Written after December 2007, First posted online on December 15th 2013. Posted here November 2nd 2021
I took this journey with my father in 2007 and wrote this then. Hoping this page and I survive for more time, so I can come back and read this in coming years.
The journey was long, and got even longer while the bus went through the busy section of the city; passing in front of the office he once started his work life. I reminded him and smiled how much he wanted to take this route one last time. I was fixated to watch his calm face and felt satisfied that I was there.
This was the only thing that I had ever asked for, from someone… somewhere. This responsibility had been at the back of my mind since I was a child and even before starting the many journeys that I took later in life, I could understand the perspective of the shrinking world and the distances I could be traveling in getting to my destinations. I knew I can get everything I ever wanted, but… …but I wanted to be with my father for that very moment, for that very right that belonged to me and the duty that is mine.
Years ago, he had called my name loud, once when in pain, brushing aside his otherwise authoritative demeanor for a very small moment. While everyone rushed to him and responded equally, I made a quiet promise to be with him in need, and since that very moment I looked up for help to be with him when he needed.
I was with him just 5 weeks ago, massaging his back through the night, while discussing future plans and investments that he will be making and keeping himself busy and occupied. All this while knowing that his extended stay is bonus, I could never trade for anything, I savored each and every moment that I stayed awake.
Looking at his face, I would remember what brought me there, since taking birth 3 decades ago, not too far from where we discussed future investments in those nights. The city belonged to me and changed as I did, and as the rickshaw fare to home from school rose from 75 paise to 15 rupees, I grew up to see my father the same person he ever was. He still had 2 or 3 sets of shirts and pants he had 20 years ago and still walked long distances in the city to save money for my education and future. We stayed, while his work transfers took him to places, though never missing a weekend with family. The world knew him the same person as I did. Without masks. I wish I could be more like him, but then those people aren’t there anymore.
The bus stopped, after taking the longest route to reach the destination in the smallest time I could ever imagine. This fourth dimension of time has always intrigued me and I hope I could find more about it, before I go. The tasks ahead were reminded to me by murmurs around me, and as everyone moved to do their known jobs, I stood by him, envying his place and thanking him for accompanying me this far. I kissed his face and touched his feet, and as if I could hear him say, “भईया, तुम जा रहे हो?” I looked at him one last time and said, “गुरु, हमने कहा था ना के हम आएँगे |”
He was in my arms next day on the journey to the Ganges he loved most as a child and grew up playing along the banks. I gave him to the river and mother earth where he belonged… where we all belong.
I was satisfied that I can now leave the world after getting to my only goal, I could never have achieved myself. I was at peace.