As a kid I used to like things that could fly. Example superman, batman, spider-man, aeroplane etc. I would throw all the things that I got in hand, up in the air *just* to see whether those would fly or not.
Dear Toastmasters, guests, how many of you liked as a kid the things that could fly? Raise your… whole body from the ground.
I am not going to talk about flying. I am going to talk about the bond that I shared with my father at the age when flying fascinated me.
First, I have to tell you the truth.
My father and I shared nothing in common. NOTHING! For example.
He liked our cat. But I liked flying cat.
He liked my little brother. But I liked flying little brother.
He liked my mother. But I liked flying mother (Though she was too heavy to lift for my size).
Though we shared nothing in common, still I liked my dad very much. I wouldn’t spend even a minute away from him.
At a time like that, I happened to go to school for the first time ever, for LKG. My dad took me to the school. Dropped me there.
“Dad, are you selling me?” I asked.
“No son. This is school. This is where you will develop your knowledge. School helps you get a good name in the future.”
I would start going up stairs. I would put my leg on the first step, turn around, and say, appa ta ta.
“Ta ta son”.
Then I would put my leg on the 2nd step, turn around, and say appa ta ta.
“Ta ta son”
Then I would put my leg on the 3rd step, turn around, and say appa ta ta.
My teacher would tell, if you tell, “appa ta ta” at each step, then by the time you reach the last step, you yourself would be old enough and be an appa. GO SOON!
With tears all overs my face, I entered the classroom for the first time.
My friends would bully me. They would say, “Hey Appa ta ta, come here. Appa ta ta, open your book”.
That surprised me. Because what my dad told that morning came true within an hour. Yes, this is school. And this helps me get a “good name”. Moreover, I got good name even before I developed my knowledge
Everyday, my father would walk up to the school to drop me and pick me up.
Transportation was little difficult 20 years ago:
My father didn’t have a car.
He didn’t have a bike.
He didn’t have enough money to afford a taxi.
What he did have was, his legs.
And what I did have was, his shoulders.
He would carry me on his shoulders wherever we went.
One day, we all went to the movies and after it was over, we were walking back home. Sorry, my dad, my mom, and my little brother were walking. And I was showing directions to my dad from his shoulders. “Go straight. Walk for 200 metres. Take the first left. Stop by the lollipop shop that’s on the left. The guy on your shoulders needs one.”
At some point, he got tired and let me down and asked me to walk.
If there was something that I hated more than walking, that was walking without a lollipop. I walked. I walked with grudge in my heart. “You let me walk, right? See. When I become old, “I will not buy you even one lollipop”.
After reaching home, I decided to stage a drama. It was dinner time and my mom called me to have dinner.
I went, took the plate in my hand, and then the next second, I enjoyed the scene of flying plate.
At that time, my brother started shouting, “why on earth did you throw my plate?”
My father looked at me angrily, “why are you doing this?”
I said, “Let’s go back to the place where you dropped me down and carry me back home from there.”
“Ok. Eat dinner. Then let’s go”.
*I looked at his plate and looked up.*
*I looked at his plate and looked up again*
“Ok ok. Let’s go,” he said.
“Wait wait. Not like this. Wear the same shirt that you wore that time”.
He did. And carried me back home from the place where he left.
Like this, I was very close to my father at my very young age. But as years passed, the gap between us started widening too. Nowadays, all we discuss when we are together is silence.
I grew up. I completed high school. I completed college. And after so many years, I said “appa ta ta” again to my dad. That felt good. That was right after the job interview and when I got placed in a Tata company. I phoned him and said, “Appa, Tata”.
I moved away from my home town for my job. But I was still working within India. I worked for couple of years.
And 3 years ago, I got a chance to move to the Netherlands from India. I was little sad that I had to move miles away from my father. When I told him about it, he said, “Wow! Nice! After all, I like flying son.”