“Hey N?? You alright??” , asked T when she saw me getting up from my desk. I was packing up things early today.
“Yah, why you asked?”, I replied with a counter-question not looking up.
“You seem to be a little low today since morning.” That wasn’t a question from her but a declaration.
“Umm.. Nothing. I’m all good. You joining me for home?”, I replied, trying to change the thread of our discussion.
“Don’t lie. It’s written all over your face”, she said as she pulled me to sit in the chair near her.
Seeing me reluctant to spill the beans she decided to join me on my way home.
“Let’s have some coffee on the way”, she said as we walked out of the office. This was her usual trick to buy herself some more time to dig in. And being me, I usually wouldn’t hold the things inside for so long. If I couldn’t get myself away, I would give away the reasons to the person next to me, it was her usually.
After ordering a cappuccino for both of us, she poked me again. Her face said that she won’t take a no for an answer.
“Fine T. I’m homesick.” I declared, hoping nothing else will follow.
“Hmm, I should have guessed it. But you just came back from home last week itself.”
“Nothing T, just missing dad today.” I passed her my phone and showed her the video I have received today in the morning while on my way to office.
“Oh this is the cause for the frown on your face. N, it’s the part of life.”
I nodded. She knew I wasn’t done yet. She spoke nothing, and the silence encouraged me to speak further.
“Now that I am finally working, I realize what it is like. I remember, how I used to say to Dad that work was his priority and he never had time for me. Now I realize, all that time, he was working not for himself but for me, for us.”
“I remember, the first time when he taught me how to ride a bicycle. He must have been afraid that I will fall and hurt myself but then he didn’t show that to me. I knew he was there for me, if I fall. His strength gave me wings. It sounds silly though but you know what T, he bought me computer against everyone’s wish, stating it will help me to be better in my academics. When he was posted out station, he always sent his love through his letters. I think that’s how my love for letters and writing was born. Knowingly or Unknowingly, he brought out the best in me.”
“I remember, when he had sent me away for higher education. It must have been harder for him than it was for me, to send his princess away from him. He never showed me his tears but his heart must have cried to let me go. But his patience gave me strength to be away from home and fulfill his dreams. The pains he took have made me who I am today. The words of wisdom he said over the years gave me courage to fly high in the sky and become independent. Whenever I felt low, his voice was enough to cheer me up. He always stood by my most stupid decisions. He knew I will learn from them, success or failure didn’t matter, as long as I learnt the right lessons. Whenever I failed, his words would encourage me to pick up the broken pieces of my life and start afresh. He has always been my best mentor and always will be”, as I finished venting out, a few tears had already escaped. T got up to hug me tight. She then picked up my phone. I looked at her, confused. Dialing a number, she handed me the phone.
“Here, Talk to him.” She somehow always knew what to do.
“Hmm”, I took the phone.
He picked up, a few rings later.
“I’m sorry Dad…”, I paused for a second and the continued, “.. for hurting you with my harsh words yesterday.” And finally everything was normal and a smile found its way back to my face.