Ours is a small town, news went out fast. Local TV channels came about and interviewed me and other people about dad, politicians came and paid homages, people thronged. About 800 people attended the funeral in the rainy afternoon. So in about 10 hours, my dad's physical presence came to an end. He was buried under a lamp pole. I was happy that way, because on some nights, the graveyard tends to become very dark. I stayed behind after everyone left the graveyard. There were days when dad would read books alone for long hours not talking much, but that day he would not have wanted to be suddenly lonely. So I was talking to him. In maybe five years I would have taken dad to Italy, a place he wanted to visit, like his dad did. This year we were planning to explore the river further down to cast baits among the shoals of fish that playfully warmed themselves in the winter sun. I got conversational, talked loudly sometimes. Back at home at night, I slipped quietly into my room. I didn't go and see my mom; didn't have the courage to go see her actually. My brother slept in mom's room and he would do that for some days. It was a long night.
The next few days though busy, made me take back all my years of cussing about society and social norms and rituals. Because those very social norms and rituals drove us to forget our grief somewhat momentarily. We got busy for the next 40 days during which several prayer meetings and feasts were organised.
Deciding to get back to normal life wasn't too difficult. Living that normal life became difficult. Mom didn't want to come along either with my brother or me. She lives alone in that house, 3300 km away from us. Yesterday she talked about the incessant rains and a small leak on the roof. There are 9 spare rooms. It is a big house. She doesn't want to move out of her bedroom. On several such occasions, my throat runs dry. We pretend to be normal.
Dad would have got the roof fixed. Dads are great men. My dad rode a bicycle everyday on winding tea garden roads, drove a Fiat on a rainy day or when he took mom out, lured fish out of the river with false tackles, pole vaulted in youth, roamed the country. He was an outdoors man. He did and said those special things that made what his sons are today. All sons are indebted to dads. Sons never forget.
This is what it is. This is what remains.
Tags: prof. nofil hussain