Memoirs of a daughter

Nivedita Roy

Nivedita Roy

“Dolly, I want to tell you three things: don't fight my old age, it’s a process, secondly don’t trust everyone, third you must learn to control him as your husband is an emotional fool”

Me: “Papa but mom didn’t teach me how to control my hubby,” and a squeal of laughter followed.”

This was the last conversation I had with papa on May 11,2018. And Papa left this world for his heavenly journey on May 12,2018.

It has left me quite broken within. His soul resides somewhere within me. I feel his presence, but I miss his voice, his intuitive sense, his hand on my head, his quiet understanding, his love for me.

He is, He was, He will be my first love forever.

Reverend Dr. Komal Masih (papa) was a voracious reader, who would write notes as he read along. After earning his master’s in sacred theology and Doctorate in divinity from the USA, he spent all his life serving the Methodist Church in India in different roles throughout his tenure. 

He just didn’t discuss women empowerment, but he also walked that talk. He encouraged my mother, his sister -in -laws on both sides, his daughter-in-law and daughter to pursue studies till they obtained a master’s degree. He reiterated that I must ensure my financial independence. Though I was already working as an elementary school teacher I used to rubbish his fear away, but on many occasions, I have realised the importance of that advice. 

One can call it a love story of a father and daughter. Papa and I were very close on an emotional level and we could feel the conversation in our silence. 

He wasn’t a happy father when he got to know that the ‘love bug’ had bitten his daughter. He had dreams of seeing me as a lecturer in some college. He cajoled me to take admission in 
B. Ed as he believed teaching was the most noble profession. 

Overprotective, possessive about sharing me with anyone would project him to be a psycho dad but he wasn’t a tad bit negative. He didn’t want me to go away, period! 
The sweetest memory I savour is his tantrum after my marriage.

“I will go to meet her …. (Sobbing inconsolably)

Mom: “you have no idea what her in laws shall think about us? Who goes to meet the newly wedded daughter within 3 days? She will come to visit soon,”
He remained adamant and his sad predicament made a family friend give him a ride to my new abode. He looked like the cutest version of a red eyed cherub wiping his tears with his muffler who kind of lost and found his most loved doll. 

His disapproval was visible in all his reactions towards my life partner and left a smile on my face though earned him some reprimand from my mother. 

“Why is he growing a beard? “ 
“Just because he wants to Papa .. what happened?”
“Nothing! just makes him look more reckless…”
“Komal, can you leave him alone? He is our son in law.” Mom made her disapproval obvious! Brother and I exchanged an amused look as we knew papa was in deep trouble with no respite that day.

He spoiled me with love, but not with riches, he was protective of me, but always guided and reminded me to fulfil my duties as a wife and daughter-in-law.

I have inherited the love for writing from him. Mother believes I am his true copy with my actions and reactions. It is the biggest compliment I ever received. 

He commanded a lot of respect in the community due to his humble demeanour, knowledge and being instrumental as a peacemaker in the community. He was considered a genius. He was a true believer in secularism. He managed to initiate a Sarva dharma sammelan or an inter-religious get together in every city we lived in. 

In the year 1980 the city of Moradabad was under strict curfew due to severe riots between two factions of the society. Papa’s initiative got support from some other like-minded people and they all cooked and distributed food in the affected areas with administrative support. His selfless service was much talked about. He was popular for his sweet smile and genuine love for humanity. 

The memory of bespectacled Papa sitting on his office table while his fingers deftly worked on the typewriter still haunts me. He always shared a typewritten birthday greeting for everyone in the family. Papa’s dolly will not get any of those now.

I hope he is watching from above as I carry on his legacy and make him proud. 
This vacuum created by his absence echoes an unbearable silence. 
***

Bio: Nivedita Roy is a teacher by profession, bilingual poetess and author. She resides in the Kingdom of Bahrain and belongs to Lucknow. She is the recipient of Independence Day Literary Honours 2021 and 2022, Rabindranath Tagore Memorial Certificate of Literary Appreciation 2022 awards by Motivational Strips and Gujarat Sahitya Academy. She is the recipient of many other prestigious awards from literary forums.

She is the author of 3 solo books in English and Hindi. She has co-authored 21 national and international anthologies in English and Hindi. She is the Moderator for the Bahrain office of Motivational strips. She is one of the editors for the ezine Brahmand: Voice of the cosmos. Her poems and articles are often published in national and international ezines, newspapers and journals.
 

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