Remembering Papa - May 6, 2021

One morning in 2001, as I was getting ready for school, I heard a commotion in our community in Bhopal. Lo and behold, my father was right in the middle of it. One Krishnamurthy uncle had took some panga with a taxi driver and the taxi driver brought his friends et al to beat Krishnamurthy up. My papa somehow thought it was the right place for him to, well, interfere. 

For context, papa was 6’2”, weighed about a hundred kilos, and the legend in Holkar college Indore went that on an average, it took him about 2.5 seconds to break that other guy’s jaw. 

But that day was different. As the drama unfolded from our balcony. I saw my father trying to talk things out with these folks. Of course, that didn’t work. After a few seconds, I heard a loud “Happ!”. That’s it. That’s all he said and then there was silence all around. Papa then took Rs. 1000 from his wallet, gave it to the leader of the driver union and asked him to eff off. They did. 

Awestruck, I told papa how proud I was of him for being so fearless. He told me that he wasn’t fearless. In fact, he was very scared of those 20 men — he couldn’t have fought them all at once. But he had to go and save Krishnamurthy. Not for the praise, but because he was a good gentleman and because it was the right thing to do. That’s bravery — embracing your fears and still marching on, because it’s the right thing to do. 

Every person that I have spoken to in the last two weeks has been going through an emotional roller coaster. Everyone is scared, and yet everyone is putting up such a brave fight that would embarrass all of my late father’s heroics. 

We’ll get through this. 

Subhashchandra Sarode would have turned 65 today.



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