|First picture with Papa Prague 1952|
I just realised this morning, whilst rummaging for pictures to put in this post, that the first picture with my father and the last one were both taken in Prague the city where I saw the light of day. Strange that the last picture with him was taken more than three years prior to his demise, but that was before the days of digital photography and smart phones and taking a picture was a pother for two souls who preferred anonymity. In hindsight though, it seems that the Fates were conspiring to ensure that both these snapshots were taken in the place of my birth. Blessed I guess.
It has been 22 years since he left me on a cold Sunday morning, shattered and alone wondering who would knock at the door I just banged. The truth is I never banged a door since. In that instant the child in me died and a lost and shaky woman was born. She would have to pick up the pieces of her past life and build something that he could be proud of. No mean task. More so when you have no one to show you the way and catch you when your steps falter. How much easier it would be to slink into a hole and shut the world around and I did for far too long! But on a hot summer day in the year 2000 another lost soul would show me the way. I wonder if Papa had anything to do with this life changing encounter.
Last picture with papa Prague 1988
One may wonder how an ungainly beggar can thaw a frozen heart specially in a land where beggars abound and we master the art of making them invisible. But Manu
did. Was it his heart rendering cries or was it the fact that he always was there no matter what time of day I passed by, almost as if he knew of my coming and waited with aching patience for the moment when I would finally look at him with my heart. Or was he simply taming me
, just like the Little Prince tamed the Fox! I do not know. All I know is that one day I did open the eyes of my heart, eyes I had closed shut on that fateful morning 22 years ago to the day when the one who taught me to see everything with my heart left me forlorn and heartbroken. You could not see with a broken heart. Only Manu would be able to mend that heart and teach it to see again.
And he did. He did in a way that would make up for all those years when I barely existed frozen heart and eyes shut tight. I set out to help Manu, something I first believed would be an easy task: a few phone calls an adequate purse! But that was not to be, as helping Manu would entail setting up project why. I did it with my heart and soul as it meant redeeming myself in Papa's eyes and accounting for the years I had lived forsaking what he taught me. Today I can say that I think I am on the way to redemption.
I learnt many lessons at papa's knee; the essence of them all would be that in everything thing you do in life, you must retain the ability to see with your heart. And true to his wisdom, I keep him safe in my heart!