Tuesday, December 23, 2008
The 2 people who made the most impact in my life. The people whom i call wapa and uma. What do i remember about my father? For most of my life, he was a stern sometimes unapproachable father figure. But he was generous to a fault. I remember the time one of his ex-workers came to the house to ask for some money. We only had RM 10 in the house and my father told my mother to give it to him. My mother, being the dutiful wife, just gave it to him. After giving the last RM 10 ringgit in the house, we now were penniless. But one thing we were never short on was love. My father never told anyone of us that he loved us but we felt it and we felt it strongly. Does the sun need to say it is warm? I think the word "love" is sometimes overestimated. He just called my mother "hoi" and sometimes, "kathija" which is a far cry from the words of endearment, like darling and sayang etc that we are used to seeing in movies. Love is built brick by brick on the foundations of sacrifice, of giving selflessly, on qualities of patience, and determination. How do i know this? My father and mother ate dinner only after the children had eaten. They ate the left-overs. My father was very particular that we, the children, should eat properly. He didn't need to tell me that he loved me. I saw it everyday of my life when i ate food.
Now what about my mother? While my father was the brains in the family, my mother was the heart. She was the fighter. She was barely 5 foot 1. What she lacked in height she made up in fighting spirit. She married my father when she was barely 16 years old. She left India and came to then Malaya to marry a man she hardly knew and who was about 20 years her senior. My father was then about 35 years old. While i learnt from my father the habit of thinking through things, from my mother i learnt about working hard and not giving up even when the odds are stacked against you. I miss them.