By Anupama Varma | Opening Doorz Editorial | November 10, 2016
Today marks the third death Anniversary of Air Marshal Prabhat Kumar Varma, fondly called Joe Varma in the flying circuit, who served our nation for 40 years and fought two major wars for our country. He was a highly decorated officer, a Gallantry Award winner, a gentleman and more importantly, a doting father.
OPENING DOORZ prods Anupama Varma to open her heart, and what flows out is a tribute to her Papa, a Letting Go process…
Today is yet another beautiful day when I open my eyes with thoughts of you, and I smile. You are near me [when I am afraid] besides me [whenever I need you] above me [guiding me at all times] and with me every step of the way. Knowing this, I am ready to take on each day with all its challenges.
I remember you my dashing father, so super-intelligent, hard-working, drop-dead handsome and a fabulous dancer! No wonder you swept Mom off her feet. You were dependable, fun, with a heart of gold, ready with a helping hand for everyone and that special soft place in your heart towards the poor. They don’t make them like you anymore!
I am still struggling to find someone a little bit like you. Everyone called you a dynamic personality but for me, you were still my ‘cuddly dad’.
Since the time I was little, you made me believe I was no less than a boy but at the same time you protected the delicate little girl in me. You encouraged me in every field—academics, sports, extra-curricular activities, hobbies, trekking, dance, music, the list goes on… And this continued through life. There was absolutely nothing I wanted to do that you didn’t encourage me; except when Mom stopped you from letting me join karate and horse-riding classes because she thought you were making me into a total tomboy! I remember the expression on your face that day. Ha ha ha ha.
I grew up shy and a little in my shell because you kept me like cotton wool—but you repeatedly kept making me believe in myself and that’s why I am what I am today. You were my cheering squad, whether it was at the school sports day, in my professional career while facing the camera, or life in general. This is the first time I am penning down my thoughts to you Papa, so above all, I want to tell you how proud I am of you.
Proud of that 15-year-old boy who ran away from home to join the Indian Air Force (IAF) because all he wanted to do in his life was to fly fighter planes, which he did and went ahead to become the Deputy Chief of the Indian Air force. An Air Marshal who fought two major wars for the country, a decorated Gallantry Award winner with a Vayusena Medal (VM), Ati Vashisht Seva Medal (AVSM) and a Param Vashisht Seva Medal (PVSM) presented by the President of India.
Now you know why I salute you, my Officer!
On a lighter note Papa, I reminisce my childhood. Your sense of humour was in-born, always pulling pranks on us and making us laugh with your simplicity and childlike ways. It took just an ice-cream to make you happy. I vividly remember the car travels, our holidays in the hill stations, our birthdays which you always made so special right till I was an adult.
I still want to be your baby Papa, forever and always…
No one calls me ten times a day now to ask if I am OK and happy. No one reminds me to stay slim and fit, not to eat too many chocolates, to sleep on time… I look after all my paperwork myself now and yours too, Papa.
There was only one thing you didn’t like about me. Remember you always asked me why I never stood up when I was right and instead chose the timid and easy way out? You will be happy to know I have become ‘You’. I now stand up for everything that is right and I raise my voice against anything unfair and unjust—not only for myself but for everyone. All your sisters say I have become quite a replica of you and you know what Papa? I love that!
The values you drilled in me are intact, those principles will go far with me. I will continue to do you proud and everytime I see that bright shining star in the sky, I know you are smiling at me.
Today marks three years since your physical presence is not with us, but you and I know we are together. I continue to celebrate your birthday and wish you at the dot of midnight. I eat your share of the cake too. But what I really miss is my share of hugs from you… If only…
With all my love,
Your loving daughter who is ever so proud and blessed to be born to you!