Papa – A Tribute

Papa. Where do we even begin? He took parenting so seriously, he made it a joyride for us. Growing up with him was one big party, and a string of memorable experiences. He made up the most amazing bedtime stories and narrated them in his inimitable way. Stories about magic lunchboxes. About two brothers, one well behaved and the other mischievous, who didn’t get to ride the flying chariot to the moon. About the fabulous adventures of the two princes, Kanaksingh and Mansingh. These stories have become a part of our family folklore and are now enjoyed by his grandkids, who know him through these fantastic tales.

Papa had a terrific sense of humor and he regaled us with his jokes and impromptu stand up acts. He was the life of every party!  Music was his enduring passion and he had an amazing sense of melody and rhythm. Be it Mozart, Bhimsen Joshi, Beatles, Shankar Jaikishen or Gujarati folk, he exposed us to music from every part of the country and every corner of the world. 

He opened up our minds through a vast collection of books. Books that ranged from Tagore, Dostoevsky, Victor Hugo and Steinbeck to Meghani, Munshi and Maugham. Books about art, architecture, astronomy and cuisine. He loved good food and was a great cook himself. He would travel any distance to try out a new restaurant.

A believer of holistic education, he often made us bunk school to catch an old Hollywood classic at a matinee show. He’d pick us up early from school on a whim and take us to see the high tide at the beach before leaving for an outdoor shoot. If we studied too much, he would distract us with a movie. When we went on a diet, he would derail us with chocolates and cheese!

The coolest dad, he encouraged our individuality and taught us to stand up for what is right. He enjoyed our quirks and rejoiced in our smallest achievements. His goodness came from his spirituality, and his unshakeable faith in Saibaba. Every night, he prayed for those who loved him and even more for those who didn’t because he said they needed it more.

He gave us many gifts, gifts whose value cannot be measured in material terms. He made us cherish every moment spent together. We are grateful for many things in life, but more than anything else we are grateful for the privilege of having him as our father.

Madhavi, Jahnavi, Pauravi and Chirantan

For my Father.
Of two little princes
Riding on their horses
Serpent studded with a jewel
Of mermaids deep under water
And magical lunch boxes
That gave one what he tells
Of a fat li’l fellow
Spoilt by his mother
His bag full of laddoos
And a monkey for a brother
Of two different boys
One good and one bad
One read the books
Other tore ones he had
Of moon chariots
And parties on the clouds
Of learning lessons
And making your parents proud
Of thumb sized husbands
Who travelled in wive’s wallets
And thumb sized wives
Who sat in shirt pockets.
Who says you have gone
My dear Father?
You very much live on
In stories that you told us
Now I pass them to my son.
– Pauravi