Heart of Gold

It is 10,227 to this day when I carried the best bundle of joy, a precious Gift that I ever carried in my arms – just seemed that the entire family waited for that day for lifetime to see her appearance into the world. The first Girl of the family in generations and how lucky we are to be her parents, uncle, aunt, cousins and most importantly Grandmother. (I so badly want to add Arun into the equation but then let me confirm if he really is :-P)

A lot of what I write here maybe a repeat, because she never ceased to be the great human being she was ever since she came along – it only got better? To write instances will need Terrabytes of webspace, but suffice to say “Trust me, ask anyone who has crossed her path – what I said is truth and nothing but truth”

From that day on 3rd April 1993, to a being a bride last year and first Birthday as a wife, you have grown gracefully into an amazing young (and beautiful – my genes you see) woman. You are that human being that I often wished I could be. You are beautiful, confident, smart, and well-liked by everyone.

This was the journey so far. My Precious one in my Arms at 28 hours and 28 years

Thank you Divine, for this wonderful gift – Akhila a.k.a. Divya – who has been more a friend than a daughter. It is always tough to write my heart out in limited abilities with words – because there is so much to write and to choose some is a challenge when it comes to writing about you. To start with, incredibly proud of you darling for the way you managed our expectations, by and large exceeded meeting it. You made up more than for small little disappointments when in the rare event you did not meet it. Looking back, it was great that you yourself set such a high expectations on yourself, which means you never ever felt you are undeserving of anything great that the creation has on offer.

As I have kept saying, I only pray that you continue to remain as confident and experiment. Best learning we all drew from you is not to be afraid of making mistakes. Many doors opened due to that, a lot of lessons learnt making you even greater person. As some wise man (don’t know why it has to be a man always :-P) said mistakes create the path to the amazing life one can aspire for later.

Isn’t it a great virtue of how you make friends and people are so easily drawn to you – highly magnetic feature that is everyone’s envy. You can go to a God forsaken place, half way across the globe, or into a desert, where you know nobody, yet I am sure you will come back with loads of new friends (and yet a few more of Whatsapp groups, Amma would say this). No adversity has ever dragged you down as we saw over the years. Just shed the moment and keep moving forward. I pray to the Divine that all these characteristics are never lost on you ever.

You are the best daughter, best grand-daughter, niece, sister, cousin, friend and now (assumedly) a great wife too. Keep smiling like you do while you make light of navigating the worst and most choppy seas of challenges. The way you, Arun and Vishnu managed along with everyone in the family those days when a lot of us were down with Covid, was simply unbelievable. Made it so easy for all of us to come out of it unscathed. Those words you wrote after it was over (in a week) was very touching – not showing any worry outside but what you were going through was so evident in that FB/Insta post. WoW Darling – You are unmatchable

Loads and loads of love from all of us here

Happy birthday Di, my beautiful and invaluable Friend! It’s still unbelievable that it is 28 summers ago on this day that we met for the first time – as a few minutes old, 3.1kg lively “staring” bundle. Keep your chin high and stay happy and progress in life retaining all those great traits that you possess. I love you more than you will ever know. Have a lovely day and a great year ahead.


From Grateful Dad

On this special day, here is my pick for you (or rather for me)

Illuminating our Path – Happy Birthday Divya

I never got why people always equate something precious and dear to the “Eye” like Apple of my Eye, Kanmani,  etc. Well! it was true until recently when I realized that I had something dearer than that decorating our lives.

She has magic in her eyes and more than anything she has the ultimate love & trust for the world. If you cannot accept that this is a beautiful world, see it through her eyes to realize it.

From the time when she was presented before us for the first time after her birth – I vividly remember the glance she gave and looked around. From the one who required care then, to someone who cares, this young lady has come a very long way in these 24 years.

Proud of those moments when she worked with disadvantaged children, differently abled children and her tremendous efforts at mainstreaming them through dance. An epitome of Nishkama Karma – never did anything for laurels, but it came by nevertheless.

Thank you Divine, for this wonderful gift – Akhila a.k.a. Divya – who has been more a friend than a daughter. Don’t go by her frail (but healthy) looks – she has a strong shoulder that many of us can really lean on for strength.  There was a time when I had to explain whatever you meant to us and wish on your Birthday. Gladly you have turned into a young lady and it is only appropriate that I write to you directly now.

Dearest Di

Me and Amma were go through the pictures of you growing up and realized how the time just flew past.  What is admirable is the persistence and never say die attitude. Learnt to take the punches that life threw at you on the chin and move on (after taking it head on). Whether you had these recognition coming your way or not… I would love you no less and you would continue to mean as much – but the icing on the cake is when glory came your way. A proud father’s tears of joy reliving those moments is inexplicable.

Knowing that the world is amazing but a challenging playground,  going by the journey so far, I am very confident that you would savor, steer, enjoy and live every moment. You also have taught many of us to live each day with a sense of gratitude due to which Life has honored us back. While you may not need it anymore than how much I need yours, rest assured that we will walk along with you all the way.

This would be incomplete if I don’t share some glorious moments when you brought everyone cheers and happiness – Proud moments so far and I am sure this is just the beginning. I am sure there are many more to be picked up on the way.

