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ravi s



ravi s


How I Found My Father

How I Found My Father

8 mins

I was five when I lost my father and fifty-three when I found him. You may think I am joking; no, I am not. This is not a Bollywood lost-and-found story.

When you lose your father at as young an age as I was, you barely remember anything about him. I had a brother who was five years older and a sister, nine years older. All I remember about that fateful day was that my father went to work as usual and failed to return home.

My poor mother was worried when my father did not return even after three days. She was informed by my father’s work colleagues that he had not turned up in the office for work. All known friends and relatives did not know anything about my father. Every place where he could possibly have gone were searched but in vain. 

Advertisements in papers and posters with his photo with information did not get us any results. Months passed and soon we too stopped worrying about father. It’s strange, but this is a universal truth. Tragedies impact you for a while, just as joys and happiness make you happy for a while; then the impact is gone, diluted, evaporated. You then start focusing on your present life and lose all sense of the tragedies that happened to you. I must confess that at that young age, I could barely understand the loss of my father. All I thought was that he was missing and could return anytime. There was nothing more to worry about for me.

My mother and sister must have felt the maximum impact of the tragedy for they went into some kind of depression. My mother took the mentally ill and was admitted to the hospital for treatment. Unfortunately, she could never recover and seven years later she died a very unhappy and disturbed woman.

My elder sister would not marry when she grew up; she felt it was her responsibility to take care of her two brothers. She would hide her sad feelings for father and mother but I could see how deeply those events had upset her.

When I was thirty, my sister passed away, her life wasted by family tragedies. My elder brother was married by then and I was earning enough to take care of myself. My sister never gave up the search for father and she would spend lots of money on her efforts. As I grew up, I learned a lot about my father from my sister; how he used to love us all, the gifts that he would bring for us as kids, and the places he used to take his children for picnics. This was how I came close to my father and began loving and missing him. My sister always believed that my father was still alive, somewhere in this big bad world. One day, she kept telling me, he would return home. Before she died, she made me promise that I would keep my father alive in my heart, and never believe that he could be dead.

The age of technology had truly begun and platforms like Facebook and Orkut had become a rage. I too joined the bandwagon. It was a good way to escape into these virtual worlds of friends, friendships, relations, and activity; and I embraced it warmly along with the millions of others.

Years sped by till one morning, a few years ago, I happened to click on a video on Facebook posted by someone I remotely know. There was this miserable man in some hospitals who was appealing to the world at large to help one of the patients in the hospital with money. He was saying that this patient was homeless and had none to care for him. He was sick and could not afford the expenses of the hospital he was put in.

I was not moved by the man’s appeal for helping another sick patient, for there were millions like him on the streets. One could not, these days, decide whether a person was genuinely needy or not. Videos on social and other platforms often turn out to be fake. But, it was the man who as of making the appeal who grabbed my attention.

The person in the video had an uncanny resemblance to my dear and lost father. Though visibly he looked old and depleted, the features matched with that of my father. I was stunned and it took me a while to confirm the similarities. I called my brother and told him about the video, which I had shared with him. He too confirmed that the man looked like our father. We tried contacting the person who posted the video but she told us that this video had gone viral and she had merely shared it on Facebook.

Though we were sure that the man in the video could not be our father however similar he seemed, we decided to hunt the man down and see him for ourselves. We went to the hospital from where the video had originated and traced the man.

The man who made the appeal in the video was admitted to the hospital for treatment of a fracture and he had been discharged long back. With much difficulty, we could obtain his address and drove there.

There was a lady in the house when we knocked at the door. We showed her our father’s photograph of years ago when he was young and told her our story. She asked us to come in and gave us some tea. We sipped our tea anxiously, waiting for her to talk about our father.

“ This man, who you say is your father, is the same person who lives with us. In fact, he has been living with us for the last forty-eight years. He is not related to us, but now he is part of our family. It was forty-eight years ago when my husband found this man on the streets in an unconscious condition. He was probably hit by some vehicle and left to die. My husband took him to a hospital and got him treated.

When he became conscious, he could not tell us anything about himself or his family. He only kept repeating that he was from a very loving family and that he had a wife and three children; beyond that, he could not remember anything.

We took pity on his condition and hoping that he will recover soon, we brought him to our home. Unfortunately, he never got back his memory. He still worries about his wife and children and wishes to go back to them. We did make efforts to trace his family but we couldn’t because we had no details or clues. We decided that he shall be part of our family until someone turns up for him. It has been four decades, but until now no-one had ever come looking for him. Now, you have finally come.

I don’t know whether your father will recognize you, but I can see that you have found your father after all these years. I am happy for you and I am sure he will also be happy. He has gone to the nearby market and will be back soon. I must tell you that his memory has further worsened for these days he tends to forget a lot of things. Some type of dementia, I gather. My husband is no more but my two children have come to love him as their uncle. They are grown up and married and settled abroad. I live here with your father."

When my father came from the market, all we could do was stare at him. This man, our father, had lost his way forty-eight years ago. He lost his family but had managed to find himself a home where he was tended and cared for.

The lady told our father about us, but he did not show any reaction. He said to the woman:

“Did I not keep telling you that I have a family and three children? I think I had a daughter too!”

“Your daughter is no more,” I told him gently.

“My wife? I know I had a wife.”

“Gone, father.”

He nodded his head and asked the woman

“These are my sons, but I cannot remember anything about them. The photograph they show is mine, I am sure about it. What am I supposed to do now? Should I go with them and leave you? All that I know and care for now is you and your two lovely children who call me Chacha. What am I to do?”

“Father”, my brother said. “We are glad we found you. My mother never gave you up for dead. Your daughter believed you are alive until her very last breath. We can see how this family has accepted you as your own. We are not here to take you away. For us, it is enough that we can die peacefully, knowing that our father is alive and well.”

“Yes, father.” I said: “ Brother is right. We have spent long decades searching for you, but now our search has ended. We are happy we found you, did not believe that you are dead. We love you father, but we will not forcibly take you anywhere.”

“ My sons. I am sorry for you. You found your father but he will never find his own family. Allah has mercy on my dear wife and daughter for not giving up on me. Please do keep coming to visit me, whenever you like. Maybe before I die, I will get back my memories of my family, if Allah feels so. I would like to stay with this family, for this is the family I know and will remember.”

We went back without our father, happy in the knowledge that we had finally found him. Strange are the ways of Allah. He made us wait for 48 long years before he let us find our dear father. I don't know how long it would take for him to get back his memories. Till then, we will keep visiting him with our hopes alive.

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