My father was a simple man. He loved life and living and he taught us to do the same. He gave me the secret recipe to happiness: it did not matter what you did, he used to say, as long as you gave it your best shot. He taught me never to run away from my duties or responsibilities and to face things as they are.
My father never gave me dancing or singing lessons but he taught me real-life skills like first-aid and driving. When I was struggling with embroidery in school, he told me the only thing I needed to know was to sew a button. When I wanted to make gourmet meals at home he ensured I knew how to make a basic roti so I could feed myself when I was hungry.
My father taught me to dream. And he taught me that anything is possible.
But the most important lesson of all he saved for the last. He taught me to be strong. He battled cancer for over a year. I was all of 21. I never heard him scream in pain or feel sorry for himself. Even as he was dying he would tell us of his plans for his next life when he would get to do all the things he could not do in this!
As I grew into womanhood, my father was the person I missed the most. I never got to speak to him as an adult, discuss plans for my future or toss my ideas at him and have them be thrown back at me. My father knew me first a s a errant child, a difficult teenager and then a rebellious college student, never as an adult or a woman or a mother.
But I like to believe he believed in me.
I have often heard it said that I am strong.
It's only my father's spirit that lives in me.