Its ten years today. Ten years from when I got the call that blew my world. One decade. A billion lifetimes. I was a little girl then; a princess sheltered in your cocoon. The apple of your eye. Or as you would say; a piece of your heart.
But I wonder if you would be proud of who I’ve turned out to be today; one decade, ten years and a billion lifetimes away from who I was when you were still moulding, shaping and guiding me.
I’ve had a few knocks Papa. I’ve struggled a bit. You’ve missed so much and I have missed you so much. Your voice, your words, your touch, your hold, your security, your pampering – nothing fills the void.
Back then, every time we left the house without me wearing a pair of earrings, you used to stop and buy me a new pair right there. Sometimes my ears find themselves decorated today, but more often, they are listening for the sounds of my children’s voices, to my mother’s worries, to the directives of my leaders and to the concerns of my colleagues.
‘A girl’s hands and toes should always be pretty – like your Mama’s’. My nails haven’t seen polish in ten years – they are working hands. They cook food for your grandchildren and soothe their worries away; they tap away at a laptop building dreams into reality; they paint; they write and they play the piano. They’ve lifted Dada when he’s been sick, they’ve carried Nani to her last rites but no, they do not wear nail polish.
You taught me to always do right – to live by my values when it comes to others and myself and I do try to do that today as well but often I stand alone in the world when I take that position and more often than not, that deep set black and white outlook has left me deeply hurt.
You demonstrated responsibility and generosity in every step you took and that path has always lead to me being rewarded; Mama’s life itself is the biggest reward. Waiting day after day watching her dying; waiting for someone else to go and gift her new breaths is something I don’t know how to articulate. But I worked on that pain and that very foundation you started with the intention to help people, has found the light of day in the form of ORGAN.
You taught me to be a fighter but I’ve not won all battles Papa, including the one with the father of my children, the man who you gave me away to with so many hopes in your heart.
You told me to ‘Blaze my Trail’ and I have done that. Today, ten years ago I had a conversation with you about opening a small business to help mothers-to-be. I kept to my word; I have built 7 of those facilities across the country and now have a few hundred people working with me to build a slightly larger dream. ‘Pink is for girls’ you would gaze into my eyes and smile at me; urging me to retain my femininity. I have listened to you – my way – I work to serve women, by women, for women.
But all of this has come at a cost. You would not like that I leave your grandchildren everyday to work a job; you would say my place and responsibility is with them. But I don’t want to shelter my children in a false cocoon like you did me and then disappear on them one day, never to return. My children are independent, capable and yet they have retained their innocence. I want to teach them to dream and chase their dreams and to show them that dreams can come true.
Some say I am too soft and need to grow a thicker skin. Others say I am ruthless. Many try to control me and others give me too much space. But I am unapologetically – ME. Your daughter. Not the same one. But one who has designed her own life and lives on her own terms, powered by the same fuel that drove you and the same fuel that you raised me on – a little bit of fearlessness and a little bit of magic.
And I wonder, if you would be proud of me today?