Thursday, March 26, 2015

28 Years

It still seems like just yesterday. My father used to stand in the balcony of our home facing the Arabian Sea. He loved standing out there, leaning over the railing and think. Sometimes I would stand next to him. As a little girl, I wondered why he was always thinking and about what sorts of things. He was a quiet man and a deep thinker. I understand it now as an adult. Sunrise and sunsets have a special place in my life. Changing colors of the landscape keeps me focused and grounded. In those moments, there is utter silence in mind and around me.

Sun setting behind the Olympic Peninsula

As a person, he liked his space and nature. I imagine growing up in a countryside near farms and river had everything to do with that. He loved growing potted gardens in our small balcony. I can still smell the marigolds, jasmine, roses and the fish fertilizer all just the same! My mother used to get upset when he brought the fish fertilizer home. We did not like the smell either but he used it anyway to make his garden bloom. Birds would make nests in the pots and it would be difficult to water the garden. Every spring we watched the babies learn to fly as if there was a private screening of an episode of National Geographic Channel.

I always thought he and I had a special bond. As I grew older, I learned that he was the only caregiver to my siblings and my mom when she gave birth to me. This was not a very common thing in Indian culture. I feel special just thinking about it. As much as I like to believe he loved me more, that is just not true. My siblings may beg to differ!

Sometimes I think I am very much like him. Growing up, I preferred sitting in our quiet living room,  draw and color while my siblings went out to play. I filled up every blank paper I got my hands on with sketches and rolled it up as my personal collection of art. I still find myself spending hours alone, working on my quilts, perfectly happy and entertained.

He was proud of my art. So much so that he would take my work to show off to anyone who would care. It was embarrassing at times but he did it anyway. No one who entered our home, left without seeing what I had been doing that week. He encouraged me to be the person I was supposed to be. Going to art school wasn't a right move for my future according to many, but he saw me there.

"Sunset" from Cultural Fusion Quilts

My father passed away 28 years ago today. I was 23 and it had been only couple of months since I had left India for this country. I spent many months/years feeling sorry for myself that he did not get to see me grow up. As an adult, a wife, a mother and as an artist, but that's how it was meant to be! 

My book is a tribute to my father. He taught me the most important lessons of life in relatively short time we had together. "Sunset" quilt means a world to me! I almost did not include it in the book just to keep it for myself but at some point during the process of writing I realized, I already have the most amazing, living reminder of him.

  

Exactly eight years later on the day of his passing, Kavita was born! My mother was with me to help with my boys and the new baby. My baby turns 20 today! I am not sure where the years have gone by!


Kavita is a tree-huger, philosopher, artist and writer, bust most of all a deep thinker and she has her thinking bun to prove it! 

I have always missed his presence but I have never been sad on this day since Kavita's birth.
For I have experienced the best sunsets and sunrises in my life. 

An early morning walk on the trail in Redmond, Washington
No matter where I am.

Sujata




22 comments:

  1. What a loving, moving post - so much of your heart... Thank you for grounding me in the process.

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  2. What a beautiful post. How amazing that Kavita was born on that special day in your life.
    Beautiful photos!

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  3. What a lovely, thoughtful post. It is so incredibly hard to lose a parent. He would be very proud of you.

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  4. A most beautiful "Sunset" quilt and meant to be in your book. Your post is beautiful and says so much about the kind of person you are. It's one of the greatest gifts we can get is to look back and see that we were blessed to have had parents that taught us my things along the way that we would appreciate later in life.

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  5. Moving... I like your quilts and I like your genuine pride.

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  6. Very touching comment on the cycle of life. xo

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  7. Don't know where my other comment disappeared! This is such a poignant post and a wonderful tribute to your father! I just bought your book and am anxiously waiting for it to come in the mail.

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  8. What a wonderful tribute to your loving family. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

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  9. What a gift you received and are now passing forward. Such a beautiful story to have read in my blog feed this morning, thank you! I have a daughter of a similar age, and the thinking bun made me laugh, I have seen this before in many guises. I am sure your fathers spirit will live on in the many smiles of your family and the artistry of your quilts.

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  10. Your father was an extraordinary man for sure... I love reading about him and his pride in you and your talents!

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  11. What a beautiful tribute to your father and how special to honor his departure as you celebrate the arrival of Kavita each year.

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  12. So beautifully expressed. I too feel a special bond to my father, who died just over 30 years ago when I was 30. I think my love of the outdoors (sunsets!) came from sharing it with him. No words were needed.

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  13. What a wonderfully written tribute to your father and family. He would've been very proud of you.

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  14. What a lovely tribute to your father and your daughter. Blessings.

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  15. Beautiful- thanks so much for sharing

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  16. How lovely. I'm wondering what Kavita's name means. Surely it is "Gift."

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  17. What a beautiful post. A special tribute to your dear father and how auspicious that Kavita was born on the anniversary of his passing.

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  18. Thank you for your beautiful post. A great start to my morning!

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  19. a lovely tribute to your father. i can see how a special a bond you had with him.

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  20. What a beautiful tribute and memory! Thank you for sharing!

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  21. Oh, this is so touching Sujata. 23 is so young to lose a parent. My father passed away 12 years ago this past Christmas, and I think of him everyday. The hardest part is that he wasn't here to interact with my girls while they were growing up, yet I am convinced that he has watched over them as they grew. How amazing that your beautiful daughter, shares your father's birthday... seems more then a coincidence. Your connection to sunsets is most moving... I vividly remember being in the car with my father, as a young girl, just the two of us, and we were driving into a beautiful sunset. He told me that a sunset was always a beautiful and special thing, but when you could share it with someone you loved, it became even more beautiful and special. I think of him often when I watch the sun set.

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