Photographs have a way of making me melancholy. I look at pictures from my past and relive the moment the picture was taken. Sitting on my desk at work is a picture of my dad in his blue collared tee shirt with red horizontal stripes spaced wide apart. He has a nice smile and his eyes are squinting in the sunlight. His spongy white hair is combed back and he looks smart and young. I remember the moment that picture was taken. We were visiting the mall at Easton in Columbus Ohio. It was a bright, breezy, sunny day. The kind of day that make you want to run wild in the fields with your dupatta flying filmi style behind you. The kind of day when kids fly kites. The kind of day that is perfect for a stop at the local ice cream shop. A day for bikes and picnics.
Tired from walking around the mall, the entire bunch of us stopped to watch kids cavorting in a cool fountain set in the middle of the mall, out in the sun. Ever ready to pose for pictures, we all sat by the ledge and squinted into the camera, smiling and thinking happy thoughts. Amma, me, Appa and Saathi in that order. Me holding appa’s arm, face puffy from the travel and vaira thodu glinting in the sun.
No one could have thought a year later, appa would just be a memory. Or that Amma would feel this lost without Appa by her side. Memories of Appa rush to my mind at the strangest of times. Like now. I miss him in ways I could not have fathomed. Thinking of him makes me fear for all the things I hold dear and will lose at some point in my life. It makes me philosophical. It also makes me quiet and melancholy.