To face backwards …..

ami aar baba

My father passed away five years ago at age 83. Today, I think about him in ways that I never did before. When he was alive one of things that I asked him often was about what he did the whole day, apart from watching TV? His response was “I think …. of past days, of people who were in my life … of things that I did and didn’t and things that I could have done …. ” and often his voice would trail off with a tinge of regret. While I did pick up the regret, I did not feel empathetic about it and often reminded myself a bit self importantly and even arrogantly that it was the usual habit of old people, since there was nothing else to do and perhaps also was some kind of indulgence to feel self pity.

Today my father is much more alive in my mind than ever before. In many ways, he has been the most significant person in my life, apart from my daughter. He was the first man I leant to love, to trust, to respect and to look up to and then slowly learnt to unlearn them all. Today, I am slowly re-learning to have empathy, understanding and putting together pieces of stories in my father’s life. And His life was full of stories.

This post is not so much as the relationship between me and my father, but more about what do we do if and when we believe we don’t particularly have a future to behold, but have a present and a past? When the future is what is to come sans a sense of particular vision but with a certainty of arrival, and a past that is unravelling itself differently now than it did before?

To me, this sounds exciting, because of a possibility that it essentially holds for itself, of looking at the future through the past, without getting caught in regression and omission and commission of the past. Of being able to re write the stories of oneself and of the others who have been made an impact in one’s life …. to view life differently than one has done before.

Hence, for me facing backwards this way is shaping the future differently and being able to write and to tell stories of my life and the lives of others who have touched me in more ways than one. One of the ways that I can pay respect to my father now is to write stories of his life hopefully bringing alive the person that he actually was – as himself and not just my father.

My last post was about stories we grew up with … this post is about stories that we are, or others have been.

what’s your story? What do you think about stores of our lives?

woman, mother, thinker, citizen of the world, curious and hopeful about the world, generous, opinionated, argumentative, insightful, intuitive, psychotherapist, executive coach and organisation consultant

8 thoughts on “To face backwards …..

  1. You write beautifully… you have a command over not just the craft (of writing), your ability and courage to articulate your thoughts, with the bedrock of feelings, is enviable…

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  2. I liked reading your post and how in many ways you have immortalized a loved one in changing hues and patterns. In a way it is the past and how we make sense of it determines our very future. The picture that comes to my mind is that a life journey is like a car where the nascent years are of a clear windshield and powerful whirring engine with many roads ahead – the car as we age gets weaker, the windshield more blurred, and the only way is to look at what we left behind in the rear view mirror – till it comes to a complete sudden stop …

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    • @gagandeep: thank you so much for reading and commenting on the post. I love your response, especially like the analogy of the car and the blurred windshield …. May be one can add the wind that does sweep our faces as we move ahead with the help of the rear view mirror.

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  3. Memories are an intriguing proposition, Sharbori. They have such power and dynamics that one has to use them carefully. I am working on a post about this. Hope it would be half as lucid and wonderful as this one. I had once told you that you are a teller of stories and now I am looking forward to your stories of your father’s life.

    Is that you in the pic? You looked lovely as a girl too 🙂

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  4. your post reminds me so much of Dayanita Singh’s exhibition “Come away Closer”. This ‘to face backwards’ is a bit like that – moving forwards, backwards; perhaps a different and and far more experimental way of doing it. Memories are such doors, some yield to choice and some don’t. And in so much of memories there are also imaginings, the way we perceive what ‘memory’ might have been – a way of creating the past, curating the past. thank you for this story Sharbori.

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    • @Aru: thank you for your comment. Doesn’t it also remind you of your own short story that you read to us one evening,of the river and the boatman? I think that too was curating the past. To me, this is also healing the past, without looking at what was as a pathology. 🙂

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