“Ashna! Come here baby. Yes, you can do it!” Sudhir bent down and tried to click as many pictures as possible. The excitement of watching his year old doll take her first steps was beyond containable. A corner of his heart did a tiny summersault for being on a leave from work today. Being able to capture this milestone in his doll’s life was a cherry on the cake. He was going to hold this memory close to his heart always.
“Ashna! Come here! You can’t be doing this.” Sudhir gave his pre-teen daughter a stern look. A collection of Mills & Boons with beyond reasonable graphic covers in her room, had almost given him a heart attack. He wanted to give her a piece of his mind. But he decided to calm down and COUNSEL his daughter to focus on what was more important in life for her. Namely, studies and focus on a prospective career.
“Ashna! Come here baby. It’s ok.” Sudhir’s heart went out as he pulled her into a hug. It was a silent assurance for his devastated daughter, that no matter how many heart breaks she had, she would always be the sole occupant in his heart. That he would be her willing hero for his entire life. That he loved her like no other man ever would.
“Ashna! Come here. Let me hug you tightly this one time.” Sudhir struggled to hold the snot. He knew his daughter would tease him mercilessly for the rest of days, if it got captured on camera. But it did not change the fact that he felt like his heart was being ripped out of his body. His daughter was going away with the guy who had promised to love her like a queen all his life. He wanted to tell this confident young man, having the galls to place his hand around his princess’s waist in very blunt words that he was always going to watch out for him. He better be a good husband to his girl.
“Ashna! Come here baby. This is the happiest news ever.” The last time Sudhir had felt so happy was when he had held his tiny bundle of joy for the first time. And now she was going to bring another bundle of joy in this world. He feared that his heart would swell so much that he might have to build iron grills in place of his rib cage to contain all the happiness. How could anyone ever describe in words, the joy of becoming a grandfather! He would have another chance at watching a miniature Ashna grow infront of his eyes. How he wished that Ashna’s mother was alive to help their daughter in this significant phase of her life?
“Ashna! Come here. How could God be so cruel on us?” Sudhir felt mad enough to go around in search of this false entity called GOD and strangle him with his bare hands. Obviously, God did not exist. No one in his right senses would take away his young daughter’s happiness in a blink like this. They said they found him seated on the WC when they broke open the door to the bathroom. Heart Attack! How could one die of a heart attack at thirty! The guy up there had definitely made a mistake. Why didn’t he take him away instead? He had lived a near full life. While his daughter had her entire life infront of her! And the baby would never see her father now.
“Ashna! Come here baby. See your little girl’s walking.” He had probably called out to her to bring out the camera at the same time when she was emptying that god-forsaken bottle of sleeping pills down her system. He had known that life wasn’t going to be easy for his daughter as a single mother. But he had not given up hope. He was sure to convince her to go out and find happiness again. He would have made things right. None of it mattered now…
“Dad! Come here. Santa brought us a gift!” An old Sudhir had immense difficulty keeping up with the antics of a six year old. His bones creaked as he bent down with his camera to click the cat nursing a litter in the corner of their porch. He sighed painfully, struggling to maintain an enthused smile when meeting her dilated-with-joy eyes. Every night he wished to sleep and never wake up. But he woke up nevertheless. With a box full of his daughter’s pictures by his bedside as his lifeline, he continued to wake up for this little princess who deserved to be loved every bit like her mother. He woke up to be a Dad all over again.