Tuesday, June 25, 2013

That moment...

I saw his eyes twinkle. His face brightened up, his lips curved into a warm smile. I noticed something he was trying hard to hide -- a little tear glistening at the corner of his eye. He ruffled my hair, patted my back, as he helped himself to yet another spoonful of the payasam I’d cooked for him, on his birthday...I suppressed the urge in me to stop him from helping himself to yet another spoonful because of his diabetes...the sheer joy on his face prevented me from holding back his hands. He smiled, surprised, struggling to say, “It’s very nice” with a mouthful of the dessert...

As I was busy doing the dishes and tidying up the kitchen, I overheard his conversation with ammai over the phone. “She cooks, oh she cooks! She cooked for me, a full meal! Oh she cooks!!” I couldn’t help but notice the pride in his tone, like I’d done something extraordinary; like I’d won some medal; like I’d become the prime minister of the nation overnight; like I’d won the World Cup for India. I’d done nothing remotely close to any of this. I’d just cooked...a plain, simple meal.

He was beaming, patting my back constantly. His surprise was surprising. I had cooked for him for the first time, and the joy of relishing a plain, simple meal made by his daughter was evident. The full-toothed smile, the satisfied burp, the phone call with ammai and his eyes --- they said what he couldn’t put together in words....

***That moment, when the first shrieks of a baby echo in the corridor of a hospital. That moment when silent prayers are said, when relief floods those waiting outside. That moment when the parents meet their baby for the first time. Their eyes brim with tears of elation, sparkle with pride, their chests swell with unparalleled emotions. Every little movement the tiny one makes, every yawn, every shrill squeak, the tiny fingers and pearly toes, the fist-sized head, the pea-sized hands, the ruby lips, the button-like eyes...everything about the little bundle of joy fascinates the parents...

The first wobbly steps, the toothless smile, the first gurgle, trying a hand at babbling words. First song, first dance, first response to words. We might not remember any of these. Moments our parents treasure. Moments that are frozen in the albums of their happy memories. Moments that’ll never fade away like photographs. Moments that make them smile, beam with pride, elation...Moments, that’ll remain etched on to their minds, for eternity. Sadly, most of us wouldn’t remember any of these...***


I relived one of those moments. My father’s smile when I served him lunch would have been pretty similar to the one when I first sneezed, I first coughed, or first opened my eyes. The innocence and sincerity of the pride, that smile touched me, making me believe that every achievement of ours is theirs, every happiness of ours is the reason behind their smiles and everything we do leaves a little imprint on their hearts...they make us feel gifted, lauding every not-so-unusual thing we do...

That’s love -- unconditional, boundless, pure...