I love you, Nana, for all the things you have given to me.
Even though you were not a big fan of intercaste marriages, you allowed me to marry the girl I loved. The night before our wedding, you got a stroke and were admitted to hospital. After the marriage, I wanted to show you the wedding album, but I feared the strain on your health. A month later, you left for God's abode and I never got a chance to show it to you.
Whenever I see your photograph now, I wonder why you had to get a stroke before the big day in my life. One-and-a-half years later, I have yet to see the wedding video. I'm finally going to do it this weekend. I hope you will join me.
I just want to let you know your marumagal Gowri and I are doing fine.
I miss you so much, Nana.
Hemanthkumar Kamalanathan, 31 years, Texas
I always feel Dads are more partial towards their daughters. I have many childhood memories to support my theory.
I always fought with my brother and was stubborn about getting my work done. Mom would scold me, but Dad always supported me and got me whatever I wanted.
He would be thrilled when I won a contest in school and would tell my brother to be like me. This really boosted my confidence.
If I did badly in an exam, he would tell me to do better next time. I was weak in Math, but Dad never let me down. He would help me after returning from work.
Both my parents work. Dad made it a point to help Mom in the kitchen. He never felt it was a job meant for a woman.
Dad had a good heart. Mom always says she is lucky to have a husband like him. I agree totally. I am thrilled he is my Dad.
I opted for a love marriage. Initially, my parents were not happy since I was the first person in the family to do so. But Dad understood and supported me; he made Mom understand. He dealt with every relative who questioned them regarding my marriage.
I am very proud of Dad. Mom calls me Dad's girl because I am so attached to him. If there is something called next birth, I want him to be my father again.
Archana Nischal, 27 years, Bloomington, Illinois
A man of valour
My father missed my birth, my childhood and my growing years. You see, he served in the army. I cried reading about Captain Vikram Batra's life on rediff; whenever I hear about the Kargil heroes, it reminds me of my father.
He was lucky to survive the 1965 war; he ducked under a piece of shrapnel that would have otherwise entered his chest.
He instilled courage in me by telling me about Brigadier Usman who gave his life for India.
Among other things, this is what he taught me:
- Avoid the police. If you can't, never get too close or too far.
- Try not to step into courts; it will cost you a fortune.
- Learn English by talking to a wall; assume it is your teacher. After all, Ekalavya learned archery by accepting Dronacharya's mud statue as his guru.
- Treat everyone equally.
- Your brain a blank slate, you can write whatever you want on it.
- Food has no taste once you swallow it, so always share.
- Knowledge is the only wealth that stays with you.
Balan Gothandaraman, 45 years, New Jersey
My role model
Papa is my role model, my friend and my guide. I never have to think twice before approaching him.
Even though I am thousands of miles away, our emotional bonding is strong. He has always encouraged me to express myself, resulting in meaningful communication. Thank you, Papa, for my verbal skills. Papa's little girl has now carved a niche for herself.
He gave me the liberty to choose my own path. He let me fall because he wanted me to rise on my own, even when he would not be around to help. I have imbibed immense courage and strength from him.
I will always cherish the invaluable time I spent with Papa. Despite his hectic schedule, he reserved his evenings for the family. Till date, I am the last to finish dinner as I am constantly sharing my experiences with him. I have always heard fathers saying they are proud of their daughters, but I am proud you are my father, Papa.
Monica Raina, 27, New York
I want you back...
Though the crowd comes in
My eyes search for him.
My search will never end, I'm sure
But my heart says just go on.
I search for him till it hurts and pains
But I know he will never turn up; it's all in vain.
I long to hear his soft, tender, loving voice,
That called me his son, his life.
I long to feel the warmth of his touch
That I felt when he gave me a hug, sitting beside my bed.
I long to see his gentle figure
To whom I always turned when in trouble.
I know he shouted at me
So I could be perfect.
I know he taught me things
Until I learnt to do it right.
I know he did all this
Because he cared and loved me so much.
I promise to be a nice boy,
The way he wanted me to be.
I promise not to ask for costly things
For which he had to work so hard.
I promise not to trouble him with my kiddish behaviour
To be like a grown-up man.
All I ask in return is I want him back
The way I have seen him forever.
All I have are my lonely eyes
That fill with tears as I search for him.
I keep praying: If you are near me somewhere
DAD, I WANT YOU BACK.
To Dad. I will love you and miss you forever. I'm sure you will always guide me in life.
Rikhav Thakkar, 26 years, Mumbai
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh
Thank you for your overwhelming response. Contributions to this section are now closed.