Every year as this day rolls around, I am caught with conflicting emotions. I want to celebrate the day my dad was born. I imagine him bringing untold joy to his parents by his very birth. I imagine that being the first born son he would also have been a very welcome addition to the family. (Even as I say that, I am shaking my head at how wrong it sounds!).
I remember sometime in high school is when I started taking note of birthdays and the whole celebratory vibe that brings. For the longest time it was just payasam at home and an archanai in the temple to mark Appa’s birthday. As I grew older I remember going with Amma to get new clothes for Appa. I also remember how painfully shy Appa was with receiving compliments and wishes. Always had a big smile on his face stretching from ear to ear.
These days, I also feel pain. I am sad that he is no longer alive. The day comes and goes with no Appa to address it to. In my mind, I wish him. I also wish he had stayed with us longer. Happy Birthday Appa!
It also happens to be my FIL’s birthday. With every passing year, I look forward to wishing him affectionately before anybody else in the family can. I look back on the year it has been and all the little things he does stands out. Like every weekend when he is done talking to K he calls for me. Without fail. My achievements mean as much to him as it would have with my Appa. Only my FIL is more vocal about it. His joy exudes over the phone. I am smiling long after I have hung up the phone. I resented that he insisted that I call him “Appa” as I did my Appa. Over the years, our relationship has matured and I am in many ways glad of the father figure in my life.
So, dear Appa, wish you a very, very Happy Birthday!!!