As a child I always wanted to make adult decisions. I wanted to participate in the affairs of my small family and take decisions which would have far reaching affects for us all. I used to look forward to our regular family meetings. Usually I was never invited to these, I was too young, too disconnected or disinterested. If I was invited it was because I had to be taken to task for bad marks, too many phone calls or neighbours complaining of strange loud music. But this one meeting was different. I was asked to state my view on if I wanted to immigrate to the US. I said no, my sister said no, dad wasn’t sure and mom I think wanted to go. In the end the majority prevailed and we didn’t go. Needless, to say my life would have taken a completely different course had I said yes. Not sure why I said no though.

I had grown up idolising the US. It was to me where everyone went and had a good time. It was the land of free and Levis jeans. It was where my dearest uncle went every year and brought me goodies. As I grew older I realised it was the only country in the world where if you worked hard and played by the rules you could be successful and rise up to the top of your profession. I believed in the american dream. It was a melting pot for cultures and I even loved the accent ! It is with the same earnestness that I have followed the last couple of US presidential campaigns.

However, I am now a little irritated with the campaigns. I am irritated because these campaigns show me a side of the US that I never wanted to see. I never wanted to know more about the voters who elected and re elected Bush junior and who are now determined to elected McCain. The ignorance among the voters is more dangerous than all the nuclear bombs of the world put together.

I am horrified that there is no left in the american political sphere. I am not a leftist by any standards but it is a fact that the left and right are important in any political system to balance each other and to strengthen the centre.  I think in most mature political systems of the world the Democrats would be considered as centre right and Republicans as far right. The only decent candidate in the fray, Obama, is labelled a socialist ! Since when did socialism teach its followers to raise records amount of money in their election campaign ? If this is the state of the world’s oldest democracy and the ‘leader of the free world’ , I have no hope for either democracy or the free world.

I am glad I said no.

Dear Dad,

I have always wanted to write a letter to you. I am not much of a letter writer but I always felt that was the only way I could say the things that I wanted to say to you.

There are so many things I had to say to you.  And yet even if you had lived for 10 more years these would have still remain unsaid. I could never muster up the courage to look in your eye and say what I had to. I always thought that it would be disrespectful to upset  you and that you would feel that I never quite understood your love for me. I never did Dad, although to be fair in the past few years I had begun to understand it. I hope in the years to come I will understand it more.Now that you are gone, everything that I had to say to you sounds very trivial. They probably left me the moment that you left me. All that is left is this need to write you a letter to tell you that I have come to peace with everything.

I am not upset about the fact that when as a kid I asked you for a new bike , you said to me – first deserve and then desire. I didn’t quite understand it then but I thought it was a cool sounding statement, so much so I repeated that to my classmate next day who wanted to copy my assignment. Many years later I realised what it meant and I wondered if I as a kid really needed to be told that again and again.

I am not upset about many more things that I have held against you. I dropped them into the Ganga.

Dad it was always difficult to argue with you. All your opinions and advices were from your own life. You lived your life by your principles and tried to imbibe them in your kids. When I was young I thought you were very stern and hard with me, now I realise that you were only showing us what the real world is like. I see now what you were trying to tell me then. It is still hard for me to imbibe your principles but atleast I have a better understanding of who you are and that’s a start. Its very hard Dad but I am trying. As I grow older I see more and more of you in me. Even though you never sat me down and taught me anything I have inbibed so much just by being close to you.

While I was sure that this was a letter I had to write someday, I am equally sure that I don’t want my child to be groping for words in a vague letter to get his thoughts across to me.

In peace,

deepan