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Posts Tagged ‘Religion’


It’s been five long years since my father had been laid to rest beneath six feet of dirt and disbelief. Yet, surprisingly, my grief hasn’t dimmed. I say surprisingly as I never thought I was close to him. We had a somewhat… complicated life together.

He belonged to a matriarchal society where a man’s role as a maternal uncle was paramount. It was something he believed in absolutely. He was always looking out for his sister’s son and I grew up resenting their closeness. This was one of many reasons that alienated me from him. This rupturing wasn’t sudden. It moved at a glacial pace till one day I suddenly realized that I had nothing left to say to him anymore. I became a dutiful daughter that avoided her father’s company.

After my father died, a friend remarked that I was my father’s daughter as I kept on talking about him a lot. That startled me as I always saw myself as a Mama’s Girl.

But with time, I realized that my dad had conditioned and influenced what I am. He taught me to face my fears when he paid for my car driving lessons. I wish he had lived long enough for me to learn to ride a motorbike!

My Dad

My Dad

He taught me consistency in my faith by dragging me to Mass every Sunday. When I left to work in another city, I stopped going to church regularly. But after a few years, I realized that the emptiness could only be filled by communing with Him through daily conversations and Mass.

He taught me obedience for my parents. When I was small, he sat me on his knee and sang a folk song in his native tongue. Even though I didn’t know the language, the song had the haunting melody of the hills. It was about a young stag that didn’t obey his mother when she told him not to leave their land for the land of men. He went there looking for tastier fare. Unfortunately he was seen and an arrow ended his life. Now his mother roams the hills and laments for her only child. I remember I cried and told my dad I would never be disobedient. I stuck to my word even though I was four when I gave it. Now I wonder whether the old fox had brainwashed me with that song…

He taught me that poor and old people deserve our time and attention. There was an old man outside the wine shop dad used to visit that I had named ‘Attention’. He used to clean our Škoda’s windshield, salute with a toothy grin and cry: ‘Attention!’ My dad always talked to him and gave him money. When I asked him why, he said: “That old man is someone’s father or husband or brother. Yet, here he is trying to make a living, instead of being at home. No one deserves this in their old age.” I think that is why I can never understand people who are comfortable with their old parents living in a retirement home rather than with them.

He taught me to look on the bright side, instead of looking for faults. We were on a trip once and it started raining. I was annoyed as I thought of my rucksack getting wet. But my dad surprised me with: “Oh! How nice! These are showers of blessings.” To be honest, I didn’t appreciate the lesson then. But I do now.

There were so many other small things too. He taught me not to love money and fame as much as music, books and animals. He taught me to remain a child long after the wrinkles had run their race. He tried to teach me to love being active but in this he failed spectacularly. Well, you can’t win them all.

So dear Popsy… Yes I know you hated that term… No. I am not going to change it…

So, dear Popsy, I realize what you meant by ‘You will understand my worth when I am gone.’ But like you taught me – no regrets.

I am still discovering your lessons imprinted in me – a part of you that’s left behind…

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It is almost 2 years since I have been able to blog. Today when I finally opened my WordPress account, I came across a piece tucked away in the Draft folder, written during my mother’s hospitalization…

I stare at my mother’s swollen hands, half obscured by the bandages wound around her arms to stanch the ooze. These soft and warm hands that had bathed me, fed me, spanked me, steadied me as I took my baby steps. Oh, what I wouldn’t give now to be caressed by them as before!

My mother’s calloused hands were always doing something. If they weren’t busy cooking, they would be washing an endless line of crystal and china after all those countless parties my father had to give. I miss her cooking most of all as she hadn’t been able to enter the kitchen for over 3 years.

You don’t realize how much a mother’s hands have given till they stop scratching your head the way you like or snuggle your aching heart. But these hands now sleep as does their owner. Hopefully when they wake, they will seek me again… Such is a child’s tender hope!

The Hands That Always Gave...

The Hands That Always Gave…

Despite the countless prayers and the sleepless nights holding her hands, she got worse. Finally, she got her wish to go back to her house. She was happy to be where she had wanted to be all along – Home, a place that had always been her world.

Near the end, her hands were only signaling the lack of oxygen flow, dizziness or searing pain. She was stubbornly holding on to Life, not for herself, but because she had to live – for me. Such is a Mother’s Love – Selfless, Enduring and True…

After the sacrament of the Anointing of the Sick, her pain lessened and she stopped moaning. I whispered to her that night that it was alright to let go. That Jesus would always keep me safe, for her sake.

She died peacefully the next day. It was a miracle as I always had nightmares that she would be gasping for breath in her final moments as her lungs gave out.

My mother’s hands, that once had strengthened me, had a Rosary wound around them, readying her for her final journey on this earth. But at that time, all I could think was –

How will I live now, Mom? Bereft of your hugs. Bereft of your caresses.

The desolation echoes hollowly right to the pit of my soul.

None can love like you did – from the depths of your core…

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I had been thinking of starting a blog for years, researching on how to select a topic, what to write, how not to write, what fonts to use….  And now when I finally sat down to pen my very first post… Words fail me!

What does one write about when interests are varied and hobbies last as long as the sighting of a rainbow? I guess you can say I get bored easily. I might be chasing down butterflies on the sidewalk one day and not giving them a second glance the next.

But then what is Life but a series of accidents, happenstance or dare I say…. Miracles….

Miracles? Yes, I do believe they happen… Some to help, some to uplift, some to soothe and some to teach…  But miracles are not always as obvious as they show them on the silver screen with thunder, lightning and background score…

No… They are usually subtle… Soft as a baby’s caress or unseen like a mother’s love… It is more in hindsight that we realize what miracles God had wrought in our lives. The first and what should be the most obvious miracle is that we have been born… But how many of us really feel thankful for it and express our gratitude in prayer? Not many I guess…

It is way easier to crib about the loss of a job, a lousy boss, bad health, demanding spouse, errant children… Don’t get me wrong. Even I have been guilty of complaining about my circumstances like everyone else. But then when I reflect on the many things I can be grateful for, I feel a sense of peaceful gratitude that is difficult to describe.

So learn to be grateful from the heart and who knows… You may sight miracles more often than others…

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