Younger Daddy

The Man in the Safari Suit

I met him for the first time at workplace in Lonavala where he had come visiting his daughter and it was a perfunctory greeting followed by a lunch at the coffee shop buffet that took 3 months of my tips money to repay.

The second meeting was more formal and I had dropped in to his house unannounced and asked him for his daughter’s hand in marriage and was asked to reconsider my decision due to my meagre income.

The third time was a “foot-in-mouth” situation when I ran into him creating a lot of questions in his mind as to my presence in another city and alongside his daughter in a new job

And the final straw was in very intimidating circumstance following an anonymous telegram that brought him face to face with a situation that he had to weigh his reputation vis-à-vis his daughter’s happiness.

And in each scenario, he did not come across as a fearsome person, just a concerned parent looking after the interest of his daughter’s future. He kept his pride and I worked my way into his good books. He stepped in when needed, showered love upon my children, enjoyed a tipple with me, laughed with my gentle ribbing, popular among the youth of the church, always had people calling upon him, was a do-gooder with a generous heart and wallet.

His two hip surgeries did not dim his enthusiasm and his perfect set of teeth at 80 would give a complex to any youngster. His light eyes were coveted by his progeny without any success. His noisy approach to chewing was always pointed out at the dining table and his gaseous release in his final years was always followed by a sheepish grin. He loved his oil massages and his multiple trips to the ayurvedic hospital were silently obeyed.

His scooter rides with the air force helmet always started with a jerk and his inability to place both his feet on the ground at the same time had situations where his wife would get off at various road humps and he would reach home before realising it and returning to fetch her. This would make our conversations very enjoyable.

After the death of his wife, we kept his spirits up and a road trip to Kerala one year before his death was most enjoyed by him despite his misgivings of toilet breaks and incontinence. His final three years spent at home gave me an opportunity that I could not share with my own father to serve him. His felicitation by the Air Force on reaching 80 was his last official engagement in September before he was taken away from us early morning following the night after Christmas in 2013 but his presence is still around in the house.

Thank you for being my father after my father. Happy birthday wherever you are

K S Chacko, 1st May 1933 to 26th December 2013

Father to Jaya & Bobby and Joju & Sunita

Grandfather to Benjamin, Denis, Christine and Kevin

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Academician, Author, Foodie, Traveller with myriad interests and skills, all jacked and none mastered!

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Bobby George

Bobby George

Academician, Author, Foodie, Traveller with myriad interests and skills, all jacked and none mastered!

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