Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Indore- Glimpses Of Dad

In my fourth trip of the year so far, I went to Indore to attend the wedding of my Dad’s cousin brother, Luv Khot. When I met Luv, he asked me in complete bewilderment, “So Priyanka, How come you came so far to attend my wedding even though we never met?” Hmmm, I smiled the question away. Replying, “This is the second time we are meeting. The first time you had completely ignored me.” His expression was enough to tell me that with this answer he had become even more amused at my arrival to the city that was once the seat of the Peshwai.

I was not for even once offended at the question that Luv asked in jest several times over in the next two days. In fact even I had asked myself the question several times during my 18 hours train journey from Delhi to Indore. Significantly enough, the answer was simple. The occasion of Luv’s wedding was just an excuse. My main aim was to travel back in time, meet the family that I had heard about for so long from my late father, but had never met. The experience had to be monumental, I was convinced, as I was to, in form of stories, relive the moments my Dad had once lived in the city with his uncles, all his age-group.

‘In relations uncle, but in age and friendship, almost brothers,’ is how my dad often described them to me. I had this golden opportunity of meeting everyone under one roof in their best festive moods and hopefully nostalgic once they met me. I HAD to attend Luv’s wedding. I had a reason. I did not tell him this then, because I did not want to come across as a bad relative, trying to reduce the importance of the groom on one of the most important day of his life.

I know many might perceive my reason for the visit to be selfish. I would not even say it was not. In fact it was. It was one opportunity that I knew I had to lap up to, maybe only for just three days, see my father living in the twinkle of the eyes of his uncles when they shared stories of the mischief they conspired and executed together with panache. I had to see once again glimpses of my deceased Dad.

To see the characters in blood and flesh, who I had imagined to be only parts of the stories my Dad told me at bed time or during long train/bus journeys. I saw my Dad’s reflection in the polite manner of Brig. Prabhakar Khot, the wicked and immensely intelligent humour of Ravi Khot, the style of humming songs that Sunil Khot adopted and the shot temper yet extremely caring nature and concern that Anil Khot showered. My sincere apologies for writing their names without the respectful address of Aajoba that our relationship demands or uncle that I call them since all of them do not look and are not even old enough to be my grandfathers.

The stories that flowed were amazing. I really wish my Dad was alive so I could fight with him, for being so strict with me when he has done some of the most outrageous tomfoolery in his time. I mean he got kidnapped by an opposition camp for four days, when he stood for college elections. And he would not even permit me to stand in the school elections contending, “Politics is a dirty business.” He developed his strong taste for food in the city. The ear for music had also been sharpened in company of Sunil uncle. He had cycled for 25 kilometres to smoke cigarettes with Anil uncle.

The stories I heard and the love I saw in their eyes for my Dad is what I had gone looking for there. What overwhelmed me the most was the love I received from everyone I met. Being my Dad’s daughter is an address I have not been conferred with in a very long time. The family had adopted me instantly. Sushant, Asha Aaji, Jyoti Aunty, Pushpa Aunty and Suneeta Aunty welcomed me with such warmth that it was with a great effort that I kept my tears down. Not for a moment did I feel like I was meeting them for the first time. I belonged to the wedding. I was a Khot daughter and received all the love that I had longed for from that side of the family.


Garima said...

Touching!! Brought tears to my eyes.....Girl... Promise me the first copy of the book that u gonna write very soon... :) U have the blessings of words.. cherish it... :) It's a gift which not many people have....

fatoori said...

ladies and gentleman, shes back! my favourite author from, from...the central part of delhi..hehehe..
luvd d piece..it moved back and forth in time so effortlessly..aur bhi lamba likhti, mai toh bhi padhta chala jata..
and what a way to relive ur dad's memories..some of ur sentences like "i belonged to the wedding" and "i was a Khot daughter" are so grand, i fell in luv with the grandeur.. very well written dude, all the best for the next! luv..

Indrajit said...

I echo the same as my predecessors here . :)

Isha Mitra said...

Brilliant piece dear.. very touching.. n i agree with garima.. u do write well i've been reading ur blogs fro quite sometime now.. keep up the good work..

divyanshu said...

amazing piece....love your style of writing..

yamini said...

Hi Priyanka,
the write up is very touching and i really dont think that i should use any words to express the feeling that i experienced on reading it. the words would only spoil the effect. So, i would only say, keep on writing, you are gonna touch many more lives with it than you already are...
God bless...

PSK said...

Brilliant and lucid style of narration , as ever.We are equally proud of you.However,you singled out Asha Aji by not mentioning her name and she is a bit sore about it.She always had a special corner for Pradyumna and still remembers him more than others do.She remembers your Mom equally.My appreciation for the blog.

Priyanka Khot said...

Thank you all for your comments. :-)

@PSK: I am so so so sorry Aajoba and Aaji, Thank you for pointing out my mistake I have made the correction. I missed Aaji's name in the write up but she has a special place in my memory of the Indore trip.

Priyanka Khot said...

Some other comments on the posts that came to me in my inbox:

RSK: Very well crafted and touching.........

Dear Priyanka,

Went through the ' talk' where a daughter fondly remembers her Dad and sees him come alive in the eyes of her near ones.The meeting and the confabulations made me walk down the memory lane and reminisce the moments spent in the company of Padu. We were indeed great friends and shared many likings.After he left Indore, we only met four times. We had a strong bonding though we never talked to each other over phone or wrote letters. I cannot express how happy he was when he came to know that I had come to Mumbai on Promotion.He had made a call to Ravindra in August/ september 1998 and chanced to speak to me.He was so excited on hearing my voice that he spoke to me for 15 to 20 minutes ( in those days STD was a bit costly). I will continue to miss him for rest of my life.

Your 'talk ' touched the bottom of my heart and I held back my tears with great difficulty, though my lachrymal glands aren't too robust. You have very well said that you are Khot's daughter. You will continue to receive all the love and affection from all of us.Continue to keep in touch and also continue to send the 'talks' as and when written.

--SUNIL KAKA (Sunil Khot)

oh my god
wen i met her i didnt know there is a gulzaar inside just abt to write rhymes on the scene
i cud really see things happening !
so beautifully portrayed and pen pictured
hats off for priyanka


Gurneet said...

Oh god..sooo touching..like most of your other blogs. You again have made me cry. After reading it,I feel like I was present their with you.
I wish we were friends since childhood but its not that it feels any different..
Love You... :)

Anu said...

Hi Priyanka, I'm all tears after rreading about your trip.
You are a born writer.
Before I visited this blog, I associated you only eith Delhi Photo Diary, but you are amazing at expresing yourself. Like Garima said, you have the gift of words.
Every modern day Indian daughter will relate to your experiences on the wedding trip.
Keep up the great work. God bless..

Sapna Anu B.George said...

Very heart warming story dear... great to meet you here in this blog world too

Kaustubh said...

Hi Priyanka.

Excellent piece of narration.
Really Touching.

C you,

"My macrocosm" said...

I cant really imagine how you had felt bou hearing from the horse's mouth(s) but your diction is indeed good.

Namrata Bhardwaj

Rajiv Nema said...

Very touching and superbly crafted. I came to know the entire Khot family December 2010 at Sushant's wedding in Indore. They are a very WARM family.

You have a great family. Indore is a great city with great stories of personal touch in all corners.