Several decades after his death, my father is more alive today than he ever was in life. He had a mind unshakable as a mighty oak, and a personality as remote as desert sand. I feared him, but never loved him truly, not until he died.
It was his tough and aloof exterior in part—the rest was my own inability to understand him—which kept me from appreciating the great attributes that God had imbibed in him, the qualities that we call strength of character.
He was a stranger, lived alone even amidst crowd, and was forced to spend most of his adult life away from his own family, to earn livelihood. He visited my mother and other siblings, only for short durations. My mother played the role of both parents in our lives. This did not help my relationship with my father either.
In life I only focused on his shortcomings, amplified the disappointments of my own thwarted expectations, and piled them up to construct a wall so high, what could never be torn down.
Even when he fell sick toward the end of his life, his vulnerabilities evident for the first time, did not set the realization in me that that was the time when he needed all the help I could muster. It nevertheless appears, looking from where I am today, I failed to provide my very best for him.
Now that he is gone, although for many years to date, not a day seems to pass when I do not think of him. And I can see him clearer through my misty eyes, than I ever saw him in life. I can see his over pouring love for me behind his unemotional façade; and no trace is left of the detachment that there was in life.
Something tells me, my father had always been my guiding angel, and will forever be there for me, in the eternity where time stands still and all beings exist in their true spirits. And I know that he too is aware of that.
Or, is that all projection of my own longing, guilt, and susceptibility?
But, who am I? Do I really exist? Where am I, when not in here?
If there is no heaven and no hell, where do people go when they die?
What are people, by the way, except not for the rotating electrons around protons and neutrons that create the illusion of three dimensional objects? Is it not all emptiness—Maya, created out of interplay of quarks—energy masquerading as particle?
What are we but our thoughts, and play out of our thoughts, that we call our actions?