Right from the time I was a little girl, I was always an outdoorsy kind of kid.
I loved walks. Be it with my grandmother to the corner shop, or just alone.
I was always a wanderer.
I used to walk around my locality looking at different houses and imagining the lives of people living inside them or simply getting lost in random thoughts.
Just like me, my Dad was a walker too.
And considering he was a connoisseur of Johnny Walker as well, that goes to say a lot.
We used to live in this really microscopic Gulf country called Bahrain, which apparently no one had heard about and thus was a cause of great ridicule and speculation for me when I came back to India, but that’s another story.
Bahrain is an island, and hence the sea was a regular part of our horizon.
Now there was this beach called Cornish, where Dad and I used to go in my summer holidays for walks.
However walks with Dad were less casual walks and more a part of Dad’s ‘Make my daughter fit and healthy and ready for the Olympics in a month plan’. He made me do all sorts of brisk walking and when I complained, he gave me the raised eyebrow and always said the same “A fit body leads to a fit mind”.
But that day, that one day was different, as for once, the weather was pleasant, the sea looked calm almost content, and Dad was in no mood for exercise. We simply took a walk on the beach that day. What I didn’t know was that this Walk, this one; was going to be the high water mark walk of my life and it had nothing to do with the sea.
Dad had this expression on his face, which I had, come to label as his ‘Visionary’ one and was known as a cue for a philosophical ‘with great power come great responsibility type speech’.
And after a few moments of quietly walking he began,
“Life is going to be like the sea Radhika”
“It’s going to be calm and quiet like the sea now, but it can also be turbulent and harsh any other time”.
Since I didn’t know where he was going with this analogy and since I was only twelve, I nodded my head in a grown up manner.
“Radhika, there will be times, heck lot of times later in your life when you will be alone, you will be scared, there will be times of regret, pains all sort of sad things. Life will not be fair always .But you must understand and keep this well in your head, that you cannot let it deter you. I have seen you become vulnerable to failure. I have seen you cry and shut everything out when you get bad marks in your exams. This is only one small situation, even if it looks big to you now. It’s not the end of the world, you have to get up, and move on. The world is literally moving forward spinning and revoluting, and if you don’t keep pace with it, it will leave you behind, yes leave you behind; and you don’t want that do you?
You may not understand the meaning of my words now Radhika, but one day you will know their importance.
You have always been a dreamer and there is nothing wrong to be one. But keep the power of bringing your dreams to reality. Live on the brink of the world of reality and dreams. One will help you achieve heights the other will help you keep it”.
Like I said I was twelve that time and too interested in a flock of seagulls prancing around in the sea to take much heed or understand his words.
But somehow by some divine power, of all the things my absent minded brain seemed to forget, it somehow caught on to these very words, that to verbatim.
For they came striking back to me in the later years of my life, and somehow exactly at those times when I was low and scared.
They helped me and were like a chant I repeated in my head. They were my talisman.
It seemed to me that dad had known these words would be of help. For it was at his funeral, when I felt that my whole world shattering around me, these poignant words reverberated in my head, helping me at that moment and that time from crumbling and being a mess.
They have helped me be strong. Dad may not have made me some fighter but he has definitely given me armor.
I thank him for those talks as a little girl which went over my head at that time but which made me the woman I am today.
Oh I am still a mess, still somewhat bizarre and by no means a wonder woman. But I can get about situations now, deal with them and face my problems.
I don’t even complain about Dad leaving me so soon, I have moved on.
My only worry is that since he has left me and the exercise has stopped altogether, I might end up beating the whale in being the heaviest mammal after all.