June 30, 2008

From hence your memory death cannot take

Happy Birthday, Dad!

I try to keep personal stuff off my blog. I hate my-diary type of blogs with personal ramblings about the minutiae of individual lives. While blogging in and by itself, whatever be the style/genre of the posts, may be an activity of self-indulgence, I find the open-your-hearts-and-lives to the world kind of blogging too narcissistic for my tastes.

But today, like then, I feel the need to make room on my blog for my dad.*

Today would have been my dad's 67th birthday. There is some confusion (which I heard about only in my late teens or early 20s) about whether his birthday was July 1st and not June 30th. But June 30th is when we always wished him. (Celebrated would not be the right word; because I do not recall any celebrations as such; other than a cake my mom might have baked for him.)

Today, is the first June 30th of my life when I do not have someone to wish. Coincidentally, today is also dwadashi, the 12th day of the lunar Hindu calender, which is the day he died and hence the monthly anniversary of his death. It is going to be a tough day today for my family, especially my mother. Every monthly anniversary to date has been tough for her - but this one's going to be particularly so because it falls on his birthday. (6 Hindu calendar months - a few days short by the Gregorian calender we follow - have passed. How time flies, even when you are not having fun.)

I am hardly religious but my parents are. But neither my mom or dad ever pressurized me in any form to be a believer. Faith was a matter of strength for my dad, a personal set of beliefs and something he did not impose on any of his kids. Not even a conversation about it. So much so, I do not even know how my dad felt about me not being a believer.

But I do believe. Not in a God. Not even in souls, a life beyond, or any other concept that mankind has thought about and arrived at and believed in for centuries. But I believe in the goodness of the human heart. And there was no purer heart than my father's. So, today, I celebrate my father's life. As I have the past 4 times, I will follow my mother's request to not eat non-vegetarian food on my dad's (monthly) death anniversaries - something followed on a monthly basis the first year and after that only a yearly basis - as a token of respect for my dad (and mom.) As a token of remembering and letting him know, wherever he may exist - but mostly in our hearts and memories, that we miss him. Terribly. I wish it had all gone down differently. But if wishes are horses and such! We mere mortal human do not have control over how our lives end. What we do have control over is how we lead our lives. It may seem otherwise at times i.e. life seems to be hurtling down without control but today, I decide (I won't use the word 'promise' - knowing myself, I may not be able to keep it and I do not want to renege on my words) to make the most out of my life. Live life to its fullest potential. Be more pro-active and take decisions which will make the world a better place - for me, my family, and all life forms that share the earth with me: present and future.
Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air;
And, like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
- William Shakespeare,
The Tempest, Act 4, Scene 1
Is this my way perhaps of creating a personal space through which I try to still hang on to him and have a place to go see him? He's been in my dreams multiple times - sometimes multiple times a week - in the last few months and while the lull of missing him is slightly stronger on mornings after a dream, it is too fleeting an interaction and too intangible a feeling (except once, when I felt he was right next to me) for me to be able to really hang on to it for too long.

P.S. Title line is from Shakespeare's Sonnet #81.

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