Will you have more time with me?

02 Mar 2021

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Mar 1st, 2021. ~11.30 PM PST.

We were watching a Tamil movie Kaaka Muttai tonight. My wife was sitting next to me, and my 5 year old daughter in my lap, leaning on my chest, all feeling cozy inside a velvet comforter. Our typical family movie time.

The grandmother character dies in that movie, triggering a conversation between me and my 5 year old daughter.

Aradhana (daughter): Why did she die? (curious)
Premkumar (dad): Everyone dies when they get old. (casual)
Aradhana (daughter): You are old. You’ll die soon. (mischief)
Premkumar (dad): Yeah. Maybe. (casual)

She thinks deeply for a few moments and suddenly sadness engulfs her pretty face. She turns toward me and asked,

Aradhana (daughter): Will you have more time with me? (crying)
Premkumar (dad):

I didn’t know what to say. My world froze. Trembling words and tearful eyes. Am I happy or sad or confused? Or all of them together?. I don’t know. With mixed emotions, I said,

Premkumar (dad): Ara, I promise I’ll be there for you, as long as I am alive. I love you.

I hugged her tightly for a while, caressing her hair, kissing her head, feeling heavenly to have found the meaning of my existence.

Moments later, she slept in my arms, peacefully.

I could not sleep. I’m wide awake. I want to register this moment, hence this blog.

I had the whole of 2020, almost exclusively with my family, inside the house. But…

Aradhana (daughter): Will you drop me at school, please?
Premkumar (dad): Sorry Ara, Appa doesn’t have time.

Aradhana (daughter): Shall we go for a walk?
Premkumar (dad): Sorry Ara, Appa is busy.

Aradhana (daughter): Will you play with me for 5 minutes, please?
Premkumar (dad): Sorry Ara, Appa has to work.

Aradhana (daughter): I made your favorite place ready. Do you want to see your surprise?.
(She arranges her favorite toys in the steps to lure me to play with her)
Premkumar (dad): Sorry Ara, Appa has a call.

Aradhana (daughter): Shall we cook french-fries?. I learned from YouTube.
Premkumar (dad): Sorry Ara, Appa has to finish something important.

Aradhana (daughter): I’m alone. I have no one to play with.
Premkumar (dad): Sorry Ara, Appa has to work. Why don’t you watch TV?

Aradhana (daughter): Will you read me a story, tonight?.
Premkumar (dad): Sorry Ara, Appa is tired.

… and many more.

Life slipped through me in moments like this. What an idiot I was. And for what?

It’s time I re-arrange my priorities and be a dad that she will remember, long after I am gone.

Ara, I promise I’ll be there for you, as long as I am alive. I love you.

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