I never called him Dad…

Gopi… Dada… Baba… Dadu… Gopi Nath Dutt…

I never called him dad, but now that he is gone I think I am realizing slowly what it feels to lose one’s dad.

Had known my own father for only 12 years, most of them as toddler when I hardly got to interact with him. And then one fine day he was gone, I couldn’t even morn properly for him because I didn’t knew what I had lost and my mom was there to take care that we didn’t drift away in the sea of pain. But Mr. Gopi Nath Dutt or Baba (as only Abha calls him) was there with me for more than 15 years and his memory will stay within me for rest of my life.

It was a winter evening of 24th December 2001 when I first met him by chance. Abha (then colleague, now my better half) needed to get dropped at a place close to where I stayed, for a family get-together (Christmas party). She invited me to the party and meet the family for a few minutes (I was and still am not an ideal party person). The place was a bit crowded & noisy with music, everyone was busy partying, I don’t even remember what we talked about when Abha briefly introduced me to him and other members of family. But I would always remember the last words that his eyes communicated on the morning of 24th January 2016. Early morning of 23rd December 2016 he slipped while walking inside home and his hip joint got fractured. The doctors were able to replace the joint with a steel one and make him stand up on his own feet once again within next couple of weeks but the trauma caused by the surgery worsened his Dementia -> Alzheimer.

After that brief initially meeting, we did met many a times at the social gatherings, before I formally visited him at his home along with my mother to ask for his blessings to marry Abha. On that day, as always, he was the nicest and most graceful gentleman one can ever dream to have as a role-model.

He didn’t try to stop Abha from doing anything that she wanted to do, encouraged her to be what she has become – a fiercely independent woman… and she didn’t let him down ever… becoming like a mom to him when he really needed all the help, till his final moment, accompanying him in his last journey, lighting the pyre and letting his mortal remains merge with the elements of the nature… mourning for him in these last couple of weeks in the strictest possible way… she has been more than a son to him…

Art was his passion, even in during his last month, under so much stress of surgery and increasing cloud of dementia on his mind, he offered to paint Ganeshas for the physiotherapist who used to visit him for the exercise. Each and every one of our family members have at least one of his painting on the wall. And those paintings will keep him alive in our hearts forever.

He was a good talker, and I consider myself to be a decent listener (when I am not blabbering myself). And we talked so much over the years, more so in the last 3 years I really got to know him in the last few years after the Doctors had diagnosed him with Dementia -> Alzheimer around 3 years back, while treating at a brain stroke he had, coincidentally at exactly the same time that he lost his nephew. Tried capturing his exciting life into memoirs but he was always more interested in painting and drawing, words were becoming a bit tedious for him in the last few years. He had so much to talk and all he wanted was someone who can listen.

He truly lived a full, exciting life… starting the journey at Multan (now in Pakistan) in 1938 before India’s partition… growing up in Delhi 6 after moving to Chandani Chowk, New Delhi after India’s partition in 1947. The last one month was in complete contrast to it… and he hated it. Loneliness is an extremely brutal killer. Despite having us around and bugging him all the time to talk, walk, eat, paint, read, watch TV, do exercise, he still longed for the loved specially those who were really close to him throughout his life, those he had helped grow. Some of them already gone physically from the world, others who have moved on or have moved him out of their life and can’t be bothered to engage with the old, frail men – even those he was the center of attraction for them in the days gone by – when they needed him, his help & support. I guess it happens and will continue happen to all of us, there comes a time in our life when we become expandable, we are no longer

After we got married, Abha used to tell me about the similarities she noticed between me and her father. And I too felt a strong connect with him, we talked, we really did talked a lot over the years. I never called him Baba or Dad, I called him Uncle when I met him first time as the father of a colleague, and that stupid habit continued for the next 15 years – Kabir & Meera who called him Dadu, some time got confused as to why I call him Uncle. Even then, he treated me like a son and I will always indebted to him for his love and kindness. In our Hindu  religion we do not wish the person to Rest In Peace, because we believe the soul changes the body as we change our clothes, and he was not the kind of person who would be happy to rest in peace. I am sure he is already on his way to do amazing things in his next inning…

Thank you Abha for sharing your dad with me, you’ve been a wonderful daughter… already missing you Baba…


One thought on “I never called him Dad…

  1. A person that departs from this earth never truly leaves, for they are still alive in our hearts and minds, through us, they live on.

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