Shit happens, but life must go on: A photo journey of nostalgia for Dad

I was charged by my paternal uncle with the seemingly simple task of creating a power point that described the highlights of my father’s life to be shown to schoolchildren in Goa, who would be participating in an inter-school elocution contest in memory of Dad, Dr Subhash Raghuvir Naik. Now Dad was very much a son of the soil and his Goan identity played affected him deeply; his emotional connect with his birthplace and family was always obvious to me, as it was only when he spoke of his childhood that I would see his eyes wet with unshed tears and sheer nostalgia.

Anookaka’s persistence is legendary in our family, and it took several calls to galvanize me into action. I had had a busy week at work, but I was also procrastinating. I knew delving into memory lane would take its toll on me emotionally. But there was no escape and last weekend, I found myself leafing through old pictures and condolence letters. Words swam in front of me as I shed tears that have been contained for over a decade; the mind flash-backed into scenes I thought I had forgotten. My mother watched me calm and composed as I let myself drown in a strange sort of sorrow. Sweet sorrow, as it were.

It is always hard to cope with the loss of a parent, or any dear one. The initial months are hard in the sense of getting used to life without the lost one, the years after are hard because you learn to cope and the guilt of that never leaves; and many years later, you think the trauma has left you but all it takes is a quiet afternoon and a few photographs for you to come undone.

Am blogging a few of the images I scanned for the presentation. I am smiling today, as  look at these because I am not the kind of person who can weep for long, I am a proud daughter to a dad who taught me always see the glass half full; and because I know shit happens, but life must go on…

Getting to know each other- Ajjee, me, Dad

Getting to know each other- Ajjee, me, Dad; 1976

Daddy and Mummy on their wedding day; Feb 1973

Daddy and Mummy on their wedding day; Feb 1973

Fevicol ka jod! Dad and me; perhaps 1979?

Fevicol ka jod! Dad and me; perhaps 1979?

The KEM Mumbai days, the white coated doc...how he loved his work! Round about 1983?

The KEM Mumbai days, the white coated doc…how he loved his work! Round about 1983?

The two-week visits to Goa were filled with conversation- Anookaka, Dad, Ajee; About 1985

The two-week visits to Goa were filled with conversation- Anookaka, Dad, Ajee; About 1985

A summer break in Bangalore where my maternal grandparents stayed. Ammma, Vava, me, Ananth mama, Dad. Check out his veshti, this is probably on Diwali day 1986

A summer break in Bangalore where my maternal grandparents stayed. Ammma, Vava, me, Ananth mama, Dad. Check out his veshti, this is probably on Diwali day 1986

A huge leap in time. Rahul and me etting married in 2001. Circumstances are strange. Dad has just been detected with cancer. His smile remains intact....

A huge leap in time. Rahul and me getting married in 2001. Circumstances are strange. Dad has just been detected with cancer. His smile remains intact….

Dad started to write his autobiography within months of learning of his terminal disease. This is at the release function in 2002, just weeks before he passed away.

Dad started to write his autobiography within months of learning of his terminal disease. This is at the release function in 2002, just weeks before he passed away.

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About ramblinginthecity

I am an architect and urban planner, a writer and an aspiring artist. I love expressing myself and feel strongly that cities should have spaces for everyone--rich, poor, young, old, healthy and sick, happy or depressed--we all need to work towards making our cities liveable and lovable communities.

Posted on February 25, 2013, in Personal and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 22 Comments.

  1. Lovely snaps mukta.We all miss him very much.

  2. Arundhati Choudhuri

    Mukta you brought back years memories bitter-sweet ‘coz of the sheer nostalgia of it all—- you people were family in SGPGI and treasures so to speak

  3. Awesome…inspires me to create one for my dad!

  4. Tears in my eyes. But thank you for these Muks. He was special to all of us. And his smile, just so infectious and effective. Love you.

  5. What fantastic pictures 🙂

  6. Lovely…. n inspiring!

  7. Mahendra Singh, Ph.D.

    I always wanted to see Sir’s pictures for so long time…….so nice to see these pictures here…few of the last ones I witnesses myself… I was never very close to him mainly due to my own socially awkward nature, but somehow I always felt like his blessings were always with me…. In those ~3 and half years that I spent there in the department, I learnt so many skills that always come handy in my everyday professional life. But one of the most important things that I learnt from him was out-of-box approach in scientific research….. I just do not have words to express my feelings for him…He were always there to support, one of the few most important and memorable moments in my professional career can not be summarized without him – when I gave my first major talk in an International conference (ISG 2001) to be competed for an award, I was literally shivering standing behind the microphone, but then I saw Dr. Naik entering the doors of auditorium and joining the audience in first row, even though he was organizer of the conference and was too busy to even drink a glass of water… busy arranging everything for a gathering of 5000 odd people ….he came all the way only to support me…and I had no fear anymore …… well his presence was enough, I got my confidence and….. won the award !!….There are more such incidents where I had his support, even though I did not ask for it…..!! Among few great people, whom I had opportunity to work with, learn from….!! Sir..we all love you from core of our heart….!!!

  8. Manoj Kumar Srivastava

    Very touching Mukta ji,,…it reminded me of my papa…..

  9. So well written Mukta. Reminded me too of my dad and his struggle with cancer.

  10. So beautiful Mukta… he was quite a guy. So strong and loving and so full of life always!

  11. I had always heard good things abt Uncle, he always met ppl with a smile. One still remembers his smiling pleasant face. When Mom told me abt his disease, I was shocked and felt sad. But what she described afterwards wont be forgotten by me…She spoke abt this will power even after hearing the dreaded news, his determination to complete 2-3 imp things b4 he was to go. One of the things as I remember was your marriage, other was his autobiography( yes I read that too, it still inspires). He was a Gr8 man, one we should always feel proud abt.
    I can identify with your emotions as my Dad also passed away in similar circumstance and I still feel the pain and helplessness, and the bitterness with the Almighty that he snatches away only the good guys…..Anyways as you rightly said Shit happens but life must go on! Apurv

  12. What a beautiful post, Mukta. My father passed away almost 2 years back and as you have rightly mentioned, loss of a parent is very tough. I had prepared a photo post on him, but never posted it. After seeing yours, maybe I should.

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