I am still not used to this particular word. In half a life, I have not really been fascinated with my father. I liked him a lot when I knew that he was a Communist during his college years. As he turned a businessman, he has never really interested me.
A few months back he had said. ``My whole life has been a failure. I may not last long.'' He was referring to his uncle, my mother's father still healthy at 88. Past sixty, my father has breathing trouble. He has very poor lungs. His heart has 11 percent problem and he eats tabs everyday.
Worse, he, who loved everyone, and who passed on that particular trait to his sons and daughter, is limiting his love to his ``own'' children and grand children. ``Others are not of use anyways,'' he feels.
Poor man, he never succeeded in his business. Everytime, he started something he only lost. Never profitted. And so he kept on spending lakhs and lakhs and has not given anything in cash to his children. You can't say he has been kind too. For he has always been authoritative and dominant. And disciplinarian.
With grandchildren, he has been absolutely kind. You can watch the little ones jumping and climbing over him and doing all sorts of naugty things on him.
My brother always told him that fathers should fund the education of children and not just preach morality. My father never paid the fees. In my memory, he used to give a couple of ten rupee notes when he comes calling to his sons' colleges.
However, he was there. All the time when the sons were in the small town. He always sent the sons off to college or to different destinations when they started working and when they went as a family. He always thought about the safety of his sons. Then, when he had money, he bought the tickets to the big town also.
The family, especially, his wife thinks he has wasted money. Not saving or giving anything for the children. For neither of her sons have any home on their own. And have nothing in bank also.
She is worried. Of late, my father is worried too. They keep fighting with each other over the wasted money. If there are a few things that can't be stopped in this world, its the family fight. Sometimes, it can hurt the children. But mostly, its a war of words. Nothing more than that.
Even now, my father spends the thousands he manages from somewhere. And the fight would resume. Thinking about all this, I was trying to sleep last night. I was sleeping near my father after a long time.
He was a shadow in sleep. With his medical kit by the pillow, he was swaying in his dreams. It was dark, if not pitch dark. I was thinking of all things past. Of my father and his family. Of course, materially speaking, my father's life has been a big failure.
The world and wives think that way. Sons should not think like that. To me, money and all those associated with it never have mattered. I have always wanted peace. Inside and Outside. To my knowledge, my father, despite a troubled life, has passed on his inner peace to us. My sister also feels that way.
His elder son is yet to realise peace within. He continues to live like his father, taking all the pain in the earth upon himself. Yet wishing the children and the world to live happily. Of all things inherited, this second son still thinks that moral inheritance to be a virtue.
It may be non-sensical to even talk of morality in this world. Yet, from his experience, this son states that his father's moral preaching has given him the peace, even if it was momentary and fleeting, that otherwise would have eluded him for life.
Friends often ask this son why was not he fully exploiting things material and sensual, inspite of life presenting opportunities in a platter at work as well as in the bed. The son always says to himself: ``My father has asked me to go by the book.'' This book has never been written. It has always been passed from fathers to sons, mostly unspoken.
In darkness, the son could see the light in his father's soul. Amidst the darkness of life. So pure and radiant. The great, guiding light of the family. Who said fathers are a failure? Let them waste all the money they want. Sons are here not for comfortable homes or crores of rupees. Only let them not drink.
Sons are here to pass on the light.
The light of life.