May 7, 2011

Influential Elders - My Papa

My Papa next to me in white during my wedding - Dec 1998
 Of all the people who have influenced me, Papa was my favorite! He was just the best. A unique make and model - My Papa! As I have said many times before, I have not seen anybody as nice as my Papa. True, we have had differences of opinions, but ultimately he has been always right.

Papa wore only white. Papa was very honest, never cheating anybody for anything. Very simple and straight forward. Loved to learn many languages. Loved to read and meditate Bible in his spare time. Mom always treated him very special. We too obliged. We gave him plenty of rest, not much work around the house, we just sat for hours together to listen to Papa discuss something from his life's experience or from his faith experience. He was our spiritual role model. He insisted we live a life based on what we learn from the Scriptures; if the Scripture says anger is sin, then shun from it, if the Scripture says Joy is a command, then live it out, etc.

Papa would invite beggars in to eat with him. Papa would also invite lepers in to the house and call us kids to introduce to them. Can you imagine that? When we shun from them, Papa would later insist why we shouldn't and that they too are honorable people and the disease won't spread to us, etc. There was no ups and downs in his scale as per people are concerned. Whether someone had great wealth or someone had nothing they were all the same for Papa. No differentials in terms of how he would treat them.

Papa had a simple life. No big aspirations to acquire much wealth, however God had blessed his hands to buy many properties around town. He was happy and contended with what he had. Papa had the finest job in Central Government of India. He was a Scientist in Marine Fisheries Department. Because of Amma's job we settled down in Tirunelveli while Papa traveled to places around. We would sometimes go and spend our summer break at Papa's quarters in Mandapam Camp. I truly enjoyed those days. Mandapam Camp was way different from Tirunelveli with sand everywhere and very hard water - which was desalinated water from the sea! Hardly any trees, only thorn like bushes. But we got plenty of fish and seafood from local vendors. We would often visit the local sea shore, walk for miles from one end to other. I remember we kids used to refuse to walk, but Papa would push us to. Now, I think I should have behaved better and enjoyed those walks with Papa.

Papa visited home only during weekends and holidays, but took most of his leave, including earned leave. I am so glad he did that otherwise we kids wouldn't have seen Papa around that much. Papa always bought us plenty of fruits. He would take me to the wholesale market with him and buy oranges, bananas, apples and the like in bulk. I used to love to paint all the time. Mostly I had water colors as that was what was available locally. But once Papa took me to the town and bought me plenty of painting supplies like so many colors, oil paints, brushes of different types, pencils with different shades, etc. It lasted a whole life time!

Whenever Papa came, he insisted in our family time together and we would sit out in the terrace or veranda and talk for hours, eating roasted peanuts or sugar cane or palm root or whatever was available at the given season. This too I truly enjoyed. When Mom's colleagues or someone passing by see us all out together they too would come and join. We kids would disperse to our own play while the adults enjoy the conversation, catching up on stories and events from both ends.

I was kind of a rebel when it came to certain discussions at home, though I can't recall much of what it was about. While Akka and Delight remained silent absorbing everything Papa said, I would argue back, cry and yell and what not?! May be I was possessed - or what else could explain that behavior?! Papa didn't mind it! He just prayed over me saying my pride should be rid of. For that also I would scream more and say I didn't have any pride - these were plain words with no apparent meaning or reasoning and all nonsense... I was just dumb or a BIG attention seeker. Both Mom & Papa handled my short comings very well. I am sure they prayed for me much because eventually I became normal. (I often wonder what I would do if one of my kids behave the same way.)

This was during school time. But once I went to college I got more polished and came to appreciate each moment spent with Papa. I guess Papa's prayers helped me calm down and helped me rid of my pride. I became so complacent, always accepting Papa's views and supporting his cause.

Papa was very proud of my accomplishments. He often told his friends he has never seen any child like me, because I always helped around the house, though we had maids. When I visited from college if the house was a mess, I would not rest until I put away everything in its place, in order. I would make the beds, arrange the book shelves, refold the cloths in the closets, sweep the rooms, clean the furniture and do many many more things before going to shower and change and then to rest. Papa admired that! They wouldn't have seen the house as I saw it. They are casual people you see, so if a tumbler is out of place on the TV stand instead of the kitchen sink, they were not bothered; but I was! For me, everything has it's place and it only belongs there. Only then I can relax. Papa loved that about me!

My aspirations were big, bigger than Papa's and Amma's. I had to get out of India, travel places, see people of different culture, etc. It was not even my dream; it was a must for me. Once when Papa was asking me why I wished to get out of India and why not be happy in India, I shared with him all that. I also told him what Mom & Papa could achieve with much hard work (like house, car etc) are all basic necessities for me and I couldn't think of a life where I started blank and only achieve my dreams closer to retirement. (I wouldn't have started blank because Papa gave me everything for my marriage: car, land, money etc.) Papa was surprised about my clear ideas and how strong I felt about certain things. Papa was then convinced! Papa understood my heart was not in these materials but that these are just my basic needs.  Since then Papa started supporting my aspirations.

Papa was such an influence in every single one who came in contact with him. He encouraged children to study. He would go and talk to parents if they didn't wish to send their girls up for higher education. Many got convinced and are better off with better education and remain thankful to Papa for his encouragement. Also, many children came to love Christ because of Papa's love for them and through his Sunday school ministries.

I could go on and on writing about my Papa as there are so many fond memories of my Papa and he was my only male role model! But I decide to stop here. I am richly blessed to have had my Papa as my Papa.


A said...

It is so good to know more about your dad. You talked about him in a very early on post too. Very nice post.

NRIGirl said...

Ha! Someone is awake other than me!! Nice to see you so early @A and thank you for your comment.

I couldn't sleep much because of the strong sun rays since before 6:00 AM this morning. First thing we need to buy is thicker window coverings!

Have a great weekend!

Y L said...

You were a very good child with all your love and intelligence and obedience.
Friction with parents happen in spite of all the love that exists since our wills clash. Some times parents ignore the feelings of their children and the children have to burst out. What ever, love triumphs always.

KParthasarathi said...

A delectable post bringing out the traits of of a God fearing man with good values and liberal ideas.To spend time with family and children has become scarce these days even when they all live together.But he still found space during his visits for family time which alone strengthens bond and imparts the family values


Even i had difference of opinions with my PAPA, but now when he is not around i realize how right he was...always....on all issues....

Nice share....

Paul said...

Loved, enjoyed, now ever missing those days with Pappa.

Pappa used to say...."Pillayee, we are here for a short period, as long as we are here we will be continually teaching you how to face this world keeping the eyes and trust upon Jesus...You should learn how to trust HIM and live for HIM in this World..."

anyhow I/(we) miss pappa very much

With Love

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