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?

I live in Bangalore, India, and by profession, I am CEO of a consulting organization, an Organization Consultant and an Executive Coach. I write because I like writing my thoughts and reflections for me to review my life and the life as I see around myself. However, sometimes it makes sense to convey my thoughts to others and connect with others. Maybe it strikes a chord; may be it does not. My life has been my most outstanding teacher, which is why I like sharing my experiences, memories, encounters and other narratives that I build as I go along. I am interested in people, society, culture, ways of life, individual and collective narratives/stories as they lead us to discover each other as nothing else does. I also write about coaching, people's lives, culture, stories, mothering my daughter, believing in a feminine way of life, and most of all, believe that all politics starts from the self and personal convictions

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…


  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 …


    • @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.


  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 🙂


    • @Zephyr: lovely to hear about your plan for a post on stories and eagerly looking forward to hear it. you have always been a kind and loving friend. thank you.


  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.


    • @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. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s