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.


  1. DAD is someone to look up to no matter how tall we've grown.

  2. You guys were / are really strong. Losing mother or father at an early age is really hard. I can't even being to imagine how hard and devastating it must have been. Hats off to you and your family for coping with this enormous hole in your lives.

    Every day is a good day to remember mom and dad if they are not around; to take care of them and love them if they are still with you. Everyday is Mother's Day and Father's day.

  3. Your dad seemed so full of life, so energetic and happy. You are a lucky person.
    JS Magazine tih khian ka lung lo ti leng ve ringawt, though I had never read it or seen a copy. Jug Suraiya would mention it all the time in his articles whenever he talks about the goold old days in Cal.

  4. Zualte, there crept a lump in my throat when I read your article! Though I have never seen him, he seems to be a perfect gentleman! Fathers will always be fathers whether they live long or not!

  5. Exactly, samuapa, and here's sth a friend wrote..

    The joy of a morning in spring,
    The faith of a mustard seed,
    The patience of eternity,
    The depth of a family need,

    ...Then God combined these qualities,
    When there was nothing more to add,
    He knew His masterpiece was complete,
    And so, He called it Dad

  6. Loch, it's not really a matter of being strong or not. When life socks you in the face, you can only roll with the punch. And full credit goes to my mother. She was an amazingly strong woman and always said she didn't want anything in our lives to show up Dad's absence. Whoa, huh?

  7. Thanks, ambs and maisek. Dad was one of the most dynamic young men of his age, well-educated, cool and happening, and he had a finger in just about every pie including being drafted by the govt. to draw up the Mizoram - Cachar boundary, supervising the village groupings in the aftermath of the '66 Rebellion, founding the MHIP etc.

    And JS mag..sigh, was amazing.

  8. I sometimes wonder what my dad feels too, what with being the only male member in a household of 6 females. Yours sounds like he coped beautifully. Your dad seems like quite a person- you must miss him a lot.

  9. Only male and 6 females? Wow, total king of the harem!

    The thing about my dad was we didn't all actually live together very much when I think about it. When the Ram Buai thing happened, the family, grandparents, aunts et al, fled to Shillong but since dad was a govt. servant, he had to come back to Aizawl. And later Mum joined him and they'd come visit us occasionally, which were always great times. Then in later years, my sisters and I stayed in boarding schools and were home for only about 2/3 months a year. That meant when dad died so soon, we never really had the chance to know him all that well, as in really, really well. So he was in a way almost like an absentee figure. But he was still always dear old dad so yeah, I miss him. And I'm envious of people with fathers still alive and helping them with decisions and stuff.

  10. Touching tribute.He seemed to be a real Govt servant to have done all those things.My Dad used to say he was the one who started giving Govt funds to the SA Motherless Babies Home.

  11. daniel, I don't know if he actually started it but he was involved with the Home, yes. I remember seeing photographs of him carrying babies with a bunch of other people including the then LG Chibber's wife.