The train screeched to a resounding halt in the small & dingy station of my village. The train would halt for just 2 minutes, people clamoured to get down from the train, I waited patiently near the door as the familiar scent of the farmlands reached me.
I got down from the train which was by now picking up speed to reach its next destination on time & then it was just the sound of people on the station. I could hear the more than familiar faint rumbling of the Ganga Waters. I was back after five long years.
I carried my travel bag tugging along the suitcase & walked towards the mighty river, as the peaceful sound of the calm waters of Ganga river sounded closer, my heart beats started rising. It was these very banks where my papa had taught me how to swim, remembering how he used to hold the middle of my stomach acting as a buoy in a water & urging me to swim “Move your Legs Beta otherwise you will drown”
It took me sometime to learn that he was the “buoy” who kept me from drowning in this vast river called as “Life”
I sat down on the banks & the scenes slowly began to flash before my eyes.
My dad fighting with his brothers just for my education, he wanted me to attend the best of the schools in the town although he himself was educated only till class 8th.
It was a make or break moment for my dad as he was the eldest & had to look after the family too which included 3 brothers & 3 sisters but he fought them just for me.
We shifted to a different place & he started a new life undeterred by the recent spate of events.He earned more money than anybody else in fact more than what my uncle’s earned together, he was no stranger to hard work & inculcated the same habit in me.
Even after his company closed down he started selling many items ranging from pan, samosa’s, driving rickshaws when he got some on rent. I was sent to a good college & used to feel ashamed when someone used to ask me “Hey, What does your dad do?”
I never answered that question then but now I feel proud to have a father who did everything that he could just so that I don’t live a life that he lived.
Even till last year he supported me by doing odd menial jobs so that the house income would keep running & I would not be bothered about earning for the family.
And as they say “Hard work always pays” , I was now newly appointed as a Manager of a leading firm in the closest metro city. I had come back to give the news that he always wanted to hear.
Reminiscing, I slowly walked on the winding brick paved path which ended at the doorstep of my house. Nothing had changed, the elders sitting on the cots outside greeted me with their warm smiles as I approached my house.
The familiar Neem & Mango trees in the Verandah were in front of me with the old yet strong 2 storeyed structure in the background. The rocky steps which my dad had built was still holding its ground.
I climbed the steps & reached the door which was a bit ajar with my dad sitting on the cot reading a local newspaper with his glasses on. As I pushed the door open, he looked up to see me standing in the doorway & in an instant his face broke into a smile.
He knew, he somehow knew I had not disappointed him, a thing which I could never fathom as to how he always knew what I was thinking. I had never hugged my dad, he had always needed it but no one was there to give it to him, that assurance, that feeling of being understood.
This time however the urge to hug him arose in me, not for him, but for myself & I dint delay it any further which was exemplified by the fact that my shoulders had become wet by now with tears of the man who had never cried in front of me, that strong ….strong man.