“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Our Dreams – My Father’s & Mine:
Some of us pursue our parent’s creative dreams, with the determination to see it to culmination, unlike what they were able to in their lifetime.
My father, as I learnt only a year or so before his passing, had acted in a Bengali movie as the lead hero alongside a very reputed actress of those times in the 60’s. The completed film, as happened commonly at that time, even to actors who later went on to become legends by their sheer relentlessness, was never released.
Father, who did not have any living parent or even a guardian by then and who had barely crossed the border from East Pakistan alone, did not have the financial support to try his luck with another, so dived full time into his new business and went on to become fairly successful.
In his lifetime, father never divulged this shattering of his dream ever, either to mother or to us girls, burying it secretly in his heart. He was visibly very annoyed when his closest childhood friend blurted it to us over lunch at our house one day and tried to deny it and prevent his friend saying further. This awareness shocked and overwhelmed me profoundly, though I never brought it up with father again.
Much later, every time I got a rejection letter from publishers for my novel Across Borders, I saw my father’s dejected face lurking over mine. I was determined then, I was going to make the world see it, for father’s sake as well as mine. Today, that Across Borders, which includes the tales of his struggles is being made into a Bengali film – I hope wherever he is, he can see that we both did it!!!👍
But the irony is lifelong he built a steady business as a printer, but today after he’s gone – I’m having to worry about all my new books single handed. Perhaps the confidence I have in doing so, is what he’s left behind for me along with his blessings.
My father: This last photo, from his Pakistani – green, hard bound passport, that I recently recovered, rightly belongs to this album: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.541387475929274&type=3
Current revived versions of the buildings, that I just came across: https://www.alonelytraveler.com/old-buildings-kolakopa-bandura/
As this was exactly the time my father left his home and land, and exactly how people still remember and refer to him as – “the handsome young man, full of life.”
My father never returned to this home in his lifetime of 71 years, as he much preferred to remember his home just the way he left it and not this burnt version. He told us various stories like, “the whole para(neighbourhood), used to come to our terrace to fly kites”…especially on festivals.
Then we would cynically ask him, “how big was your terrace, Baba?”…and he would just fall silent and not speak anymore about the past for a long time. He never justified the background of his circumstances, ever, to make us grow up with any kind of hatred or insecurity for everything he and the family had been through.
I really wish we had made the effort to visit his home before he passed away, to be able to share his grief in some way.
Baba and I in the photos above: The Delhi University grounds…where mom was a lecturer at the time…