I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.
Mary Elizabeth frye
Almost a month back , father of my childhood friend Sofi passed away. It happened suddenly and the news was quite shocking for me.Uncle was all hale and hearty a week before. Sofi and I studied in the same class till Class 10 and has lot of memories to look back.
My childhood was spent in the city of Bokaro. It is a SAIL city just like the cities of Rourkela, Bhilai , Visakhapatnam etc. And if you have been to one of such cities, you would agree that they have their own old world charm. Bokaro is divided into 12 sectors and each sector is a neighborhood equipped with a health center, playgrounds , staff residences ( mostly people working in the steel plants used to live there) schools and shopping center. I used to stay in sector 5/C and study in Guru Gobind Singh Public School which was a 10 minute walk from my home.I literally crossed two playgrounds to reach my school. As an inquisitive child my eyes used to wander in search of wild flowers , butterflies and ladybirds. And I used to feel at the top of world whenever I used to see one. Such carefree days where we had ample time to wander in the wilderness and getting lost in doing nothing.
It was class 10 and I was worried most about Mathematics . We came to know that the principal of Ayappa School who was a reputed mathematics teacher used to stay in sector 5 itself. It was a boon to have someone like him at a walk-able distance. Life was simple then , a handshake and a cup of tea used to solve many complex problems. It was Sofi’s father Mr. K.N. Gopalkrishna Uncle who first spoke to the principal sir about the help which we needed in Mathematics and slowly I and my other classmate Bhavna joined his classes along with Sofi.
There was neither a mobile during that time nor the luxury of other material possessions.But what we had was empathy and an informality in day to day life. I remember Uncle as an affable person who always encouraged us to do well. It is a joy just to remember those carefree days.Our fathers always dropped us on time whenever they could and they would joke about how good we were as daughters and the pride was always to praise the other daughter but not his own.
Although Sofi and I were competitors but Uncle would always praise me for something or the other. This small instance I always remember and we laugh my heart out whenever it comes in my mind.
One day when we reached classes , it was little late and this time the fathers of Sofi and Bhavna had also came to drop us.
So once we were inside, my father was talking some humdrum stuff with Chopra Uncle and Gopalkrishnan Uncle. In between Gopalkrishnan remarks that Bhavna is a very cute child and is really very calm and quiet. Chopra uncle hearing this says , ” what cute Sir , She is just like a baby elephant ” . Hearing this neither my father nor Gopalkrishnan Uncle was able to contain himself and they break into unbridled laughter.
This small incidence father told me after the classes and whenever we remember this we break into a loud laugh. This small incidents is not life changing but there was something about that time which was pure and simple.
Sofi’s father is no more but I still remember how simple he was and had the innocence of a small child. His death was unexpected and heart wrenching for my friend . With this post I wanted to Convey Sofi that he is not there physically but his ideals and values will keep ensconcing her life with his presence.
A photo which Sofi shared with me …. where she is seen with her parents…. What is the one thing which strikes you about this photo?