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A son's ode to his father: Shri Madan Mohan Singhal

Our father. What can I say about him. His biggest quality, he was a fighter. Even when covid destroyed 100% of his lungs, he kept fighting for a month. The doctors were amazed at how he managed to keep death at bay for so long.

Papa had to fight. He became head of his family when he was barely 12 and was the single bread earning member of the family at that age. He would make sure his brother and he got the education that was needed for them to succeed with the blessings of our grandma.

From doing tuitions for kids of his own age to doing munimi for a Seth and finally starting as a clerk at a Bank, he managed to retire at a very senior position in the Bank. He worked non stop for so many years, it finally took a toll on his immunity.

My father had a big influence on me. He was my best friend, my first drink buddy, my biggest teacher, a tough task master but above all he was a gentle and loving human being who had principles that he would never compromise with.

Growing up, I always complained that my father loved me less than my brothers because they were more successful in life and my father would always tell me that when I become father of more than 1 child, I would realise what exactly was going through in his head. You do worry more about the vulnerable as a father and that's what he did.

I remember once growing up, I sneaked out a tennis ball from a friend's house because I felt my father would never buy it as it would not fit his budget. My father took me to my friend's house, made me publicly apologise to him and didn't talk to me for one week. That moment made me realise the value of integrity in life. But then, Papa had other plans as well, at the end of the month, he got me entire set of balls saying your father isn't as poor as you think, he just has to manage finances for a large family.

When I was crossing the teen age and getting into the normal rebel kind of a boy so many turn up to be, my father had a straight chat with me. He told me that "look son, I know I have no way of controlling what you do behind my back but trust me, I have seen more life than you and all I want from you is a promise of no cigarette and no drugs. And if you do that, I will be sharing a drink with you the day you turn 21". Somehow I accepted that and lo and behold, on my 21st, he was ready with a fine whiskey and 2 glasses.

I never had to lie to my father. He was my go to man. Whether it was trouble in my studies, my work, office politics or even issues with my love life, I would discuss it all with my father and he would always have a solution for me. That solution is now gone. Perhaps that's Papa's way of saying that I need to grow up now and become stronger.

Papa, you have raised us with a value system and I make a promise to you. Your grand kids will grow up with same value system and don't you worry about Mom. She is as tough as you, perhaps even tougher and we all will make sure, she always gets all the support. We will never be able to fill your gap but we will try. Rest in peace in heaven Papa and keep blessing us. I have poured my heart in this impromptu post but then you know that is who I am. Love you Papa. Today and forever.

A tribute by son Anuj Singhal; sourced via Facebook, Twitter

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