When my papa came to meet me, 175 days after his demise 😔…

Naini Lake — The nucleus of Nainital’s (Uttarakhand state, India) exquisite beauty. In the day, mirrored in its waters stands the seven proud hills, dotted with pretty cottages and villas. More beautiful than this however is the lake at night when the myriads of bulbs from the hill sides and quite a large number hanging near the lake’s edge stab their magic light into its waters.

The lake offers holiday makers ample opportunity for yachting, boating or paddling a boat. My 75-year mentally young but physically old dad along with my brother and I had been to this exotically scenic lake to do some boating. We selected the motor boat as we wanted the thrill of high speed and splashing waters and the wind gushing on our faces. The three of us were seated with my brother seated in the front and me at the rear end of the boat. We had an adventure and finally after a 15-minute bumpy and wet boat drive we came to the parking station and were waiting for the boatman to disembark us.

Suddenly out of nowhere a chopper appeared and lifted our boat off in the air and after a few seconds we realised this was a surprise component of the boat ride. But all this was done at such a speed and with an intent of a surprise that the boat was able to be lifted only from the front part and hence we were all hanging from the boat. My brother had a front end bar which he hung on to for his dear life and my dad had another bar to hold on to. I was left with nothing to hold and so out of sheer desperation I clung to my dad and all three of us were in mid-air, all hanging, and clinging to the bars and me to dad. Within seconds I realised that my dad was not only handling his own body weight on his frail hands but also mine! I was in a wild dilemma — let go holding my dad and fall hundreds of meters in the cold lake water or try some acrobatics. I yelled across the gushing air to my dad and asked him whether he was able to manage this and whether he would be able to sustain a couple of minutes more as the chopper guys had already realised the accident and were in the process of lowering us. He meekly shook his head saying he won’t be able to hold on much longer.

I decided to use some of my athletic skills and strength. I started to go towards the rod that my dad was hanging too — all the time putting more and more pressure on poor dad. But he wouldn’t utter a word of stress and pain. Finally I could cross over his body and got hold of the bar. I asked dad to leave the bar and just hug me tight. Within the next minute, we were lowered and immediate medical attention was provided. All this happened within a couple of minutes but this was probably the longest nightmare of my life! I woke up shaken and on realization that it was all a dream, I thanked the holy lord but was surprised as to why suddenly had my dad come in my dreams. It was 3 am and I could sleep no longer. In the quest of coming to a conclusion about this, I then decided to write down my thoughts.

Why did I write this story? The story is not at all about my dream and that my dad came into my dream. It’s about the man he was. A completely self-made man from an extremely humble background. Entrepreneurial by nature but devoid of any business opportunity post graduation, this man made the most of what was available to him. And the amazing part of his personality was that even when he was wanting all his life, he was one of the most generous men I have ever known. His life was about giving. When I was young, he had told me that love is not an equation…there is no plus and minus…its only giving. The moment you give with an expectation, it is no longer love!

One of the many things we learnt from him was his definition of love. For him, loving someone was as natural as breathing. We have heard statements like “he treated her like a princess”…“she was the queen of his heart”, etc., well for my dad my mom was like a Goddess. He revered her. He pampered her beyond reason. He protected her everything and everyone. He took care of her like a mom taking care of her infant baby. I remember days when my mom dad used to come to my home. Dad was hardly able to walk, he used to drag his feet while taking steps and just couldn’t hold up his head high. From 72 kgs, his weight had dropped to 47 and he being a tall man, his back and head had all drooped down. Even in this situation, he used to give a hand to mom as a support or open doors for her and all her medications and house chores were done by him. Incredible beyond any human understandfing. I can go on and on but I want to share a few more things about my dad.

Coming back to my dream…😁…well why this dream became so special was because it brought out the true nature of my dad. He was hanging his body and managing my weight while holding to that bar. This is so much him. He would take away all your sorrows and never utter a word of discomfort. So much so that if you do not pay the right atention and care you won’t even realize the pain and agony he goes through. For him, making others worry or get pained/ hurt because of him is a huge no-no. A month before he left us he used to do all his stuff including dragging (literally) himself to the clinics and dentist. All this may sound normal but in the case of a man suffering from two cancers, Parkinson’s disease and in the final days with almost nothing but bones and skin left on his body, it was jaw dropping. And never any sarcasm or mocking or cribbing. A gentleman to the core! He wants to propably reiterate these qualities in me. A gentle reinforcement to us that life needs to be lived this way. Giving is everything. Giving is love. The joy of happiness comes from giving and not expecting anything in return. I believe that the support, love, care, and company that we four children are giving to mom made him proud of us and so happy that he decided to come into my dream and show his appreciation and love to us. This would be the reason, and now I am convinced.

Overall feeling blessed and lucky to have a man like him as a dad. Lot of memories…lot of learnings…lot of love…lot of guidance — defines my dear dad. God bless his soul! Love you always dear papa.





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Snehal Karia

Snehal Karia


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