This time I went to my home, I saw my father’s hair greying. Something pained me. He was aging. I had never seen any grey hair on him before. Though many of his friends, some younger to him, had grey hair, he had a scalp-full of black hair; not even a single grey hair that I could spot. I had never seen him applying oil or shampoo on them in his lifetime. They were natural. Though some of his beard-hairs had greyed earlier, he never bothered to color them. And that added to his calm and composed look. Calm and composed that he was, mostly!
But when he gets, his wrath can burn everything like the third eye of Lord Shiva!
I remember once we were playing cricket in our courtyard—me and my brother. It was noon. And my father was having his afternoon nap; too lazy a person he is. We had got this new bat— a ‘Kingfisher’ bat for a local ‘China Market’. It was the first real bat that we bought. Earlier we used to use a nicely-cut bamboo piece or a piece of a wooden plank that we would get polished by the carpenter working at our house as bat. So this was the first real bat and it had been hardly a week that we bought it. We were playing and it’s obvious we’d be making some noise while we’re playing. I was batting and my brother bowling. I saw my father coming out of the house with a dao (an Assamese sword) in his hand. We could understand that we’re dead if he could catch us. So we ran for our lives. From a corner I saw my father cutting the new bat with the dao into pieces; tears rolled down my cheeks. It was the first bat that we had bought! And the funny part was he was even trying to cut the tennis ball, which bounced back every time the dao hit it. After a few failed attempts, he threw the ball into our pond. We got the ball back later when the pond-water was pumped out to catch the fishes.
Another time, I had gone home during my vacation in my engineering. It was not that late at night— around 10 o’clock maybe. But people sleep early in villages. So everyone had slept and I was watching TV in another room. We had no liberty of latching our rooms; there was no privacy. Everything was open. My father was getting disturbed due to the sound of the TV. So he said me two-three times to switch off the TV (which I got to know later), but I could not hear because of the sound of the TV. So he came to my room. I was watching. He unlatched the hook on the door, opened the door, pulled out the plug of the TV from the electric-board, took the TV and threw it on the courtyard. He then latched the door and went back to sleep. I was watching. Few minutes later, my mother came, unlatched the door, brought the TV back inside, put it on the table, latched the door, and went back to sleep. I was still watching.
So such was my father! When calm he’s totally calm and when angry he doesn’t see anything.
He has his own ways of caring. I remember when my mother was sick and had to be hospitalized, he had done all the work at home all on his own. He used to get up early in the morning, cook food for us before we two bothers went to school, then travel 2 hours in a bus to his workplace, work there, again come back and cook food again for us in the evening. Also he’d take some, at times to the hospital. And I wondered how someone who was so lazy could do so much, without even complaining anything.
We were never close. I hardly even talked to him. Whenever I needed something I’d tell my mother and she’d pass it to him. But I know he cares for me— for us. And now that he is aging and I’m working in another state, I kind of feel running away from my responsibilities. Life is too short. When all these years passed, I couldn’t even tell. And I know he won’t be asking me anything; he never has he never will. But shouldn’t I be giving something to him?