Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Letters to Dad – 21st February 2004

Dearest Dad,

I realized it’s high time we revived a certain tradition that both of us – you, and me, by virtue of being your daughter, have held so close to our hearts. As you might have very rightly guessed, it’s about getting back to the art of writing letters – it feels like ages since I wrote something to you out of my hand. The fact that my handwriting seems utterly messy would suffice to say that I have moved distantly away from a culture that has a charm of its own and demands special prowess. Nevertheless, I shall attribute that to initial trouble and move on.


Dad, I am planning to do this thing, systematically. Let matters of daily routine rest with our usual telephonic conversations and daily mails. These letters will be different. Let me explain. Do you remember those nights when I returned home for my vacation? We used to sit in the balcony, look up at the sky and talk philosophy watching the stars! I remember how we used to glide from one topic to another and let words play, to put forth our different ideas. Discussions, they were, that taught me plenty and left me wanting for more.

Time has always ushered new things into our lives and can you believe it is seven years since you got me married? Dad, try how much ever, it’s been tough to maintain our relationship the way it had been before my marriage. However, my love and concern for you and mom, have remained unquestionably intact and isn’t it true that love grows even more splendidly in separation?

I want to begin this series of letters, with a special person who has redefined the meaning of my life and in the process, has offered me such interesting perspectives and thoughts that I haven’t really been able to identify myself with, before. Yes, I am indeed talking about the three year old brat that I have for a son and you for a grandson - Aryan. Dad, you got to tell me if I had been such a big trouble for you when I was young. This chap really gives me all the exercise I need to keep me going in my old age – very active, or more appropriately, brimming with ‘difficult-to-manage’ mischief.

I know I have shared aspects of his growing up with you and mom, over the phone. But certain observations, a few realizations, I feel I can best articulate only through writing. It so happens that when you watch your child grow up, it’s almost like looking into a mirror and seeing your own childhood. In a way, it’s an access to insights about what I might have been when I was a child and what as a parent, you would have done (leaving aside photographs) – things that I, in all realistic possibility don’t have an inkling about.

What I want to share with you is the emotional side of bringing up and being with one’s child, after having been one, to one’s parents. Aryan brings inside me a gush of feelings – love, concern, responsibility, pride and sometimes, fear.

It’s surprising as to how a fresh soul can breeze in so much of happiness into one’s life. From the day Aryan was born, I have watched every act of his, as one of divine nature and worthy of all human awe. Ah, what could be more fulfilling than watching your child toddle, seeing his teeth grow, throwing all those fond admonitions for getting his shirt dirty, or for fussing over a glass of milk or for sucking his thumb? I remember you telling me how mom used to scare me that she would tie a cockroach to my finger if I ever sucked it again. May be, it’s time for me, to use those silly tricks again and feel foolishly superior to a child, who knows no fear. Dad, didn’t you feel this way too?

I tremble with pride when he cites nursery rhymes with half audible words and syllables that are yet to find their way to perfection through that sweet tongue. In child talk lies the core of innocence and I wish I could trap that and keep it with me forever. It’s something that experience has eroded off my being and I helplessly realize, my son would be subjected to the same fate.

I feel responsible for his life and sometimes as Akash puts it, get over protective and fussy. Can’t help it, can I? It’s that being a mother, I feel insecure when the child is away from my vicinity, slowly leading to fear. When he holds my hand, I feel overjoyed and overwhelmingly safe. As your child, didn’t I redefine the outlines of your life? May be I did, from what I am learning now.

My son teaches me so many things that I ironically have forgotten; the beauty of simplicity, the power of an inquisitive mind, for example. May be as a child, I had taught you similar things – what you taught your parents and had forgotten. Suddenly, your daughter starts teaching the same things all over again! We teach lessons, to forget them, only to learn them again. Vicious cycle?

It all seems so similar and it’s just that I was a daughter to you whereas Aryan is a son to me. But, we hand down those emotions, those tricks. And those childish pranks run down unstoppably, generation after generation. The phases that we observe and admire are undoubtedly the same through years. May be you used a cassette recorder to tape my rhymes and childish chatter. But today, I do it through my digital camera and my mobile phone. There are things that do not change and there are some that change.

I am led to believe that a chain of changes dominates every generation and at the same time, there are things that are handed down to children – such is life, isn’t it? For all that there is, we have so much to learn and ponder about!


