A tsunami of emotions was inside me, howling and pleading to come out. I kept asking myself, why am I feeling so choked? My emotions were certainly not under my control. There were volcanoes erupting inside my heart. There was nothing left except my abandoned dreams. Life is so strange, I thought.
Some time ago everything was so perfect and beautiful and so was she. Her memories were playing in my head on loop. I was thinking about her lovely smile, her talks, her giggles, and her love. She was the lucky charm of my life. She was the most beautiful girl I had ever come across. I fell in love with her the day she entered my life. Sometimes, I thought, has God poured all the innocence and sweetness inside her?
She had the power to calm my anger with her smile. I still remember, one night she asked me why the stars in the sky twinkle? I told her that all the beautiful souls that leave the earth to become stars, they twinkle to show their love to their loved ones. I'd never thought at that time that one night I will be sitting under the sky and exploring her among the twinkling stars.
The night was silent and so was my life. Sleep was nowhere close to me. My eyes were still in search of her but deep inside, my heart knew what the truth was. In no time I was lost in the silence of the night and into her memories again.
“Congratulations sir, you have been blessed with a daughter”, said the nurse giving the little angel of my life into my hands. “Pari”, I smiled.
She looked like a bundle of love and joy, pink as the rose petals, sleeping in my arms making me feel like the richest and the happiest person alive on this planet.
“Pari, will you recite that poem for me”?
"Daddy, actually I remember only two lines."
“Oh, I was thinking of rewarding you with a chocolate but since you don’t remember, leave it."
“Twinkle twinkle little stars,
How I wonder, what you are,
Up above the world so high
Like a diamond in the sky”.
Immediately she came running towards me, kissed my cheeks, and took the chocolate from my pocket. Someone has rightly said that daughters grow up very fast. I never realized when my little Pari who could not even ride a bicycle turned into a beautiful young lady of twenty-five years. Whenever I looked at her, I felt lucky that I have her in my life. Without her, there was no meaning to my existence.
I wrote this in my diary on the day she was born-
“Tumse hi to saansein hain meri,
Muskurahat meri tum mein jaa basi,
Pari kehta hun tumko,
Tum kisi jadoo se kam nahi”
Yes, I was the perfect father in her eyes. Be it her result day or the annual day function I was always there with her and for her. I was the last person her sleepy eyes would see. Every morning, the first word she uttered was ‘Daddy’. Laughing with her on the merry-go-round to eating ice-creams late in the night, we shared all the happening moments together. I always tried to be her best friend with whom she could share all her happiness and sorrows.
Being a perfect father is not easy. I was aware of my condition, yet I tried my level best to give her everything she wanted. Every night I would count the pennies left in my pocket. I never realized how days passed and my little doll was ready to be a bride.
One day while having dinner I asked her, "Pari, do you have anyone in your life?"
Pari: What do you mean by anyone daddy?
Me: I mean if you love anyone and want to get married let me know.
Pari: No daddy. There is nothing as such and I don’t want to get married. I don’t want to leave you.
(She came and hugged me)
Me: Oh beta, you won’t have to leave me, I will always be there with you.
(I hugged her and kissed her on her forehead.)
We started searching for the prince for my princess. Soon we got a perfect match for Pari. Anshul was a bank employee in Delhi. He was tall, fair, had brown eyes, and a smiling face. On the day of her engagement, I could see my Pari blush while talking to him. That smile never left her face. The day of marriage was coming closer and there were two things that I was thinking about continuously. One, how will I be able to live without Pari and the second, how the money will be arranged?
Next day I went to the bank and got all my fixed deposits broken. The money was enough to get all the things done but after that nothing would have been left with me. Finally, the day of her marriage arrived. As I saw Pari coming in the red lehenga, my eyes filled with tears of happiness and sorrow. Later that night I took my diary and penned down the following words:
The pretty smile,
She was a new life,
Her first walk,
Her first talk,
Her favorite pink dress,
Makeup she used to mess,
Her mesmerizing eyes,
Her innocent lies,
That pretty face,
That charm and grace,
Those beautiful hands with Mehendi,
That twinkling bindi,
The lady in red,
The shining veil on her head,
On small issues, she cried,
Now she was a bride.
Pari was now a married woman. Days passed and the frequency of Pari’s calls reduced. Whenever we got a chance to speak she always sounded low and weak. I was not able to comprehend the matter. I tried calling Anshul as well but either he didn’t pick up my calls or he would say that he was busy. One day I got a call from Pari’s in-laws saying Pari was not well. I was frightened.
Next day I went to Delhi. I was directed to go to the city hospital. There I asked the receptionist to tell me the ward in which Pari was admitted. "Burn Ward", she replied. I was dumbstruck. My feet were resisting to move in that direction. Somewhere I was consoling my heart saying "everything will be fine, my Pari will be fine."
I reached; the doors were wide open, I could see her, in so much pain. I sat beside her and caressed her forehead. She was trying to say something.
I took my face near her and she said, “Daddy, I always knew that you toiled very hard for fulfilling my wishes. You always managed to give me time as well as all the materialistic things. You never let me realize that you were going through a financial crisis. I was always your princess and you did everything to make me smile. This time, it was my turn to return the favor. I know I can never do whatever you have done for me. It was your unconditional love but I cannot let these people who just have the lust and hunger for money take away your hard earned treasure. I love you, daddy.”
Tears were constantly rolling down my cheeks. I kissed her for the last time as she closed her eyes forever. Suddenly, my eyes opened. It was still dark and silent. I was alone, alone for the rest of my life waiting to be with her again.