For My Daughter…

Dear Samirah

Wish you a happy Eighteen Birthday.
Hope this year brings out the best in you and teaches you many important facets of life.

This letter, my gift for today, I hope, would teach you one such aspect.

Do you remember the picture on your grandfather’s desk? That one was taken on your fourth birthday. For me, it was your first. I had known you only for a few months then. It was the day I decided to marry your Mother.

There are some stories that you have heard from your Mother. You are already familiar with your father’s unfortunate accident. This story begins around a year or so after that.

It was the first birthday of your cousin Adi in Mumbai. Adi’s parents had invited all our neighbors and friends. I had always been fond of little kids. I could spend hours playing with them. A child’s innocence still is the most endearing thing for me. I made sure I visited Adi at least once a week, at least for a few minutes. As he turned one, I was as excited as his parents, if not more, about the celebration.

Your grandmother came in late, carrying you on her shoulder with much effort. She smiled at me as she entered. I was meeting her after several years. I rushed to her aid, lifting you off her. You resisted at first, but when your grandma introduced me, you stared quietly, probably studying this new character. You were still hesitant to stay in my arms but soon got distracted by the colorful balloons on the wall. All the while, your grandma told me about your Mother. I had not, in fact, met your Mother for many years until then and it hurt me, that I had to hear the sad tale of her husband’s passing away first.

I walked around the hall with you. You were dressed in a white frock with small golden dots all over it, a white band with a flower on your head, barely containing your messy short hair, a tiny face with features unmistakably received from your Mother. You kept talking to me, sang a line of a poem randomly and then continued talking. You stayed with me the entire day and your sweet little voice kept playing for weeks in my head.

After that, I visited your home every saturday, always sitting by your side, watching you play and sometimes playing with you, listening to your sudden outbursts, random line of nursery rhymes, answering your thousand questions and making you eat. Your Mother used to come early from work and we used to take you to the garden. I never let your Mother carry you even while we walked. I wanted to spend every single moment with this beautiful little kid.

You had become my world. Your grandmother knew this and suggested the idea of staying with your Mother. I was apprehensive initially about this idea but the thought of spending each day with you was very enticing. Surprisingly, your Mother, though elder than me, had already agreed to this. I had to convince my family a lot but they gave in eventually. We got married with your four-year old self in our arms. Even after the marriage,our friendship, our bond remained the same. We lived together for you. We gradually began understanding each other, through you and slowly fell in love with each other.

As you turn eighteen, I must admit I feel extremely proud of you. I am happy that you have grown up to be this warm, friendly and hard-working person.

You must always remember, no matter what, our love for you will always remain strong; for, you are the reason, we exist.

Happy Birthday!

Yours Lovingly
Pa

– Viché

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