June 20, 2010
A father's day post in Honor of my Dad - Arissa's Grandpa
He grew up in a very wealthy family but he was never arrogant or pretentious. He was always willing to lend anyone a helping hand, even when no one was willing to reciprocate. He was very patriotic and fought for the independence of Bangladesh when he was a only a 15 year old teen. He was one of the youngest Freedom Fighters of the country and he was so proud of that that he specifically requested to have "Freedom Fighter in Bangladesh Liberation War' written on his grave marker. During his university years he was heavily involved in student politics and eventually he developed such a passion for politics it continued on after his studies. While my mother was pregnant with me, he along with some of his fellow classmates were arrested at a protest rally. My distressed mother had to go down to the police station to see him. When my father saw her standing behind the bars with her then 7 month pregnant belly, in tears, he realized his zeal for politics would get in the way of him living a normal family life. That day, while I was still in-utero, the decision he made, was the first of many sacrifices he would make for me. My father made me who I am. He taught me almost everything I know about life, family, loyalty, and commitment. His love of books and literature is the reason why today I am an avid reader; he loved traveling and would often take my mom and sisters on vacations and now I love to travel; he introduced me to the game of soccer and I've loved it since. I learned about religion, spirituality and culture from the stories he would tell me when I was a child. He taught me to be compassionate, loyal and to never discriminate. He is also the reason I'm so stubborn and over-protective. He had a big smile and an even bigger heart. I am my Papa's daughter in appearance and in spirit.
When he was alive, many people would often tell me how lucky I was to have him as my father. And I realized it then but I realize it more now - my dad was one of those 'I'd go-to-the-end-of-the-world-for-my-kid' kinda dads you see in movies. He has a very active parent - involved in almost every aspect of my life. He was the one who woke me up in the morning for school, he was the one who made my lunch, he was the one who practiced soccer with me, he was the one who carried me to the hospital when I broke my leg. During my final year of high school, I ended up with less than a 75% in Math and without that 75% I wouldn't have been allowed into the program I planned on going into. I remember that day so clearly, the day my report card was sent home. He never scolded me for not having worked harder. Instead he went down to my school and spoke to the vice-principal about how to solve the dilemma I was suddenly in. Unfortunately, that summer, that math course was not being offered by the Toronto School Board at summer school. My VP suggested he try some of the school boards outside Toronto. We traveled for hours to different schools until we found the catholic school board in a small outskirt city almost an hour and half away from where we lived was offering the course in the summer. And for the next one month, my father drove me down there Mon-Fri at 6:30am for the 8am class, came back and sat in the car with lunch (the nearest fast food place from the school was a 15 min walk), asked me what I was learning and then there he was again waiting in the parking lot after school always there, always on time. My father was dependable and his supporting hand was always there guiding me through life. He loved being a parent and worked so hard to always keep my sisters and I happy. When I was a kid, and he was away on a business trip, the only way I could fall asleep was by holding a piece of his clothing that smelled like him. That made me feel safe and secure. After he passed, I still kept something of his in my closest so I could feel he was still close to me. I guess the only thing he never taught me was independence. That's probably why it was so difficult for me when he had to finally let go of my hand. Until Sunvi came into my life, being that alone, vulnerable and suddenly having to become a responsible adult instead of the adored child, was very hard to handle.
It's been almost 6 years since he's been gone and that gut wrenching pain I feel in me when I think about him hasn't abated. Isn't it suppose to get easier with time? Then how come even trying to write about him makes me want to clutch my chest and curl up in a dark corner and cry? Anyways, My father loved his daughters. We were the center of his universe and what hurts me most now is that he doesn't have the chance to love his granddaughter. He would have been an amazing grandpa, very capable of caring for her, very patient. He would have carried her around on his shoulders just like he did with me. I can only imagine, the joy she would have brought him. I think he would have been happier than when my sisters and I were born. Sometimes I get so mad thinking how unfair it is that someone who had so much love left to give, was taken so quickly. Sunvi often feels like he missed out on learning from such a caring, intelligent and wonderful father. Sunvi and I both hope to follow in his footsteps as a parent because as a parent he had almost no flaws - there was no carelessness, no compromise when it came to the happiness of his 3 girls. The way I parent and the type of mother I am and will be, is a result of what I have learned from my parents.
Arissa will never get to meet her grandpa but I will make sure she knows him. He deserves to be a 'present' part of her life. And I know he watches over me, just like he will watch over his grandbaby. She's got his heart warming smile :)