We’ll indeed talk more on anything remotely possible, in the days to come. Do write back to me.

Love to mom and messy darling doggy, Bruno!

Lots of affection,
Sumi

PS: Dad, I miss your cake and your hug. Wish me Happy Birthday!
- Sumi

18 comments:

Parvati said...

You write so well! I think that you should publish. What say?

rakesh said...

i luv reading letters...thanx for the post :-)

Vani Viswanathan said...

awesome! :)

Anupama Viswanathan said...

Parvati, :)! Thanks, am all smiles..Publishing, yes, someday, I would love to do it..but long way to go! :)

Rakesh, thanks..glad you liked it! :)

Hey Vans, back after long! Thanks sweetie! :)

karthik said...

Speechless!! Wonderful..

Worth the wait.:)

Pavithra said...

Nice post !! I thought I'm the only person who loves to write letters.. happy to know that I'm not alone.

Seems u r having a wonderful time with Aryan :-).

Anupama Viswanathan said...

Karthik, Thanks a ton! :)

Pavithra, thanks! :)..but I guess there is a big confusion!! This is a piece of fiction. I don't have a son named Aryan! :D (if that's what you are implying!!!)

biju said...

lovely.

Pavithra said...

Anu .. yes, I thought it was a real letter. fiction? :-(.
Then, ur imagination takes credit :-). It felt so real.

யாத்திரீகன் said...

hi anu.. a comment from a indirect regular blog reader (who doesnt has internet access).. a writter deserves all the praise they get (direct/indirect)... lemme not deprive you from that :-)

now here goes the comments !!!

Warning: Emotional mails!
Im in office and am shedding tears ;-)

I enjoyed this a lot and lot. Sathyamaa naan enga appa kitta pesana maadhiri irundhudhu.
From realizing the importance of writing letters to philosophical discussions, even the child's part you know.

Some times I feel that how great is motherhood to have such unconditional love, no expectations nothing, just giving!

Naan enga Appa kitta sollanum nu nenachudhu ellaam appadiye irundhudhu.
When my dad called me yesterday he was like, "Come here immediately, feel like seeing you. Then somehow I consoled him.

I've never seen him like this. After reading this mail, feel like reading those almost 50 hand written letters (in green ink) from my dad during my school days, which are now in my cupboard at Tirupur.
Sometimes in college I used to reread them. It gave me different perspectives at different times. Only then I understood the importance of Nehru's letters to his daughter.

And nothing can equal the hard copy of the hand written letter. The joy it gives and emotions it evokes is unparalleled.

Cheers,
Nayaki.

Anupama Viswanathan said...

Biju, thanks! :)

Pavithra, haha..u want to give me the credit again..good! thanks again! :)

Yaathrigan, thank you very much! Indeed kind of you to have shared thoughts from your friend, here..Please thank Nayaki on my behalf!:)

யாத்திரீகன் said...

sure anu.. she's a best friend of mine.. and does shares the same kinda thoughts as sumi in the letters... :-)

>>> a chain of changes dominates every generation and at the same time, there are things that are handed down to children – such is life <<<

>>> he cites nursery rhymes with half audible words and syllables that are yet to find their way to perfection through that sweet tongue. In child talk lies the core of innocence and I wish I could trap that and keep it with me forever <<<


i loved these lines.. :-) .. just brought the essense of life and kids... "Yaazh Inidhu Kuzhazh Innidhu enbaar Mazhazhai Sol Kelathaar"

DD said...

letters... nothing else gives that feel, seriously!! :)

V N said...

wonderfully well writte!
wow... had a great raed, i shud say!
shall be back for more.
:)

NB: the waterdrops-on-the-pane pic is AWESOME!

Anupama Viswanathan said...

Yaathrigan, thanks! glad you liked those lines..:)

DD, true enough! :)

Velu Nair, welcome here. glad you liked the write up and the pic..do keep visiting! :)

Anonymous said...

Great work Anupama. I wouldnot have believed it as a fiction unless you told it. Very realistic and greatly potrayed...
I do agree with your friends. You must publishh...

Tweety

Anonymous said...

Wondering what would have been your dad's reply. For sure I can say that there would have at least been couple of drops from his eyes.

Art said...

wonderful letter... howmuch ever technology rules communication.. the letter u write on the paper has a personal topuch to it :)