It is the new year and with that it has new promises & anticipations. While promises make our future hopeful, sometimes it’s the past that holds more importance instead. Learnings are the paths we walked on to reach here, and it’s the promises that’ll shape our futures hereon. Thought like these don’t dawn upon someone just like that. What evoked this sudden stroke was a recent quote that was glued to my mind – despair is the solace of a fool. It made me think if it’s the past that’s causing despair or is it the despair itself that’s stripping the future off of any promise and leaving the fool to find solace in such a gloomy emotion? And as normal as it is, if not natural, for one to apply such quotes to self I’m a fool of those sorts too to have done just that. I dove within searching for an answer and did find little disappointment in self. This is where my older past steps in. How the human evolution has its AD & BC, I’ve one of my own marked by my father’s moving to the heavens to enjoy the hospitality of beautiful apsaras. Life seems clearly different before and after it.
The biggest joy of life has been in realising the love for traveling. Be it in falling in love with your own company, in journeys awaiting, in views to be imbibed, new people to meet, understanding history, culture, and architecture, in compassion, in feeling vulnerable, introspection, retrospection, or finding strength within en route, its various aspects satiate my multiple emotions and feed them for the future. The before, then, and the after of all travels have joys of their own. And while that sits comfortably in one happy corner, there’s a darker corner too that feeds the minds sporadically, one that’s filled with disappointments, regrets, and dismays. My biggest regret is to not have expressed to my father enough what he meant to me, how much I looked up to him, and how I silently adored him. He was my hero, my tiger, my rockstar, I miss him. The absolute assurance of inability to bring him back and relive the joy of his presence will forever be my biggest regret. I wish he wasn’t gone. And this is where I draw the question – what is commanding the loss of hope? Is it the past or the future?
How strongly one clinches on to the past, and how far can he see in the future to find hope decides his now. It always will be the now. I guess it’s neither the past nor the future thats commanding the loss, the present does. And where I stand currently, I wish to lose the biggest regret of the past and also brighten the promises of the future, and if that happens simultaneously it’ll create a present that’ll be absolute, nurturing, and simply perfect. I wish I could bring my old man back to life and travel with him once. A long journey though, much like the UNESCO travels, brimming with various experiences and spanning over a year and its various seasons. With his experience and wisdom and my passion and energy, we would be a team. We’ll share bunkers in hostels, set alarms and fight over who gets up first, exhaust hot water reserves for comfy showers in cold, clink mugs filled with freshly brewed coffees, decipher maps and define paths to take, conversations we would have, emotions we would go through, our varied ways of looking at things, amalgamation of our versions of them forming new stories, the decisions we would take, the arguments we’d have over petty things, meals we would share, and drams we’d get spirited with. We’d hang backpacks on our sturdy shoulders and trek the Himalayas to witness sun’s first light falling on that tall mountain’s tip, and take a pause from the magical moment to silently salute each other with our moist & tired eyes and crinkling smiles, for the hardships and discomforts we went through to get here and yet stood strong in camaraderie and regard in its conclusion. I’d give him the window seat in the bus and look at him stare out the window with creases on his forehead, lost in thoughts, tearing in to the distance, and silently observe the depth and flow of his face’s wrinkles, attempting to trace how they got there. What have those tired eyes seen that such beautiful views and crisp nippy winds also are failing in making them smile or blink? I’d observe his arms clutching the backpack and see those thick nerves visible though the skin and wonder how I was once sitting in his lap and these arms were the safest blanket I had. What it meant for him to clutch my hand in his and walk in a crowded market, assuring nothing will ever go wrong till we’re together. And now that I’ve grown up these hand are contained and don’t reach each other often, smothered in the discomfort of the manhood that stands between a father-son relationship. Why don’t we hug no more while once his chest was the safest place for me to cling to when the only word I knew how to utter was ‘papa’. On a long journey, I would offer him to lean on my shoulder and take a nap which will kindle a thousand emotions in him. How once I was just a baby and slept on his shoulders, and today his big boy is grown up enough to offer him that comfort on his. It would be a whirlpool of emotions for him helping me wear my backpack, to that same kid on whom he once put bags on each morning and dropped at the front gate of the school. Today, the same child has grown up and is helping him wear a backpack too to travel together to the school of life, share a bench, read different chapters of the same book, and eat from each other’s lunch boxes at breaks. And this would go on and on and on…
He travels with me on every journey. Any though, every sight, and all experiences worthy of altering anything in me runs a side-track – ‘if only papa was here to experience this too’. He’s always with me yet the dissatisfaction of not having done this in person with the greatest man who ever walked the face of this planet, my mentor, my idol, my solid old man, will always remain. There’s no despair, I’m not a fool, and there’s miles to go before solace is found. He makes the past more valuable, seem more promising, fills ambitions to do everything to make him proud in the now, and the future a little less hopeful and joyous in its own way instead, though not depressing.
To my old man, I’ll climb mountains to meet you in the clouds, highest I can come to with me my feet still on the ground. You, hold on!!