. I was never told, "You are a girl so this is forbidden."
He is interested in my new world of software/ERP projects. His strong mechanical engineering background and real time experience in the aeronautical division of one of India's premier organisations made him confident of handling everything -- from the stock market to ESOPs to blueprints to project deliverable issues.
He was my rock solid support whenever I faced a difficult moment in my college/job/life.
When I had to live in a hostel, miles and miles away from home, to do my engineering, he never missed a Saturday visit. We would go to a hotel for a plate of mutton curry, which was a welcome break from the routine vegetarian food at the hostel.
I love asking him Rs 20. He gives me Rs 100 instead and the happiness I feel in using that Rs 100 is indescribable. I continue asking him for Rs 20 each time I visit him.
He was the one who alerted me to the growing popularity of computers and suggested I change my field from hardware to software.
He and Ammachu (my mother) stood behind me when I decided to plunge into the world of ERP in the US. He always says I am like the "cat packed in a sack and thrown miles away" that reaches home even if it has to cross the seven seas.
Even when I faced big problems at the personal level -- it could be as diverse as an operation or a child rearing issue -- he has stood solidly behind me. He counsels me even when I face a deep problem miles across the oceans. No medicine ever cures me of my worries, but talking to him for 10 minutes always gets be back on track.
Whatever my husband and I have achieved in life -- including our children -- is only because of Achan and Amma.
I did not change my name after marriage. My husband does not want me to do it either, because he is another unique individual.
Mini V Sarasamma, 35 years, Bangalore
'His words gave me courage'
We are four sisters. Our Daddy was a source of strength, love and affection. He made us feel blessed and proud to be born in his house.
During those days, when having a son was considered important, he would laugh off any sympathy from friends and relatives by saying he was blessed with four daughters who were brighter than the stars and he would not wish it any other way. As a child, I never understood the sacrifices he made to provide us with a quality life.
Just when I finished my graduation, the textile mill in which he was working shut down without prior notice. He did not get any compensation.
It was during that time that I realised the person whom I had never seen sick even for a day was showing signs of weakness. He was diagnosed as suffering from cancer.
Suddenly, it looked like Daddy was ravaged not just physically but mentally as well. He was suffering terribly. That night, I was there with him in the hospital.
It was a heart-wrenching time, particularly since we had led a very secure life. I was scared and miserable. Sensing my fears, Daddy held my hands and asked. "Why are you scared? I am there with you."
Even at that time, he gave me a feeling of security. He made me feel like the child who ran to him when she was afraid. His words gave me courage.
Today he is no more. But whenever I am dejected/afraid/sad/in trouble, I hear his words, "I am there with you." I miss his physical presence, but I know he is still there for all of us.
Betsy Rajagopal, 36 years, manager, RBI, Hyderabad
'My dad is my shield'
My dad is the most caring and loving person I know. He takes life as a challenge and stands up for what he thinks is right. What I like most in my dad is the fact that he faces problems with great confidence.
He is very cheerful and can cheer up anyone at any time. He is very funny and likes cracking jokes. At the same time, he is truthful and responsible.
He has taught me to be brave and is there for me whenever I need him. He loves me no matter what. I love him for everything he has done for me.
I look up to my dad and value his opinions.
I have never heard him complain about anything. He is genuine and wants everyone to be happy. He helps everyone who needs help -- his children, other relatives, friends and even people he does not know. His heart is so big that he even forgives his enemies.
When the sun does not come out, he is my light. When fear is around, he is my shield. When I'm in need, he is my bank, my integrity and my courage.
There is no doubt in my mind that my Dad is the best dad in the world.
I would like him to know how much his little girl cares and appreciates all he has done for her.
Munni S, Amelia, Ohio
Tell us what your Dad means to you in 200 words or less. Share with us anecdotes about the most important man in your life. Please don't forget to include your full name, age and where you are from.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh