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May 6, 2005

One day, we were walking by the side of a lake and she said something. That little thing changed my life thereafter. It was the simple truth that was there in my mind all the while but I wouldn’t realize it.

“You see Uncle James…I was thinking about you…your life…Anna. I think you can do something about it.”

“But? …. how? I have tried….but failed always.”

“That was years ago. But there has always been one problem. You couldn’t see the issue from both sides. You assumed that Anna didn’t like you and may be she too thought so. And you created brick after brick…wall after wall in your minds. Let’s look at this in some other way. All the time you had the notion that there’s some way or the other that you could remove all the hassles. But have you talked to your daughter from your heart? Have you looked into her eyes and say how much you love her ……how much you care about her? You know life isn’t all about how you lead…..solving problems…and other stuff…it’s about how you live it. May be you will not be popular or well known for this, but people around you, they know you, they understand you. They care about you…love you. You have done it all…may be you should do something one last time. Remember …there’s always hope.”

I could see it too…like the twilight…like the last ray of sun setting in the west.

I went home…and I saw Anna sitting near the T.V I sat beside her and may be in days for the first time I tried to talk to her. Words were plenty in the dictionary but I could barely remember any that day.

“What happened dad? Is there something you want to say?”

“Ahhh….yeah…yeah. I was wondering what your plans were for the rest of the day.”

“Why? Is everything all right..?”

“Yeah…everything is fine…”

“You know, when your mom was ill, I talked to her few hours before she died and she told me something to tell you.”

“Dad…why are you saying all this?”

“Let me complete…what I had to say.” I could feel my decibel level go beyond my expectation.

“She wanted to tell you,”Anna…I have always known you as a stubborn and adamant girl. But deep down your heart you had always craved for your father. You wanted to spend some time with him. The truth is…he too wanted to. He wanted to spend all the time with you. He loves you…he cares about you, but the only thing is he cannot express it. That’s the strangest thing I have noticed in him. He cannot express his love. He tried telling you all the time. He tried to let his heart burst open…he couldn’t withhold his emotions. Give him one chance…give him one chance…”…”

“Anna….give me one chance…give me one chance.”

I could see Anna smiling from within. She said, “Why are you cooking up a story?”

“I know it’s you who wanted to tell me all this…not mom. Don’t blame yourself for her death. She died happily…with a strong faith and hope that a day like thins would come. One day when my father would walk up to me and look into my eyes and say.” Anna, I love you…I care about you.”

As she said these words…she started crying. I could see the innocence in her eyes, exactly the same as they were when she was born. I had failed to look at the most beautiful thing of my life all this time.

Tears started rolling down my eyes and I stared into the depth of her eyes….her heart. I kissed her on the forehead and hugged her. I remember that was one day when I cried so much that may be I wouldn’t have stopped until pooja turned up. I introduced her to Anna and told her that this has all happened because of pooja. She had told me once about her parents who died in an accident and about the wonderful time she had spent with them and how she got over the shock. She was “the” one who showed the doors of the great gift that God had made for us…HOPE. It never fades….if one door closes, as they say…10 doors open up.

All the time I was wondering if I would ever be able to talk to my daughter. And then I believed in “Hope” and now I had two daughters. Yes, pooja was more like a daughter to me….in fact more than that…she was my teacher, friend….my angel of hope.

And as I pen this incident sitting in heaven sipping the best coffee along with my wife, I wonder what would have happened if I hadn’t gone to park that day when I met pooja….

May be God would have sent her to me through some other way. As they say…there’s always hope…it’s true. There’s always hope. It’s one thing that changed everything…a war…a depression…a life. It changed mine and I have barely any words to express the beauty of hope.

Hope is everything….it’s the very essence of life.

I found mine…..did U????

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