On this fine evening of the monsoon, from the balcony of my daughter’s home, sipping a hot cup of coffee, I am saying this story to the world. You are a part of that.
When you have all the strength in your veins, you have all the courage in life. Those were the days when I had the strength and courage that, I used to go deep into the forest on a rainy day in search of that lone King cobra of the forest to take a single photo of it attacking the pray. Had the strength in my calf muscle that, I used to climb every single mountain in the malenaadu (Shimoga, Chikmangalore, Belgaum of Karnataka) and Coorg. I was one among the mass of class who neither deserved a seat in IIT nor start own business after attempting to clear exams multiple times!
Apart from adventures, Life was simple with a girlfriend, lot of friends and my family till the day I got my first job with a big fat salary. Being from a small town with not many people even knowing there are restaurants which could give a bill for a single meal costing more than what they earn in 3-4 days, I was here in Bangalore having such meal at least once in a month. Had all the reasons to be happy until I got the biggest shock of my life when I saw my girlfriend’s marriage invitation and the name next to hers was not mine! A slideshow of each day I spent with her was in front of me. Those tender push I gave to the springs that her hairs formed in front of her face, the late night talks, the gifts, the small fights, the kisses, the hugs, everything flashed in front of me as though I am reliving it!!!
Dejected, forlorn, crestfallen there I was in the bars and wine shops of Bangalore spending my nights. People lost hope on me and so did I on everyone. I had decided, if I dared to search for a king cobra alone in those Agumbe ghats in the rainy mornings, I would be able to live alone. When a dam collapses, one should not try to stop the water flowing out. On doing, he would just get carried away in the current of water and will be thrown in some unknown place. Instead, give it some time to settle down and then you can sail over it. But I made a mistake of trying to control all the emotions and took the decision.
It was hard to live alone in this country where I had to encounter people who knew my language, my culture or at least sharing same skin color of mine. I had reached that state where I did not want any of these people around me. My job gave me right option to travel abroad.
And there I was in the land where people smiled at every stranger they meet, had sports in their blood. Life was good until I realized I never met and spoke to any person for more than once except for the pizza shop guy who regularly visited to do his chore. And my motherland was calling. But I hardly had anyone for whom I would return. But, I had to at least for the memories I had. I was in my late sixties when I came back to India. And it’s a year for today since I landed here.
My story almost ends here. You the listener of my story might have almost forgotten that am sitting on the balcony of my daughter’s home as I am telling this story. Curious to know when did I get married and to whom? No, I did not.
It was a special love that bound two people as a father and a daughter. She was my neighbor whom I always called a daughter of mine during my college days. She was 6 years old and I was 24. I was one man in her life who never hurt her; I was one man in her life who took care of her every minute. But, I was also that one person who kept her waiting for years just for that one bad decision I took to fly far away from everyone on a bad mood day!
Once back, I had enough money to live in the best of the apartments of Modern Bangalore with no trees in MG road or Malleshwaram. But, I always hated walls and doors. So, I was spending most part of my day in the streets searching for at least one person from my previous life. I found her there!!! Tears were rolling as though I had no control over them. I had met that one person who made my decision to fly back prove right. I had someone to live with now!!! My daughter..!!!
Life is not an equation that you can derive it and add components only if it satisfies the formula. Make relationships beyond the blood group. Make relationships beyond your caste and grade. One day when you lose everything in life, those relations would hold your hand and take you forward.
(The story is inspired by a real life story shared in some website of an old man getting a 17 year old daughter when he was admitted to hospital, who took care of him for rest of his life. Unable to find the link but I give the credits to that author for inspiring me to write this)