Some things, some visuals, some incidents leave a lasting impression on your heart and mind.
It gets imprinted in your memory forever.
I have this one image of my dad which got imprinted when I was merely three years old – an age, I strongly doubt, anybody would be having any memory of.
He was standing fearless with his air rifle in his hand, guarding the entrance with a ferocious gaze, not a trace of terror on his forehead and a determination to save one and all – as a three-year-old, I was petrified at that instant but, at the same time, I fell in love with him for his valour.
It was the time of the 1984 riots and the notorious miscreants were creating havoc all over. There was a Sikh family in our neighbourhood comprising old people and kids. When there was panic all over and nobody dared to shelter them, my dad brought the entire family to our home. Then, he took out his air rifle and stood tall and strong, all alone at the door safeguarding us all.
The hooligans set ablaze the Sikh family’s home thinking the family was inside, did a lot of destruction, screamed weird slogans and left.
All through my dad didn’t move an inch from the gate and stood there unperturbed.
That night was the most horrific night I had ever witnessed as a three-year-old. My dad became my hero.
My dad, a patriot from the heart, always wanted to join the defence forces but he was rejected on medical grounds. One of his eyes was a sleeping eye, the disorder inherited by one of my elder brothers as well.
Nonetheless, he carried the traits of a true soldier in him all through his life.
He always hummed his favourite song
Humko teri kasam
Teri rahon mein Jaan bhi luta jayenge
That day, I comprehended that he not only sang that song but also lived that song. A true nationalist. He always said that even if one can not join the defence forces to serve the Nation, then also He can serve the Nation by being true towards it and its countrymen.
It’s been eighteen years that we have lost him but his teachings, his preachings and his favourite song are inherent in our daily lives.
LOVE YOU PAPA…