As one obituary about my father said, 'he died of a minor kidney ailment which turned fatal'. None of us knew he would never get out of the anesthesia. None of us thought of saying goodbye. None of us thought of thanking him for all he did, and all he did not. None of us ever thought that the plans we had made for after the operation were never to be.
And he left holes all over.
A hole the size of a car- no longer parked in the spot he used for over 40 years. A hole on the dressing table- where I, as well as my own little girl, had sat on his lap and watched him shave, and played with the hair brushes collected by the bald man. A hole on the bedroom floor, which always had a patch covered with his powder for as long as I can remember.
A hole the size of a leather swivel computer chair- from which he would watch the proceedings of the last three additions to his family; his three very young grandchildren. A hole the size of a desk- where all his papers were still neatly stacked when we came back from the hospital with his body. A hole in my guest room cupboard, no longer holding the bag of clothes that came with him every time, whether for the day or just for lunch.
And a man size hole blasted next to my mother, not ever to be photographed with him hugging her.
It is now one year. Never mind if now, his desk now contains papers my brother uses to keep track of the investments made carefully in dad's lifetime. And my mothers clutter of papers. Never mind if the dressing table contains my mother's things where his powder, brushes and shaving kit used to be.
Never mind if I sometimes get my fathers smell on my baby, occasionally dusted with his grandfather's powder. Never mind if the shirts I used to buy for him are now in my own cupboard. Never mind that the 'grandparents cupboard' has only my mum's clothes, considerately packed in the same bag each time she comes over these days.
Never mind if it is my children who now enjoy themselves swiveling around on the computer chair. And all pictures of my mother are now with her grandchildren.
Never mind if my mother visited the mountains she lived in as a child, as she doesn't have to consider Baba's heart problem any more. And then even went to a yoga course in Lonavla. Never mind if my son now walks, runs and shows signs of leaning towards football and not his grandfathers sport- cricket. Never mind if my daughter shows a marked tendency to like the kind of fish he used to enjoy. And Baba, I am finally driving a car, despite all your attempts over the years to teach me.
Some holes are never quite filled, in quite the same way.