Saturday, June 18, 2011

For Dad

Always wanted to do a write-up on Dad but somehow it was always Mum I ended up writing about. Now since it's Father's Day tomorrow and I have this dearly-prized old picture of Dad carrying a baby me, I figure this is a good time to do a father post.

Dad was always something of a James Bond figure, being the only male in a sea of females. Only son with six sisters, and father of four daughters and no sons, I never once heard him grouch about not having a son. But then Dad was always ahead of his time. 

Born and raised in the southern part of the state, he was an Edmunds graduate and then went on to Mumbai (then Bombay, of course) for a Masters' degree in Social Work. Lots of old photos of him as a skinny, smiling young man with lots of friends, both Mizo and non-Mizo. Then he met Mum and they fell in love and got married, and lived happily ever least for about 14 years. Maybe it was because he loved cancer sticks (I remember the cartons of Panama cigarettes around the house), he picked up stomach cancer and grew gaunt and quiet, and died, leaving behind a houseful of bewildered females, four under the age of 13.

Dad was bright and outgoing, with lots of interests. He liked sports and was very proud of a couple of trophies he'd bagged for badminton during his Bombay days, and he liked coming home after work and hitting a few shuttles with us, never mind all we could manage were clunky sky-high shots in the air. He was also involved with the YMA and the Mizo Academy of Letters, and had a collection of interesting Mizo cultural knick-knacks that he kept in a display cabinet. He was also widely-read, reading everything from the Statesman dailies, JS magazine, Eve's Weekly, Readers' Digest, etc, and had a stack of Louis L'amour cowboy novels. He also loved travelling and it was always fun having him take us to boarding school at the start of the year and then coming to pick us up again at year-end. He enjoyed doing up the house at Christmas time, stringing colourful streamers across the ceiling and blowing  balloons to hang around. He also got a big kick out of making these huge hot air balloons out of coloured tissue paper, and launching them on New Year's Eve.

As I sit here recalling all these memories, I miss my father in a way I haven't done for years. He was always so full of life and ideas and things to do, and perhaps that was because he was only 46 years young when he died. Thank you for a wonderful childhood and a fabulous springboard to life, Dad.  And wherever you are now, rest assured that you were the best father you could have ever been - for me.

Monday, June 06, 2011

So who's afraid of technology?

Argh, it's just so aggravating when people refuse to make use of technology, even the user-friendliest kind. 

Case in point, today I had three colleagues arguing over whether this Mizo poet was dead or alive. Colleague #1 claims the man had died sometime last year. #2 goes, nooo, the man's wife had come visiting her Mum just earlier this year and there had been no mention of the husband passing on. The third colleague who's supposed to be teaching the old guy's poem in about fifteen minutes, talks to #1 about the poet-guy's daughters/nieces et al. They all seem to know his family well  but, and herein lies the catch, it never occurs to any of them to pick up their cellphones to quickly clarify the matter. Finally, colleague #3 wonders worriedly what to tell her class. I say okay, my cousin's wife is a relative so she should know. I pick up my phone, dial her number, ask, and she tells me, yes, the man is still alive and they'd had a big celebration last year in honour of his 100th birthday. 

Case solved, easy peasy.  My colleagues joke they've almost killed off the poor guy and give me effusive thanks. Not me, technology.