My father died a couple of years ago. He didn’t leave behind a huge property, or an impressive bank balance. I didn’t inherit edged securities or expensive jewellery. But the legacy he bequeathed to me is the most precious gift a parent can give to a child? No, it is not money or things which money can buy. It is a bundle of memories – each a gossamer fabric of fun and togetherness.
I remember when I was nine years old my father owned an old Lambretta scooter. Every three months he would take it for servicing to Shankar, the mechanic. Shankar’s ‘garage’ comprised a single room and an open verandah. My father used to take me along on each of these trips. I had written a ‘novel’ consisting of 47 pages, in my spidery scrawl. While the mechanic worked on the scooter my father would sit on a chair in the verandah with me perched on a stool beside him. I would keep reading from my maiden ‘masterpiece’ and he would listen with rapt attention. Sitting there in the heat, dust and grime, with the noise of the market around us, with cacophonous exchanges of Shankar and his boys working as rude punctuation marks – the two of us carried on our literary tryst. After every chapter my father would patiently give his suggestions answer my questions and then we would move on. Amidst all that chaos there was never any doubt in my mind that my father was giving me undivided attention. In this process he created a memory which I still treasure and will forever and ever. He also helped me imbibe the value of sharing.
For many years now I too have been making conscious, deliberate efforts at creating memories – to leave behind a legacy of endearing moments for my daughter and son. Every year during the first burst of rain which usually happens in the month of May we three go out on the lawn in front of our house. There in broad daylight, clad in our shorts, we get totally drenched. As we slide through the slush and mud, singing and dancing to glory, the moments are captured on camera. This unselfconscious, uninhibited and unadulterated madness has been going on for years. And when it stops I don’t know who will be sadder my kids or me!