Hello Daddy

9 Sep

How you grow old and learn about being a parent.

How you grow old and learn the pangs of distance.

How you grow old and learn something new from old memories.

When I used to study in Pune, there was no phone in my hostel (and this is before the advent of the mobile era, yes kids, there was a time like this and yes yes, i am that old) I used to call up home once a week. And it was really expensive, meaning I would try to keep the call as short as possible and would focus on absolute necessary and mandatory (read, send me more money). The conversation was dictated by speed of the bill meter, it would start with a nice jog, would catch some speed and by the second minute i would be speaking faster than i could think, with words tumbling over each other. By end of second minute I would be looking desperately at the meter running faster than Carl Lewis, and would quickly say bye.

At this point Dad would say bye and then add ekkkk ghal das Raman, followed with a long pause. I would be going frenetic, Daddy, ke? pucho?

And he would start again… Raman…… uh, hmmmmmmmm…. pause….

I: Daddy what?

Dad: “Kuch khas nahin……….

I: Yes

Dad: Tere padhayi theek chal rahi hai?

I: hanji, hanji, ok bye

Dad: Ok bye, ek minute

I: Hanji

Dad: Acha (pause)

I: Daddy Daddy,

Dad: Acha, paise tah hor nahin chahede

I: Nahin Daddy, ok bye

Dad: Okkkkkk …. pause….. bye

I: Pere pona

Dad: khush raho

You know there was a time, I used to find this conversation really funny and I would tell everyone this story with great mirth and humor.

Today I don’t find it funny.

Today I realize the value of that conversation.

Today I know, the desire to hear the voice of your child and the pain of distance.

I call up home everyday to talk to Avni even when I meet her in the evening. And I used to go home only twice a year.

I still cherish those conversations but now I understand them better.

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