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Water memory

By Nickunj Malik - May 03,2017 - Last updated at May 03,2017

Despite the passage of time, some memories never really fade away. They simply lie in a semi dormant stage, just below the surface and a slight trigger — like a scenery, poem, incident or dialogue — brings them back to life in a jiffy.

Take me for example, while listening to an old song from an Indian film called “Parichay” that means “Introduction” in English, I was swamped with nostalgia. This movie was released in the year 1972 and was supposed to be a remake of the Hollywood classic “Sound of Music” though the director, strongly denied it. The picture had a lot of kid-artists, five to be precise, and my parents thought it was a good idea to gather our neighbourhood children, and take us all to the films together. We were ten in all and filled an entire row in the darkened theatre. The audience alternated between watching the child performers on the screen and us, although I must confess that there were times that they found our antics more entertaining. 

There was a subplot that ran parallel to the main storyline, which was very interesting. The primary theme was about disciplining the unruly bunch of ill-mannered kids but the secondary tale underlined the tenderness between an ailing musician father, and his teenaged daughter. The actors playing these two roles were exceptional and the there was a song that the father-daughter sang about the times gone by. The gentleness they imparted to their characters reduced me to tears. 

I remember snivelling softly so that none of my friends could notice my inability to control my emotions and call me a crybaby later. As we all know, at an age when I was not even eight years old, that was a fate worse than death. Suddenly I felt a warm hand on my scalp and a crisp white handkerchief under my nose. Even without turning sideways I understood it was my dad who had come to the rescue and I stopped weeping immediately.

My father had a unique manner of blessing everyone who greeted him, which was very exceptional. He would literally cup our head with his palm and say “bless you”. The gesture was so reassuring that we literally felt blessed and all our troubles lifted instantly. If I had a row with one of my siblings, he would hear me out and then calm me down by running his hand on my head repeatedly, while reciting the numerous nicknames he had for me. Some of them were so funny that I would burst out in laughter.

It will be twenty-two years this month since I lost him but listening to the father-daughter song earlier, I was flooded with memories. The lyrics, penned by India’s famous poet and lyricist Gulzar, describe how centuries may come and go, but the remembrance of even the smallest things, never truly disappears from our subconscious.

Humming along with the professional singers, I tried to master the stanzas and teach myself the melody as a tribute to my father. 

“Beeti hui batiyan koi dohraye,” I sang in Hindi. 

“Sorry?” my husband exclaimed

“Will someone repeat the long forgotten conversations,” I translated. 

“Bhoole huye naamon se koi toh bulaye,” I crooned some more. 

“Will someone call me by my long forgotten names?” my spouse interpreted this time. 

“Sorry?” it was my turn to be shocked. 

“You can still decipher pure Hindi?” I asked. 

 

“Once upon a time I was called Gulzar,” he laughed. 

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Comments

Nickunj certain memories really do not fade. As they say time is the best healer, but non can actually wipe out the memories of our childhood - especially those involving our parents. Twenty two years is but just a fragment in the vast canvas of our lives and hence when you flip through the pages of your life it appears to be a happening of recent past. At our age these partings are inevitable however painful they are. We all share your feelings dear.

Lovely piece once again. That left me humming that song too. Yug aaate hain aur yug jaaye..... Dads and daughters create memories that live on with whoever lives on to remember..you express it beautifully

A poignant one indeed, Nickunj M! These memories are treasures and you have beautifully penned your emotions thus making this a great write-up.

Exceptionally penned memoirs from a daughter of her father that triggers emotional tears rolling down the reader's cheeks. The vivid description adds a third dimension to the reader's perspective which travels straight to the moments so gleefully narrated. I'm just transposed to those golden days of 1972.

Papa ki yaad a gayi..Ek aansoo Kisi koney mein Jo chupa rakha thaa..Woh nikal gaya...

Question all we do Demand answers when we search for them yet cannot see what we look for help is but a arms length away we shall prevale

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