It was the second week of November 2016. I was introduced to her with her whatsapp number by an acquaintance. I didn’t know her at all. She was just a virtual face for me as many others. I was told that she is a girl who is interested in my webzine and who has interest in writing as well. I added her to my webzine’s whatsapp broadcast and also pinged her by expressing my gratitude for showing interest in Candles Online. She let me know that she loves reading, writes occasionally and also told me her genre of interests in writing. I let her understand the way we function in Candles Online and she captured it instantly. And to my surprise, she submitted her first article within three days of our meeting. Her article was published on 11th November 2016 for the first time on Candles Online. She was delighted as well as all her near and dear ones.
I have a habit of opening up myself to anybody I meet or talk to. I did the same with her yet the progression of my relationship with her was very normal and natural. The major obstacle between us was our age gaps, she was 21 and I was 41 but God used that obstacle as the foundation of our relationship.
As she started writing her articles and kept in touch with me on a regular basis we get to know each other more and more. The more I get to know her the more I get amazed by her personality. Our interactions were casual till that day when she was sounding very distressed and downcast. I am kind of sharp about understanding people’s mind even through chatting. I insisted her to share with me and she shared her problem. I prayed for her and we had talks over the phone couple of times and became closer. She found a confidant in me, as a spiritual father and I find a sweet daughter in her. Her innocent queries about life and other issues fascinated me… made me feel like a father more and more she asked me matters to understand about the life. And I let her understand in simpler way which she can understand. But I found her to be a very matured girl to her age. I get to know her other hidden talents apart from the skill of writing articles and poems. She was a good singer and has a very beautiful voice. We became spiritual father and daughter… But we yet to meet with each other though there was no scope for that in recent future…
God was wonderful. He never allows us to suffer for long. He fulfills it even if its just a small need. He listened to the longing of my heart.
She was looking for a job and with my initiation she could join the school which is under our NGO in the month of February 2017. In the mean time I was held responsible for something and was urgently asked to visit to the place where we have our school. In these months of February and March this year I was going through extreme pressure at work and family. It was a very difficult transition period for me which I was going through. I was asked to go on a tour which I felt was quite burdensome for me when the viscosity of my blood was very high. Usually I give excuses and try to get away from the responsibility stating about my health conditions but I don’t know what happened… this time I was not at all in a mood to take a step back. I prayed to God asking Him to give me strength and got ready. And when I realised that I will be getting an opportunity to meet with her I calmed the storm down within me which has been troubling me for last few days. The trip was not at all a happy trip but I had assurance that God will be with me and He has some amazing plans for me. I was reminded of the psalm in Ps. 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.”
I wanted to give her a surprise so I didn’t inform her that I will be meeting her within three days. I boarded my train and reached the destination. It was early morning. The school was all quiet. I knew she must be in her room in the hostel. I along with my colleagues went to the rooms arranged for us and started to get fresh. It was quite cold at the place where we went than Kolkata and I was searching for blankets to stay warm. There’s a sliding door to the hall where we were staying and I heard it opening…
And there there… A young petite girl walked in with the blankets for us in her hands. We recognized each other right away as we knew our faces very well. A joyful glee formed in both of our faces as I spread my arms wide for her to come in for a hug… She put her one arm around me as I wrapped my arms around her hugging. I felt all my burden, my pain, my sadness vanished in no time. I was not cold any more as the warmth my heart felt at that particular moment was indescribable. She giggled and spoke gently as I released her from hugging… “I knew you will be coming Papa…I heard it yesterday and I was delighted.” The word ‘Papa‘ made me climb cloud nine. I felt like floating in the air. She kept the blankets on our beds and went out to bring the breakfast for us. After sometime she came again with the responsible person who supposed to give us food. She carried the food with her as well. She had that joyful smile bubbling all the time in her beautiful face. I was sitting on the edge of the bed and talking with the in charge of the school and my colleagues when she walked to the bed and sat brushing against me as I put my arms around her. I felt like a proud and happy father of a amazing daughter. There were so many unheard and inexpressible emotions surging out from within us for each other yet we were so unable to express them all at a time in the midst of few other sitting around us. She had classes to take and I had to go out with my colleagues for the purpose we were there. We parted for that time.
