A lesson on faith

One of my oldest memories of my father is from when I was around four years old. Appa was keen to teach me how to ride a bicycle. He bought me a blue bike by Dasan — my first ride, and one I remember clearly to this day.

The Kaveri compound wasn’t neatly tiled back then as it is now, and the concrete ground had a few bumps and crevices. Appa made me get on to the bike, and held it from behind, encouraging me to peddle as he supported me for balance, jogging after me. In my excitement, I spoke to him non-stop, only to realise after a while that he had stopped responding quite a while back. “Appa?!” I uttered and turned my head, losing my balance and tumbling to the ground, with a glimpse of my father running towards me. I remember that scrape on my knee to this day. And I will never forget the faith he had in his little boy, letting go when he thought I could look after myself.

I grew up and got upgraded and the old blue Dasan rusted away downstairs, until an enterprising watchman decided that it would fetch him a few rupees if sold as scrap. I cannot recall when I saw that bike last.

In all that I have seen since then, the one constant in my life was the faith my father had in me.

Shahenshah

One of my fondest memories of my father is from around the time my parents had just started leaving my brother and me alone at home, unsupervised. We were under strict instructions not to answer the door without either standing on a chair and taking a look through the peephole or calling out, “Kaun hai? ((Who is it?))” Whenever it was my father on the other side of the door and I called out to ask who it was, he always favoured me with that famous line from Shahenshah:

Rishtey mein toh hum tumhaare baap lagte hain! ((By relation, I am your father!))

And I would open the door with either a huge grin or a shake of the head, depending on my mood at the time.

As I grew older, the peephole was accessible without the need for a chair, and I found myself less likely to ask who was on the other side, choosing instead to check for myself. Soon there came a time when I didn’t worry too much about who was outside before opening the door, and Appa’s favoured greeting eventually found itself in disuse.