This is for the most important man of my life.
I lost him when I was sixteen years old. Its been quite a long time that I have lived my life without him. Do I miss him? Oh yes! I do that… I miss him terribly….
I was a typical daddy’s pet. And I always supported him. Even during the times and instances when he was wrog and at fault.
Do I come from a dysfunctional family? I don’t know… I think I do… for that matter I have to dig deeper and study what actually stands for dysfunctional…
Yes… I was raised in a family where life was easy…fun… privileged as far as I can recall… and there were the ugly egos, drunken brawls, nasty fights which were at times were physically abusive too; which walked hand in hand when I was growing up.
For every daughter her dad is the MAN. I am not denying that.
But my dad was more than that. He was no nonsense to begin with, no unnecessary frills, with a huge and bad temper. He was an excellent swimmer, roller skater, tennis player, shooter and driver. He was a chain smoker too and an alcoholic.
Who is an alcoholic? The book says there is no specific definition to define an alcoholic. And most of the times the word alcoholic is used in the wrong ways because we do not actually understand it. So to cut it short an alcoholic is someone who cannot limit the amount of alcohol one drinks; they always have an overwhelming urge for a drink; it affects their personal lives yet they do not stop drinking and they lose interest in other activities.
Yes my dad was an alcoholic to some extent. He would drink even during the day hours.
It did create problems and when I saw him and mom arguing during the rounds of binge drinking, I always stood by my dad’s side.
He was definitely a nice man. He was a voracious reader. He loved cars. He loved the good things in life.
For me he was more of a friend. I listened to Deep Purple, Jim Morrison, The Beatles, The Who and The Rolling Stones on LPs with him.
I could talk to him about anything under the sun.
In some instances I was petrified of him, but still he was my number one. Mom always stood at number two.
I think I am more of him. I represent him more through my attitude.
Just before I lost him in 1995, we were driving from Shillong to Guwahati back to home; seeing off my mom in Shillong.
The plan was initially different. It was the month of June and mom loved to spend a month in Shillong with my maternal grandparents. Dad always drove us to Shillong. Stayed overnight; usually checked in at Pinewood; and would come back to Guwahati the next day. I was supposed to stay there too. But somehow, the next morning as he bid us goodbye in our Oakland house and got inside his putting the ignition on, I hopped with him and decided to come back to Guwahati. I was almost in tears. I could never afford to stay without him for a month. Or maybe at that time it was the inner calling. That I should be with him. That as soon as the month of June would pass I would lose him forever.
We drove in his red Skoda in silence for quite a while. The air was getting warmer as we crossed Barapani.
As we reached Nayabungalow; he stopped the car to watch a local football match in progress. He was an avid football lover. It took roughly an hour for the match to get over and when I asked him, “Did your team win?”, he looked at me and chuckled and replied, “I just supported both the teams and the best team won!”
He asked me to wait inside the car and walked to a bootlegger.
It didn’t take much time though. He mixed the vodka with water and we started our onward journey yet again.
We had crossed Nongpoh thirty minutes later. Still driving with his right hand, he handed me the lighter and the packet of cigarettes.
I look at them and then at him.
“Light one”, he said in a matter-of-fact way.
I still kept looking at him like an ass.
As I lit the first cigarette infront of my dad, the feelings inside me were kind of mixed.
I handed him the smoke and looked on to the road straight. He continued enjoying his smoke and sipping the vodka.
The silence was broken by him as he spoke looking on to the highway, “See Nan... soon you will be out of school and be in college. You will meet boys. But I want you to meet men. Intelligent men. Its not the age. Its the attitude that separates men from boys. You will go out on dates, you will party, you will drink and you will smoke. So have your first drag with me.”
“And ...one more thing”, he continued further. “Studies should be intact. Wherver you go, with whom you go and what time you reach home, you should always let me know. Rest... life is good. And ...do not get pregnant.”The deepest daddy daughetr conversation I had....