I have lived with him all my living life----perhaps not always in physical proximity, but surely always, and always, he is part of who I am, and what makes me. He is a septuagenarian now, so you assume that loosely speaking he has been a senior for way more than a decade who has had all these years of retirement to repeatedly go over his life and narrate the remarkables and the highlights to everyone who has cared to listen. You have spent countless hours conversing at dinner tables or over phone, to start to feel that your old dad has by now pulled all the tricks from his hat, and told you all his life's stories, over and over and over and over again. But just then, as a matter of fact, he comes up with this anecdote, that casts a sliver of a spunky new light on what you knew or thought of your dad.
So, here we are on a Saturday morning of the East coast Fall, sitting on the couch and the carpet--dad, hubby and I, soaking in some much needed sun, as some music is presented to us by Pandora music (from its music genome project), supposedly selected on the basis of my husband's prior choices of music. I flaunt a supposedly educated guess--are they the Beatles? And before my husband can reply, my dad comes up with the answer---no this doesn't sound like them. And he is right! How does, he know the Beatles music so well....I begin to think, and then I notice this wistful look in his eyes, and savoring a memory, with a smile in the corner of his lips, he tells us about how he actually witnessed the craziness around/about the music group, back in the days when they were alive and kicking. I had never known that my dad was part of those teeming thousands who had flocked to Rishikesh, in India in 1968, when the legendary quartet had visited to attend Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's ashram. I have as it is always been amazed that so many people had known about Beatles in the India of then (when phones, TV and even radio, were few and far between). But who had known that well, news has always had a way of traveling, and that whenever there are stars, there is paparazzi and fan-following. So, my dad--the young, handsome, non-dad of then, dressed in his bachelorhood and youthful excitement, was one of the so many who had tried to catch a glimpse of the musical genius of that time. He admits that there were a huge number of Hippies, and the zombies who knew who Beatles were but probably didn't know who they themselves were, and then there were the shoeless beggars and the clothes less sadhus and yogis, who were just a regular part of the landscape of the Indian pilgrimage place then, and who surely did not know Beatles, and cared less for them, but who were interested in being in the crowd, just like that. Amongst all these, there he was, just moving as the volume of crowd moved in Rishikesh, everyone being told that the Big four were somewhere there. He stood there, fidgeted, moved, and even when the sun beat on him for a couple of hours, he eventually..... never saw the Beatles. That was it. Just like me today, he never saw the Beatles. But unlike me, he was a part of the making of the mega machine that Beatles were.
It still surprises me sweetly that the sombre dad of mine of today, has untold stories of light triumphs and defeats to share with us still. As they say, the aged are full of wisdom and wit---they may display them sparingly, but they have it all the same.