As I always told everyone, there is something special about you, and no parents could be no less prouder than us with whatever you ARE! I know you have a lot more to offer to this world. And as you do that, like a torch bearer in any procession, let me tell you “You illuminate our paths”. That is a huge huge thing for someone your age to do.

I still remember your conviction when you said, we will continue to help people in need notwithstanding whatever trouble some people create – If we back down, it is a victory for them. This world cannot be defeated by a few naysayers!

You are very true there, darling. Go and conquer the world, make it yours and spread the fragrance of happiness. In your little ways, you have touched not just the immediate family but so many countless number of underprivileged children and elders too. A speed breaker of life did not deter from pursuing what you thought was the right thing to do.

Loads and loads of love

Not sure if it is required anymore! But go ahead and aim for the skies in the firm belief that you will not be afraid to fall. Not just us, all those whose lives has been touched by you will be there, not to let you fall.

Have a great birthday and wish you countless more to come! Stay blessed and Keep smiling!

 

Miracle that never ceases to be miraculous – To My Daughter

To the one who has colored up my life for 23 years, a miracle who never ceased to be miraculous,

Starting off reminding you by rerunning this piece that I wrote => True to the Name – Everything  – every bit of what is in this is still valid and true. Only difference it that the things only got even better.

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Vividly remember that warm summer morning, 23 years ago – when I became a father for the first time, the day life changed from super happiness to bliss, When I held the little bundle of unquantifiable bliss so close to my heart and felt that very subtle breath, held it so dearly as if my life depended on it (truth is that it does depend on it), held it like a TROPHY and it indeed was a trophy directly from the Divine!

8:36 am on 3rd April – Wow!ght (no no, it is not a typo) a day it turned out to be in our lives. When I set my eyes first, I knew here is the princess who is going to light up our lives and everyone’s around her. The way you looked at everything around when midwife brought you out of the labour room for the first time and our eyes met – It is like I almost never took it off you.

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Your grannies, grandfather and myself – relished that moment of our much longer lives than yours. Here is a picture – being carried by the Doctor and carrying yourself with so much of dignity today, 23 years hence.

Divya with Dr Almeida
Then and Now! Photos separated by 23 years

This was the bundle, an angel who made me feel worth everything to live for, One who loved us and everything around her. She gave me a reason to love Aparna even more. With Unmatched sense of humor (I am sure it is from my side) and lovely looks (again from my side) 😉 Commitment to love and serve (it would be a lie even for a joke, if I don’t say it was from Amma) – Don’t dismiss this to a father’s blind affection, check with those around her.

When she wore a crown :)
When she wore a crown 🙂

Time flew past and let me tell you, the hug that we gave each other 23 years back has only got tighter and each time it is as exciting as that day. Thanks my darling for being you. Thanks Aparna for bringing her on to the planet and Thanks Divine for the wonderful gift.

You made us proud so many innumerable number of times that I will herald your next birthday if I were to list them. But here are the three that I was really proud of

Divya-Dance
Navaratri Guru arpane in presence of Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji

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If you carefully observe I held a far more precious TROPHY than you. What made you different is your need to reach out and make a difference to the under-privileged (financially, physically or mentally) – The work you do for the needy is truly inspiring and many cannot even dream to match. You spread Joy and laughter to the world like an epidemic. A real Seva Warrior, my princess.

Astha

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For having come into my life – here is my wish on your Birthday! No special wish for a special person like you. Just that as you celebrate your birthday today, I pray that it’s the beginning of the best of all the great things, which are about to come your way. May the year ahead provide you everything that your heart wishes for. Have a great day and year ahead. Happy Birthday my Darling! From a proud father!

With love, with our love
With love, with our love

 

Here is my selected one for you. A famous Tim McGraw number.

Gotta hold on easy as I let you go
Gonna tell you how much I love you
Though you think you already know

I remember I thought you looked like an angel
Wrapped in pink, so soft and warm
You’ve had me wrapped around your finger
Since the day you were born

You’re beautiful baby from the outside in
Chase your dreams but always know the road
That’ll lead you home again
Go on, take on this whole world
But to me you know you’ll always be, my little girl

When you were in trouble that crooked little smile
Could melt my heart of stone
Now look at you, I’ve turned around
And you’ve almost grown

Sometimes you’re asleep I whisper ‘I love you’
In the moonlight at your door
As I walk away, I hear you say
“Daddy, love you more”

You’re beautiful baby from the outside in
Chase your dreams but always know the road
That’ll lead you home again
Go on, take on this whole world
But to me you know you’ll always be, my little girl

Someday, some boy will come
And ask me for your hand
But I won’t say yes to him unless I know
He’s the half that makes you whole

He has a poet’s soul, and the heart of a man’s man
I know he’ll say that he’s in love
But between you and me
He won’t be good enough

You’re beautiful baby from the outside in
Chase your dreams but always know the road
That’ll lead you home again
Go on, take on this whole world
But to me you know you’ll always be, my little girl

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To sign off, Di I love you so much more than the number of selfies you click of yours and both of ours put together – that means Infinite Love

How do we forget this moment when the Divine blessed us all. Ever grateful Pujya Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar ji for making our life so fulfilling and blissful

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 Update: At the stroke of midnight a good deal of her friends landed up with a cake and made it even more special for her

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