Dear Pappa:

August 30, 2005 – it has been fifteen years now. While you continue your upward journey and ripples in our inner net still touch and resonate, we miss your physical presence from our time together. The memories always bring a smile on my face. This blog post is a glimpse of what I carry with myself.

Fond Memories

I remember listening to these words at least a few times when I was very young – “Keri Lakate.” I was probably one-two years old, not that I can remember, but I imagine myself sitting on your shoulders and going around the mango trees and maybe picking a mango or two. Humor was, of course, me saying “Keri Lakate” instead of “Keri Latake.”

I have a very vivid picture in my mind of our cycle with a small front seat. I used to sit on that, and we would go places, riding with the continuous harmony of your feet moving the pedals. I used to think I was flying in the sky. I also remember mummy sitting on the back carrier a few times.

Rupal joined us when I was eight.

I remember you playing volleyball every evening behind our home in New-C in Khetiwadi, and running to home after that. Playing badminton with you was always fun. I was very proud to have the best cycle in the Sardar Patel School – it was a red color Raleigh Arjun. I think I used it for seven-eight years and never lost the fun in it. I was happy to always have Rajat notebooks to write in – those notebooks used to have a logo of a young child writing in a notebook on his lap.

The most priceless of all was a sparkle in your eyes that brought so much excitement and energy in everything I used to do. You always gave me that supporting nudge to explore new things. I remember getting roller skates after seeing a couple of Dairy Science students having fun with it. Learning and doing it in the long curved lobby of the Agriculture college was so much fun. Skating has continued with me till today.

I think you were an incredible storyteller and had a way to let the lightness of your outlook permeate and make everyone else feel welcome. Going to Anand to see a movie every month or so was a high light for me; the most exciting part was listening to your version of the story from it after reaching home.

I remember the pride in your eyes when we bought Luna for me, and I drove it home even if I had never driven anything other than cycle.

We used to go to Godhra and Bharuch every vacation, connecting with the family. Everyone enjoyed your humor so much, especially how you would pop it in routine conversations.

I could go on forever.

All experiences and stories created and made my world, which is still a core of what I am today.

Pappa, we used to go to Godhra during Diwali, and many other times.

Rajubhai shared this picture last year on my birthday; he told me that is Sweta in my lap. When I saw the picture, and it had a very calming, soothing, healing effect on me.

The memories from Godhra always bring up this question for me – what is the most important thing in my life? Simplify and focus on that. The rest takes care of itself. It encourages me to tap into my inner abundance, drive, compassion and care.

I remember that for a couple of instances when you couldn’t say “Avjo” while returning to Anand. A tear would well up from the corner of eye; emotions would seize the moment. I was probably eight-ten years old at that time. It makes me realize now, childhood plays such a pivotal role in life. The experience, the stories make up your “home” that you carry with yourself no matter where you go. That heritage is more priceless than anything else.

Our Family Has Quite a Story

I know you probably saw your home burning to ashes in the 1947 communal riots in Godhra. With that, not just the family home, but also the business shop and all other properties got destroyed.

The experience and struggle family went through probably left a lasting imprint on you. At the same time, the support from the entire family, and all brothers helping each other weaved a strong fabric of mutual support and warmth that stands even now.

It is quite a lesson learned for me to focus on positives, have faith, keep it all always under a big picture perspective, and do what I can to take the next step whatever that might be.

Dadaji used to mention it so many times – “My Pravin worked in our family grain shop for four years after matric [the high school]. He went to college after that.” I remember your account on how you were four years older than the most in your class, and not many people even realized while completing the B. Sc. at the Agriculture College.

You started as demonstrator there after that. Mummy started doing her B. Ed. with a few brief stints with temporary work at schools in Vadod, Napad, etc. That is how it began.

You continued education while being the college. Mummy to Vidyanagar to get her B. Ed. Degree. She also did her M. Ed. and then found a job in the M. B. Patel Education College in Vidyanagar. Eventually, you both got your Ph. D. degrees.

I know when I was slightly older than two years, I stayed in Godhra for six months. I vaguely remember sitting in the class with Timish before I made it to the primary school.

When I started understanding more, Mummy used to commute to Vidyanagar for her job, and you would go to the college on campus. I used to enjoy your conversations on research on fruit crops, particularly mango trees.

We used to get cheese and ice cream from the Dairy Science College when they would make it in their curriculum. There was an eclectic range of fruits and vegetables from the campus farms and home garden.

Looking back, I never heard the words “I am tired,” or “I am frustrated,” or “This is too much,” or anything like that. We always had reasons and stories to laugh, to have fun, to be happy. The challenges became opportunities to grow and develop, and those, in turn, weaved in a strong fabric for discipline and value system.

There was calmness, blissfulness, a very relaxed outlook, lightheartedness, and openness not just with the physical expanse of the campus, but also the freedom to explore and focus on what matters the most growing up in the Khetiwadi campus. It paved the way to grow, expand, and develop.

Our move to Vidyanagar provided an opportunity to expand further. Rupal did her most of the schooling and college there; I went to colleges in Vidyanagar. We developed so many friendships that are for a lifetime.

