You turn 60 today. Happy Birthday! 🙂
60! What a milestone! How does it feel?
We thought of writing this letter to you as a gift, as there’s nothing else we can give right now. And of course, we are sending loads of love and prayers your way.
While we were growing up you were working in places like Libya and Muscat. Even though we missed having you around all the time, we were able to afford a better lifestyle, thanks to all the hard work you put in, so far away from your loved ones. We remember the first time you left us. It was to Libya and a ton of people-your family, your subordinates from work- had all gathered at the airport, sending you off. As we watched the plane depart, we all burst out crying. I guess it goes to show how much you were and are still loved.
Manasa– Of all the things you’ve told me, the thing that I always remember the most and which changed the course of my life was when you asked me to take over your place and look after amma and madhi, when you weren’t around. It made me more responsible, a grown-up, all of a sudden. You wrote us letters. Letters that taught me stuff like the difference between ‘riding’ and ‘driving’; letters that told me tales of your adventures working in a desert environment; letters that answered my big questions on God and Love.
When we knew you were coming to visit us, our happiness knew no bounds. They were the best 30 days every year!
There was nothing you did not know, no book you hadn’t read, or so it felt to us as we were growing up. You were a fount of knowledge, our very own encyclopedia! You knew so much about all the bands, the music, the comics, the movies you grew up watching. We were introduced to Abba, Beegees, Neil Diamond, qawwalis, The Sound of Music, The Pelican Brief, John Grisham, Sidney Sheldon, and Erin Brockovich quite early on.
You’ve always been the Master of a show, any show. You can set a stage on fire with your ultimate singing, dance moves and wisecracks. Our friends and family can’t stop praising you for all the entertainment over the years.
Madhurya – I remember all the times you and amma stayed awake waiting for me to return home from parties or my volley-ball practice sessions. And driving me to work early in the morning (even when YOU didn’t have to leave so early for work) and waiting to pick me up and driving through rush-hour traffic, while I dozed off!
Manasa – You were patient when I looked for jobs in the UAE, often taking me along for work, where I shadowed you and learnt so much. And when I was down and depressed you were always there for me, trying to cheer me up. I remember how you drove me around to my job when I finally snagged one and it was quite out of the way from your work. I can still picture your ruffled hair and your tired eyes, but you never complained about the traffic and long hours. And then it hit me, no man would ever be able to do the same for me. Ever (Sorry Prasad!)
Madhurya – Thanks to you and amma for everything I’ve achieved so far. Thanks for trusting me enough to let me make my own choices. Thanks for the freedom, the education and the love you have given me.
We thank God for your health and your presence in our lives. Sorry you won’t be getting the big birthday bash we’d planned for you in Udupi. That will have to wait till we get through this pandemic. We love how you and amma are keeping yourselves sane and healthy with exercise and prayer during this lockdown. You guys are an inspiration!
We love you Appa and so do your sons (in-law) and your grandkids. We look forward to many more years, stories, lessons, blessings and love. With you.
And NOW from the littlest member of your fan club… ( drumrolls please….)