Nelo­far Cur­rimb­hoy is the au­thor of the best­seller Flame—the Story Of My Mother, Shah­naz Hu­sain

Cosmopolitan (India) - - YOU, YOU, YOU -

My Dear­est 9A9A,

I could never get that right, the Ps and 9s were al­ways mixed up in my kinder­garten note­books. What was a funny child­hood habit be­came our lit­tle, per­sonal joke and you al­ways signed 9A9A when you wrote to me. Whether the P turned east or west, it just meant one thing—that you were the most won­der­ful fa­ther any girl could have. Though you left us 10 years ago, you live on in my thoughts for­ever.

I have just fin­ished my labour of love; a book on mum’s life which I have ded­i­cated to you, be­cause you were the wind be­neath her wings. The chap­ters of my book move like a jour­ney through our lives and I can see you now walk through the pages, el­e­gant, soft-spo­ken and charm­ing. “Nelo­far, re­mem­ber al­ways that it’s not what you say, it’s how you say it,” you had said. Yes­ter­day when I was in­ter­viewed on the ra­dio, they said I had a per­fect voice, and I thought of you. “My fa­ther’s in­flu­ence,” I smiled.

As a young girl, my horse rid­ing wor­ried you. I re­mem­ber gal­lop­ing past and notic­ing that you had driven down just to watch me get safely off. The feel­ing of pro­tec­tion and warmth that a fa­ther brings is price­less; the faith that while you sleep at night you are se­cure be­cause your fa­ther is there. I al­ways re­mem­ber the ex­treme pro­tec­tion you brought to your fam­ily. It was like liv­ing in the shade of a banyan tree.

I re­mem­ber most when mummy’s ca­reer graph was mov­ing up and our home was show­ing the early signs of pros­per­ity, you pointed to the third re­frig­er­a­tor that had been added. “Nelo­far”, you had said, “there is never enough if you are rest­less for more. Wealth and hap­pi­ness is re­ally a feel­ing of con­tent­ment.” You were con­cerned that abun­dance may af­fect my val­ues. Today, I know that noth­ing that can be bought is worth any real value in the larger per­spec­tive of life or re­la­tion­ships.

The night be­fore you left us, there was a big party at the house; we didn’t know it will be your last one. I re­mem­ber it so clearly, the lively mu­sic, strobe lights and how you were danc­ing more than usual, smil­ing and laugh­ing as if it was for a life­time. All I can say is, ‘This world was never meant for one as beau­ti­ful as you’. Big hug wher­ever you are...

Love you al­ways,

Nelo­far

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