On Father’s Day, An Open Letter to My Dad’s Soul

"Your cell phone still buzzes with the calls of your friends unaware about your death"
On Father’s Day, An Open Letter to My Dad’s Soul
Representative ImageCarol Von Canon/Flickr

It has been three weeks since we lost you. Being a political aficionado and having an ear to the ground, I'm sure, in heaven, you would be curious to know about a host of things. So, be all ears Dad! I am going to give you a run down about certain things.

After rumours swirled through the Valley for many days, the Central government has finally reached out to the political leaders of Jammu and Kashmir and called an all-party meeting, which is slated for June 24 . What will transpire there I can hardly conjecture. I have stopped anticipating things since we lost you. Now, sometimes I don't even believe what I see with my own eyes. The doctors attending you at the hospital had anticipated your full recovery within a few days but you proved them wrong and upended our life.

Anyways, let us keep politics for another day, I will tell you some more interesting things.

You know, when mother subtly announced your passing away, I was yet to be up and about. She came into my room at around half past five in the morning and asked me to get up in a subdued voice while leaving the room. I knew she gave me the bad tidings of my life as normally she never wakes me up so early. I left my bed rather in a jiffy and soon she let out a mournful squall. I held back my tears for quite some time but was left with a lump in my throat. Suddenly I dissolved into tears and after some time cries began emanating from windows, doors and even small chinks of our home. Everyone in the family bawled their eyes out.

After some time, we bid you good-bye for a last time at our ancestral graveyard. It took two more days to taper off the cries.

Representative Image
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As the ferocious wave of COVID -19 continued to grip Kashmir like other parts of the country, many chose to offer their condolences telephonically on our insistence.

Some of your pals from outside the Valley phoned me up. Some of them were so unsettled by your passing away that they were almost unable to speak. Words stuck in their throat.

The doleful howls let out by one of your Kashmiri Pandit friends still rings in my ears.

However, many shared the good moments you had passed together. Some extolled the way you provided succour to them in their hour of need. We all know you always put yourself out, come rain or shine, for others.

Your cell phone still buzzes with the calls of your friends unaware about your death. As we answer the phone and inform them about you, they are left dumbfounded. After commiserating with us for a few minutes, they ring off in utter disbelief and despair.

The other day I footed the bill of your phone to ensure the service does not stop on it so that we will continue to hear from your friends.

Dad, now I'm going to tell you something that may keep you on the edge of your seat as it is right up your alley. It is about the Awami Moazin, the newspaper you had started along with your friend way back in 1995. We brought out two editions since you left us and put the third one to bed even as I'm writing this piece. I know you had a fine eye for details and were careful enough in choosing the stories that would make their way into the paper. We apologise as we might have made certain mistakes.

Dad, this is all for now, I have to take your leave but I promise I'll keep you posted.

Happy Father's Day. Rest in Peace!

(The author lost his father Mohammad Yousuf Bhat to COVID -19 on May 30).

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