That day in the evening I was very tired because of the journey and for the work all day. I came back and slept knowing that she will be busy with with the hostel children. At around 8 PM I woke up with a notification sound. It was her message which read, “Papa…what are you doing…Come down.” I replied back “No… not now as I am very hungry. We will talk after the dinner only.” As every other good and understanding daughter she understood what I was saying and said, “Ok Papa…sure”.
We got the opportunity to talk to each other at peace only after the dinner. I remember all the time I gave only instructions and she listened to me carefully. She had lots to ask her Dad, her Papa… She didn’t loose the opportunity. I tried to clarify as much as I can. But the best part of our meeting was when we both prayed together for sometime. I uttered the words unto the God and she prayed along with me. I could hear her sobbing softly as I was praying for her mentioning her problems and her dilemmas which she shared with me earlier… After the prayer she was looked quite relieved as I was. She danced joyfully saying, “How much I wanted someone like you who can be my friend as well as a guide… And God heard my prayer. He is so great… His plan is amazing.” I was thanking God in my heart for displaying the one of the most beautiful splendour of His creation and it was her and her cheerful face. As we were talking I felt dizzy because of extreme tiredness. My daughter ran to the kitchen and brought a glass of warm water for me to help me feel better. I had a good night sleep that day. It was 2nd of March 2017.
The next day again we had little work in the morning. And I had little work with the in charge of the school then again I got the opportunity to spend the time with my daughter from lunch time till I said a good bye to her at the station. Yeah… she came with us in the vehicle to drop her Papa in the train station. I felt she wanted to say so many things… but we lacked right opportunity to have a heart to heart talk with each other. We had to depart. Parting has always been my biggest enemy. I watched her as she looked back waving her hands while the school vehicle moved away from my sight. She told me the same when I called her from the train… “I saw Papa how you were looking at me waving your hands at me…”
I had few gifts with me for her including the earings my wife bought for her. But she actually I received so much from her which I can’t even weigh its worth ever. I remembered her smile, her laughter that made me so warm. I remembered the way she was sobbing softly when I was praying… The feeling was so divine. I remembered her innocent queries as a little baby asking her father for the clear understanding of the matter difficult for her to understand. I remembered those little good things she did for me by bringing the blankets, foods, water and so on… I admired her attitude of humility which she displayed wholeheartedly in her classroom while teaching the kids, in the staff room while interacting with her colleagues as well as the seniors, in the kitchen while helping the cook, while serving the food. She didn’t let anybody feel that she should not be doing this or that because she is appointed as a teacher. She adorned herself with the character of humility, meekness, gentleness, cheerfulness, compassion, care and utmost diligence.
I remember when I came back to Kolkata. I missed her presence so much. I wept when I was in the bathroom. She literally fills that part of my emptiness in my life… I remember I told my wife once… “You know she fulfills my unfulfilled desire.” And my wife innocently asked “where do you feel that joy? Is it in your heart or in mind…?” I didn’t have the answer for her. But I know she, my daughter was the second best gift from God after my wife and I love her so much. I don’t know whether I can meet her or not in person ever again… I don’t know whether I can ever claim her as my daughter in front of the whole world… But I feel her heart as a father feels her daughter’s tiniest emotions… My heart pains when I see her disturbed and in sorrow… I understand her mind before she utters any words… Yet my heart overflows with joy when I see that thirst for God in her as I had when I was young…. I see that compassion and care for people around her as I have for all… I see her loving confrontation as I usually do with my loved ones… I see myself in her…
I don’t like to give any name here… not because I want to keep it hidden but because I don’t want to let the focus shift away from the purity of our relationship and the feelings of a father for her daughter.
I confess… this was a very happy and satisfying yet extremely emotional write up for me as I end here…