The first time I saw my dad I think I was four years, and he was going to the Gulf for a job. My memory of him is hazy during that time.
Throughout my childhood years I grew up hearing the story from my grandma about his antics at the wedding reception and how what a good for nothing he was.
Maybe I got influenced, but there was no bond between us because I perceived him as someone whom my mom and grandma were not fond of. I don’t know what was my thought process, but I did not find myself very close to him.
Whenever he came down visiting I used to spend some time with him, we used to even write letters to each other when he went abroad but I didn’t miss him maybe because he kept complaining about my mom and her family and how they had wronged him whenever we met.
Later I only looked forward to the gifts he bought me. No child should ever have to go through this bickering between adults because even though they don’t understand it, subconsciously it affects their personality in later years.
When I was ten he had come down for his yearly vacation and I spent time with him since it was my school summer holidays. The one month I spent with him was one which made me realise he was a ne’er-do-well.
We lived like vagabonds, always shuttling from one relative’s house to another. The conversations would always be about how my family had done him wrong. All the adults in the family would tell me to bring my estranged parents together. It was too much to process, and I used to break down, for I did not know how to deal with it. Also, to mention I was biased towards my mom and maternal grandma and could hear no one talking in the negative about them. I kept a journal about all the things I didn’t like and so looked forward going home.
One morning, I remember it was the 30th or 31st May 1989. Now the month of May is muggy and sweltering in Mumbai as we have the monsoon’s approaching in June. I was living with my dad’s sister. Her toddler daughter, the maid, and I went for a mid afternoon walk to the market. It was a crowded working weekday at the market and we were strolling around. I came across a toy shop that interested me and I walked in, the maid and my cousin following behind me. I looked around and found myself asking the shopkeeper for a toy. When I reached forward to take the toy from his hand he pulled me towards him caught my nape and planted a wet, slobbery kiss on my cheeks. When I squirmed to free myself I felt him lowering his tongue to my neck below my ear and biting my neck, simultaneously I felt his hands on my boobs (I was a fat kid, so I always had a bit of breast). The more I squirmed the more he tightly he squeezed my boobs. It all happened in a split second, I don’t know if I screamed or how I managed to free myself, but I remember running and sweating profusely, my neck stinging, my boobs hurting and my heartbeat racing. I was scared.
The maid who was a teenager realised what had happened and told my paternal grandmother.The incident left me with a hickey on my neck and my boobs were bruised. I don’t know if my dad realised what had happened, for he didn’t ask me anything neither did I tell him anything. A few days later he took me back to my mom’s. I didn’t mention a word about this to my mom too I was too embarrassed and scared to talk about it.