Home

Pappa, we always had that dream to build a home. While it had to be delayed a little bit to finance my education in the U.S., you and mummy finally did it. Rikeshbhai helped with structural and engineering aspects and his knowledge and network with contractors. Rupal, of course, took a very active interest, being there at the time. Of all things, I think the front area of the home has your personality and temperament all over it. So many things – open space with swing, elevated landscape area in the front and thinking with direction to get nice wind,  a welcoming outlook to the entry – are so you. Everyone that comes to our home in Vidyanagar wants to sit in the front area. 😊

Retirement

It was fun seeing you enjoy retirement. I remember you learned harmonium and swimming, cultivated a beautiful garden, and were so active socially. There was a lightness of your warm outlook, unbelievable amount of energy – I think it gave you that youthful exuberance and enthusiasm even in the retirement time.

As we went to the U.S. to pursue further education and career, we took our heritage, our blessings, and “our home” with us. 👣

My Inspiration

I used to enjoy sharing experiences and stories with you over letters and phone calls. So many times, I would bounce ideas off you to see how you would think about it.

The two priceless gifts I am blessed with are self-awareness and my ability to think – they help me take a step back and renew perspective to look at any situation or a challenge or a change.

 

Pappa, you inspire me to:

  • Always find reasons to smile.
  • Extend and reach out to others. Be willing to help.
  • Take care of small details; they matter. If there is dust on the floor, I remember how you would simply pick up the broom and clean it up with saying a word.
  • Keep things organized.
  • Learn new ideas.
  • Be open to different perspectives and angles. Respect the opinion of others in that way.
  • Take time to understand others. Cultivate empathy to relate to others in a meaningful way. Have patience.
  • Enjoy gardening. Even if I am not doing much, I still love it and might pick it up a little bit more going forward.
  • Always think of what matters the most, and prioritize, focus on that.
  • Enjoy small conversations, fun exchanges with all kinds of people.
  • Be kind to others. Have compassion towards all living beings.
  • Tap into my inner resources, believe in myself, and always have faith (shraddha).
  • Enjoy life.

 

It is always a moving target and a process for me. However, the inspiration resurfaces for me every so often and resets my bearings. 🤗

Dear Pappa:

I know that I am Atma. So, you are. So, all are. We hold that collective space together in our inner net. We all are one in that spacious awareness.

The ripples, the energy, the love, the care from you give us strength and support. You make a big difference even today. I hope, wish, and pray for all the positive vibrations, the abundance of love, harmony, serenity, the resonance of healing, the warmth of nurturing energy, and the infusion of synergies to you.

May our ripples of love touch and resonate to open ourselves up to that channel from inside where there is eternal peace, bliss, and stillness.

With smiles, gratitude, warm regards, and all good things,

Deven 🙂 🙏

 


13 Responses

  1. Avatar
    Hasuben Pravinchandra Shah
    | Reply

    This is a unique excellent tribute to Pappa. Deven you remember many minute things of childhood. In a way this is a story of Manilal Shamaldas Shah family. I am proud to be a part this family. PRAHAR is our dream. Deven your inspiring observations and writings are very touching. I’m witness of all your expressions.No more words…

    With best regards and blessings,
    Mummy

  2. Avatar
    Raju Shah
    | Reply

    Deven,
    You have reminded me a long & glorious journey. Growing up in family with Pravinkaka & many other stalwarts ( Manilaldada, Chandanba, Sudhakaki to name a few)is a real privilege. They have definitely shaped my & many other members’ lives in a great way. More than that they have contributed a wonderful sense of unity & love to keep the family together & achieve many things. Looking at where we were in that “all conditioned” iron sheet home at Godhra & where we all are today is a living proof of all inspiration, perseverance & effort we all have put in. Pravinkaka was one of the pillars of the family. May his soul continue to shower blessing for all of us.

  3. Avatar
    Hiren Vakil
    | Reply

    Wonderfully written – lots of recollections – very touching – Pravinkaka was a simple & straightforward person – extremely loving & affectionate – me & my entire family have spent some memorable time with him.

    May his soul rest in eternal peace – Om Shanti!! 🙏🕉️🙏

    • Deven
      Deven
      | Reply

      Thank you, Hiren!

      • Avatar
        Sefali Vyas
        | Reply

        Deven,

        This is a wonderful way to invoke all the fun times and memories with Pravinkaka. We spent lots of time with Pravinkaka at Kethiwadi and D quarters house. He was a very simple person and always meticulous about everything he did.

        Om Shanti 🙏

  4. Avatar
    Yash Shah
    | Reply

    Mr. Deven Shah,

    The story of Pravindada with you and of course with your family is inspirational and i can feel your emotional connection with that. When we moved to Vidyanagar, Dada and Hasubaa were my neighbors. I remembered baa moved to USA with you after dada’s death. After baa came back to Indian, I heard many things about him, he was a man with a huge horizon of knowledge over many things and had a personality with many skills.
    About all the words I heard of him from baa, I must say that “HE WAS A MAN OF SUGAR IN THE WORLD AND ANTS”

    • Deven
      Deven
      | Reply

      Thank you, Yash!

