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'Father Taught Me To Fight For My Rights'

June 16, 2024 16:57 IST
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Father's Day: G Chandrasekharappa

Photograph: Kind courtesy Deepak Golannanavar

"My father was a follower of Mahatma Gandhi and believed that truth prevails over everything else," says Deepak Golannanavar.

My father, G Chandrasekharappa, was a very straightforward and upright man.

He never hesitated to call a spade a spade.

He staunchly believed that education is above everything else in life.

He sent me to college for seven years -- diploma, post diploma and engineering.

Working as a government servant for the government of Maharashtra, he saw to it that I attended the finest of colleges.

He was a follower of Mahatma Gandhi and believed that truth prevails over everything else.

I learnt it from him that we must always fight for our rights, be it in a moving bus or a government office, about a street light issue or a water supply problem. He used to tell me that if you complain there will be a record and, one day, it will be surely noticed.

We lived in Bombay (now Mumbai) for 20 years and for 15 years in Ratnagiri (in the Konkan region of Maharashtra).

He hardly used to speak to us.

As children, we used to be terrified of him. During our Bombay days, if I spoke to him, he would say I am busy and I do not have time.

At home, his routine used to be office work continued in the evening. He only worked and worked.

In his office, he was known as a very strict officer. His colleagues used to come home to discuss complex matters, assuming he would be more relaxed at home.

I remember that I could not clear one of my subjects in the final semester. He made me appear for all the subjects of the final semester once again and made me get a degree with honours.

After completing my studies, I wanted to apply for a passport. When I asked him, he said go to the passport office, stand in the queue and get the application form (Those days, they would issue 100 application forms per day at Mumbai's Worli passport office).

On my first day I went there, the forms ran out before my turn came. He made me go and stand in the queue again next morning and get it.

He said the form is in English, fill it up and submit it.

He was a die-hard Raj Kapoor fan and had a video cassette collection which we were not allowed to touch.

He admired John F Kennedy, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and Mahatma Gandhi. We had framed pictures of all of them in our living room. Guests would point at Kennedy's portrait and ask who he was. I would explain whatever little I knew.

He was so disciplined that we never matched his levels.

I had secured admission for an MS degree in a Canadian university but could not get a scholarship. He was compassionate and said at least you have the best of qualifications, why don't you look for a job here?

In my 34 years, I heard him praising me only once when I got a job in Larsen & Toubro as a graduate engineer.

He was adamant about all the decisions that he took and stood by them.

When I look back, I realise the kind of sacrifices which he had to make in order to bring us up.

Under his guidance, I am so confident now that I can walk into any officer's chamber and express my views.

Whenever I am in a tough spot even today, I remember him.

Before crossing to the other side, he had told me that I must arrange the best education for my daughter.

Nobody can replace him in my life... no one.

Thank you for telling us about your hardworking father, Deepak.


Father's Day: Suresh Dhamankar

IMAGE: Santosh with his father, Suresh Dhamankar. Photograph: Kind courtesy Santosh Dhamankar

"My father used to criticise me so that he could develop the qualities of perfection, discipline and leadership in me," says Santosh Dhamankar from Amravati, Maharashtra.

My father, Suresh Dhamankar, is the only guru in my life.

I can say that he was the best critic for me. Due to his criticism, I grew professionally.

Today, I realised he used to criticise me so that he could develop the qualities of perfection, discipline and leadership in me.

He retired as a superintendent of the post office and was very punctual and disciplined through his 40-year career.

He has faced lot of hardships and ups and downs in his life.

There was some turbulence between us but I like what he once said to me, "You will understand a father's pain once you become a father." Today, I know that is true.

He has taught me many life lessons which may looked impractical at the time but are my strongest survival tools today.

I will continue to live by his lessons. He was and will always an inspiration to me.

Tragedy struck the last five years of his life in the form of Alzheimer's; it derailed his disciplined life and he was like a child to me.

He is no longer physically in this world but I feel him every time around me.

I don't just remember him today, on Father'S Day. I miss him every day, every moment.

I thank Almighty God that He has given me a father like him.

Baba, I really miss you; I wish you were here.

Thank you for sharing your memories about your father, Santosh.

Father's Day: Krishna Murty 

Photograph: Kind courtesy K Sreenivasa Rao

Hyderabad's K Sreenivasa Rao dedicates this poem to his father, Krishna Murty.

O Dad!

With urn effusing smoke and with moist eyes, I stood ahead.
The bier behind, with the mortal remains atop, was ready to be led.
Vivid through the misty eyes were the innumerable instances when he led from the front.
Yet, bereft of elan vital, he lay supine behind, what a quirk of fate!
"Did his best for his dad," a whisper that struck my ear drums.
Compliments, at times, metamorphose into sarcasm in the core of our hearts.
The self is both a witness and a judge par excellence in the court of conscience.
Ordained, I was gently marching ahead when struck by memory waves.
Didn't you say, Dad, how I, as a toddler, sought out your hands to stand up.
Thy hands were my sanguinity that cruised me through many a turbulence of my life.
With unsteady gaiety and writhing in pain you slumped into a chair.
What standing and stature! These worthless hands couldn't make you stand again.
As night fell, laid me on bed, cozied me up with a duvet, and lulled me to sleep.
The frozen warmth encapsulated in love, is a pill to succour after every hard day.
The wintry winds bit thy frail bones mercilessly and you shivered beneath the blanket.
Helpless and clueless stood I, for no pill and care could comfort thee.
Caressed me to awaken, picked up in arms, and showed the grandeur of dawn.
Spectacle of the daybreak, amidst the day's hustle and bustle, is my life's elixir.
Febrile to touch, murmuring incoherently and gasping for breath, Alas! You were at dusk.
The twilight with impending darkness, loomed as life's charioteer of gloom.
Breath, the symbol of life, was invigorated by the breeze when you took me for a stroll.
The breeze, now, brings back memories of thy hearty laughs that had no qualms whatsoever.
Breath, the last coupler with this life, fizzled out with the eyes shutting concomitantly.
My heart weighed a ton, yet, couldn't shed a tear, O Dad! What a pretender I was!
Satchel in hand, my hand in the other, you took me to the 'Temple of Learning'.
With fables and legends, how articulately, you lit the knowledge of fire.
Pitcher in hand, I led you, quite ceremoniously, O Dad! to the 'Yard of Ashes'.
Chants and prayers whispered, I laid you on the woods and lit the funeral pyre.
"Douse the fires, envy and hatred ere they turn into an inferno," you ever exhorted.
But for your words of wisdom, O Dad! I would not have been in my elements.
The raging flames, as I looked dazed, doled you out among the five great elements.
If only of the five elements was thy body, what was that that made you so noble?
Ere thy wreathed frame, and a flickering flame in front, sat the near and dear.
"His deeds defined his nobility and a noble soul rests in peace forever," said an elder.
All the mourners gone, the memories yet haunted and I sobbed all through the night.
If there be a rebirth, O Dad! I beg you to be my dad in every birth.

Thank you for sharing your poem about your father, Sreenivasa.

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