Today marks the end of the most difficult year he has ever lived through. He can probably count the number of time he has cried, moaned, complained, disturbed others, gotten frustrated, cursed and wished he would die. Certainly more than once each, probably more than one of the above feelings per day on average through the last year.
More importantly, today also marks the most exciting year he has lived through. The most he has ever travelled (not that he likes flying to India at odd time a whole lot). He is now friends with two of the most prolific doctors in the world (Dr. Markus Beuchler and Dr. Shailesh Shrikhande). He has braved sub-zero temperatures(at least according to him) of Europe. He is the owner of multiple properties in two of the most prolific cities in India. Most importantly. he still holds the upper hand in the most important fight of his life, against Pancreatic Cancer.
The only memory I had of him until 9 years of age was a carton of Mars he would get when we'd come back home for a couple weeks. No interactions, no conversations, only pictures. On moving to Doha, life changed quite a bit. He threw me into the swimming pool to teach me how to swim. He made my drive a car (well, at least steer it) when I was 13 and 14 and 15 and 16. He let me back out of the garage when I was 17 and 18. He bought me an over-specced computer in 1998 (about 80% of his monthly income). He bought me multiple touch screen PDAs in 1999, not knowing what they were, or what its use to me would be. He bought me a badminton racket every year from 2000 through 2006. He bought me an over-specced laptop for college and a car on the same day (used up all his savings until that point. And he also sent me to Carnegie Mellon(let's not even get into the cost here).
One would think he kept me happy, and in hindsight, he sure did. I didn't think that back in the day though, probably because he's broken at least 4 belts beating me up. He's thrown me out of the house on multiple instances, sometimes for multiple hours on a winter night(it can sometimes get cold in Doha!), because I was late by 15 minutes in coming back home. He never gave me money to hang out with my friends. He would not drive me to school if I missed the bus. He would force me to take a ride (a lift for those who understand) with a stranger on days I'd have to go to play Cricket at 4 in the morning. The result -- I am money-conscious, (extremely) punctual, disciplined, independent, and can drive and swim well. (results from a Gallup poll of some friends).
I've never really thanked him enough. He's never asked for it either. Now that I think about it, he's never really asked for anything. I would like him to ask me for something, anything.
Today marks one year since he was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. He continues to win, and amaze me.
Happy Father's Day, Dad!