  5. Avatar
    Rupal Shah
    | Reply

    Dear Bhai,

    As Mummy said, such a great way to honor Dear Pappa and our entire family! If Pappa was here today, he would be so proud of you reading this. It brought back so many memories for me – growing up in Khetivadi, moving to Vidyanagar, you coming to USA, building our home, me coming to USA, you buying our “home” in USA for the 1st time, me going to college (where you and Bhabhi used to come to campus to drop me off/pick me up), Pappa-Mummy coming to USA, … I remember Pappa saying “mara chokra e America dekhadyu” at the LA airport upon their arrival.

    You have been a pillar in my life. My role model. You have taught me many many things in life – learning to ride a bike to programming in C to how to live life and cherish memories! I used to eagerly wait for your long letters on experiences in US and Pappa/Mummy/I used to read them over and over again. We have had our share of fighting too 🙂 – seeing Satva and Rajvi do that brings back fun memories. Satva asks me from time to time “Mamma, did Mama have to tolerate “blah” from you?” 🙂

    Front of our home is so serene. I can sit there for hours not doing anything. You are right, it has Pappa written all over it. Pappa once told me as we were sitting on the swing that he wishes he had bought that motorcycle you wanted in BVM. He was really afraid something might happen to you by riding it – it was out of fear that he made the decision. He could never fix it but the reason why he got me the Kinetic (I also used to be lot more persuading than you when I wanted something 🙂)

    Miss Pappa so much. Pray for all great things for him wherever he is 🙏💖. Hope to live up to values instilled by Pappa and Mummy.

    With love and gratitude,
    Rupal

  6. Avatar
    Jay
    | Reply

    Dear Deven
    Well penned, once again.
    My vandan to uncle. 🙏
    You are a good story teller… I was walking with you your memory lane! No, actually you made me walk through your memory lane!
    Wishing you the Best of All
    Best
    Jay

  7. Avatar
    Bhasker Patel
    | Reply

    Hi Deven,

    This is truly a beautiful tribute to your dad. This helped me traceback my own memories of my father. Writing about these experiences and memories and living the ideals our parents taught us is really the best way to honor them.

    Reading this made me feel like I know so little about you.

    Though words add a lot of details, the pictures bring it all together.

    Thanks for sharing! Take care.

    Bhasker

  8. Avatar
    Dr. Dipti Shah
    | Reply

    Dear Devenbhai,

    First of all I appreciate your writing skill as it is always not easy to write down your emotions in words but you did it.

    Your blog reminded me of my childhood memories too.
    How we used to visit your home in Khetiwadi in summer vacation, played indoor and outdoor games and spent carefree time. Sometimes we all gathered at Bharuch and had fun.

    Pravinmasa was a person who liked everything organized. He didn’t like dust at any place in your home. I remember him going around in the house with a napkin on his shoulder.
    I remember that when he told us regarding any event, he always narrated it with minute details like when we reached, how we reached and then what happened etc.. At the same time he was a very good listener too. He was always calm, light hearted and optimistic.

    Your blog is an excellent tribute to him.
    May his soul rest in eternal peace

    With regards.
    Dipti

  9. Avatar
    Upesh Shah
    | Reply

    Great tribute.. It has taken us in our early days of life & all the pictures has passed just like reel..
    Realized that time flies….. 15 + years & still feels it is just recent past…🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻
    I remember, when we lost our Father Pravinkaka has taken over full responsibility of the family & has provided us fatherly guidance, same way he has taken up responsibility when we again lost Nilangkaka at very early age of him. Pravinkaka’s dedication for whole family is unforgettable.
    It was our unfortunate that he felt seek, & was very much disturbed & disappointed with his sickness, has never allow any of us to feel about. Kaka’s willpower was so strong, I had expert during his last days. It was like that, almost he has decided for his heavenly journey, & decided to stop taking food & water completely & has declared it to Hasukaki, (lt was like taking SANTHARA), Hasukaki was so disturbed with his decision, that I & Motabhai had been there with him to change his decision, but he has refused & with his hand folded, has literally urged us not to force him for food & water…..
    The extreme was, at Hospital – under unconsciousness he was refusing food, water etc.. L mean his willpower was so strong that even unconscious situation he was cautious about his PACHKHAN..
    As we lost our father at very early age, couldn’t get much chance to get advise for career path from our father, but Pravinkaka has never allowed us to feel his absance & at every stage of life, has supported & guided us carving our career path
    Pravinkaka was a great personality,
    Rikesh…

  10. Avatar
    Nisha Shah
    | Reply

    Dear Devenkaka,

    Beautifully written tribute to Pravinkaka! I have so many fond memories of kaka and kaki’s visits to Baroda and also my visits to Vidyanagar, Kaka’s endless stories and how he could keep us all engaged with this “Ho ke”, “Ane pachi” and his enthusiasm. Can’t believe it’s been 15 years since he left us.

    Loved the part where you wrote about never hearing “I am tired” or “I am frustrated”, this gives me an inspiration to be a parent who can always show a light to a child instead of surfacing the struggles and teach them to always fight with a smile on their faces.

    Thank you for writing the blog post and sharing with us all.

    – Nisha

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