‘Father please don’t age’, I pray. You have now reached the age of eighty five and is somewhat frail. You have lost mom, your life partner some five years ago. But your senses are in tact. I see the skin sag on your face which used to be taut and fair. Besides some aches and pain you are managing well.
You were a proud Gurkha and I can picture you wearing a Gurkha Hat and Khaki uniform during the Republic Day Parade in Singapore. I have touched your gleaming Khukuri (a Gurkha knife) as a child. It was oiled meticulously and then placed in its sheath. You were enlisted in the 1950s in administration since you were a matriculate. You wanted to study more but circumstances were never right for you. You later married mom and raised four children until your retirement at the age of forty five. Then we all returned home.
You must miss the days when you were a young Gurkha. Your medals still glitter in the cabinet. Now you spend your days sitting in the living room on an easy chair with the sun behind your back reading the dailies. You are happy when someone pays you a visit. But you do grow tired and take that afternoon nap.
You must miss mom who was your friend for several decades. You built the house together brick by brick. You comforted us by telling us not to cry for her. ‘She’s now relieved from the worldly life and we must be happy for her’, was your philosophy. But we could not be comforted. We cried each day after she passed away until we could cry no more. We did not see you break down but calmly took the whole episode in your hands. But I saw you wipe a tear or two at her funeral. The chanting of the Lamas (Buddhist priests) and the gigantic sounds of the huge horns must have brought those teardrops to your eyes.
Baba, I just want to say something to you. Please do not go unannounced. Let us be there by your side when the time is near to bid farewell to you – my father – the legendary Gurkha.