December 20, 2007

I dreamt of him again.  

Only this time, he was much older. The winter sunlight lightened up his wrinkled face and salt-pepper hair. He sat by the window and read the book he had read when I was eight. The one with the red hard cover. The one which was really thick and special to him.

I called him after years… ‘baba’ and he looked at me and smiled. I was surprised! It’s the same smile- the kind I would see every time he told me about his research or about his dreams for us.

In less than a second, the smile vanished. He was gone. Like the day, I had woken up to see him gone… 

Seven years after my father left us, I have actually gathered the courage or rather the will to sit down and write about him. In all these years, I never spoke of or to him. Never wrote about him. Never screamed, howled or threw my hands on the air to get rid of the grudges I had piled up.

When I look back, I wonder if there has been a single day that I have not remembered him. I admit, he has been rarely in my prayers. But almost all the time, he has been a part of my painful secrets. For years, I locked his memory inside this little box deep within me. I held on to it, as though if I let it out, if I let it go, there would be nothing left for me.

Today, I tell myself- I have come into terms to it. I have accepted it and I have forgiven him.

And, for once I let it out- I miss you terribly, baba. I miss your kind, smiling face that told me, you are proud of me. I miss listening to your deep, husky voice. I miss waking up to the rabindra sangeet or Manna Da that you hummed each morning. I miss being scolded. being ordered. Being punished for not getting an A in Maths. I miss hearing you complain about me not wanting to become a doctor and researcher like you. I miss your mood swings and anger. I miss your presence. I miss you baba.

Years ago, when my parent’s marriage took a bitter turn, I never saw it coming. I never thought it would end, in a brief moment. 

The day I got to know about my father’s affair, a part of lost faith and trust. Since childhood, I had looked up-to him. In almost every way. That day, as I walked out of the place where I saw another woman in my father’s arms, I felt he had let me down. I never spoke to him after that. For months, we lived in the same house. I would hear him grumble and often make a mess out of almost nothing at all, in an attempt to make me speak. But I would not.

Maybe, I was too stubborn. Maybe, I should have tried to understand. Or just speak up. But, I did not.

He sold off the house that my parents had made together (a few years after we had come to Bangladesh) and gave us a choice to stay with him. I refused and stood by my mom. It hit his ego and he did everything to make sure we, the three siblings stay with him. When we did not, we were left without a penny, house or anything at all. To make it worse, he convinced my little brother to stay with him and made sure we never got to meet him.

We spent months, in trying to fight the case for taking my brother and getting some form of support from my father. But, his influence reached out to the highest level. And at the end, we gave up.

That’s when I started writing and working.  And that’s when I truly grew as an individual. But, living without a father is not at all easy. And, I felt that in almost every step, in almost every way. So, every time something terrible happened to me, I would blame it on him. When the worst had happened, I had screamed and cried and cursed him for leaving me alone like this- only for a brief moment.

But, strangely enough, I have put aside all of those grudges. I have picked up the pieces and tried to move on….maybe because, things are so much better now. And partly because I do not know who to blame- baba, for being selfish and leaving us? or ma for being too engrossed in her own pain and need, to let me go through all that? Also, both ma and baba, have loved me enough, to let me go through some long lasting and bitter experiences. So, in exchange of all that, in exchange of that love… I am letting go just, some of the grudges today.

Moreover, it’s about time the secret box is emptied, just a bit…. don’t know if I will add anymore to it or not. But certainly, just a little reduction in the pile wouldn’t hurt much, now would it? 


  1. It is a hard thing to learn that your parents are only human. As such they have their flaws too just like anyone else.

    From your story, I do not know if you are lucky or not. Many children do not have so many good years and good memories of their parents before they learn their parents are fallible and fragile. Some children only have memories of violence and hate.

    You have solace in the idea that you have so many years of good memories before you had to find out that your parents were not perfect.

    I think your dream was not a dream and your baba showed up to let you know that he knows that you are growing up, and there is room in your heart for him as a human being too. May we all be so fortunate.

  2. thank you…

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