During our schooldays we had to say a simple prayer every morning. After so many decades, I still remember the first two lines:
‘My Father, who art in heaven
Hallowed be thy name”
These words seem so appropriate today, as I remember my parent on Father’s Day. He is, indeed, in heaven as he left this mortal body a long time ago. I was only 15 at that time but I have very vivid memories of the short time that I spent with him on earth.
He was a well-known journalist, hobnobbing with the leading personalities of his time. I recall the time the President of India, Dr Radhakrishnan, coming to our house during my aunt’s wedding. I also remember sitting in the car and waiting, while my father climbed a hill to meet a famous dacoit, Man Singh, for an interview.
Life was always exciting with my father around. He was a fountainhead of knowledge, being very widely read. When he came back from office, my brother and I would pester him with questions about everything under the sun. He had the answer to every question, and his answers were always right. Or, so we believed; there were no internet sites or fact checkers in those days.
During the summer months, we would pile into the car and take the long drive to Nainital or Simla. In those days the government of India would move to the hill stations every summer, to escape the heat. My father would follow suit, as part of his job. As kids, we pretty much grew up in the hill stations of India. Even today, looking at the mountains anywhere in the world evokes strong feelings of the happiest days in my life.
My father’s name will always be hallowed,or made holy. He was a well-known name in his time, and my own family carries the same family name forward. When my son does something great, like getting a promotion or winning an award, it seems only natural, as he has the same family name. When my daughter shines at her job, it seems only natural, because she was born with the same family name. When my granddaughter writes a column for the college newspaper, I am sure my father’s name gets a new shine.
My mother acquired the same family name when she married, and her name, too, is hallowed. She was an accomplished musician and also did a PhD in music at an advanced age. When I look at my own love of music of every genre, my father’s name is hallowed.
My elder brother led a short eventful life of just 21 years. It took me many, many decades to realize this, but I am alive today only because of him. When my father was sick with cancer, he needed radiation treatment. This science was not very well developed in those days, and my father was taken to a military hospital in New Delhi for treatment. He was kept in a very isolated area and not allowed too many visitors. I wanted to visit my father, but my brother never allowed me to go anywhere near the isolation ward. He went there himself, everyday of the week to meet his father. One year later, he died of leukaemia , caused by radiation exposure. He did not let me go that ward ever and took all the risk upon himself. This is what brothers are made of.
My wife carries the same family name, a side effect of marrying me. She lives up to the name, following the same spiritual path as me, apart from being a much better cook and home maker than me. We go to ashrams together, we follow the same spiritual teachings. In recent times, we were both attracted towards the same spiritual teacher, our beloved Om Swami ji. We both heard him speak on you tube, and we both find him very relatable. He is, after all an NRI and is both traditional and contemporary. My father’s name is hallowed whenever we follow this path together. It is a very rare occurrence for both husband and wife to be on the same spiritual journey together.
Indeed, my father’s name is exalted and he will live on forever through his progeny, his wife and his daughter-in-law whom he never met.
Wishing everyone a great, exalted and hallowed Father’s Day.