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  9. Happy Father’s Day!

Happy Father’s Day!

I awoke from a deep sleep today—Sunday, June 16—with a sudden urge to call my dad, nearly 10,000 miles away in India, and wish him Happy Father’s Day. A second later, I remembered that he’d passed away almost 15 years ago.

Was he in a “better place,” as everyone assured me he was when he died at age 69 of metastatic prostate cancer? Could I call him there, as I’d done for years after I left India in my early 20s?

As I lay in my bed, his larger-than-life presence felt like it was still with me. I longed to hear his voice, infused with humor, one more time. I had a heart-wrenching moment of regret that I hadn’t called him often enough, even though we used to speak every Sunday.

Father’s Day was not a thing in India when I was growing up. My memories of India from the 1970s and 1980s include celebrating Diwali, Dussehra, etc. But the modern India of today celebrates Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc.

After I moved to the U.S., I made sure to have an extra-lengthy conversation with my dad on Father’s Day. I had appreciated the new-found occasion to celebrate him.

This year, I wondered what I could do to honor his memory. Dad had been a general surgeon at a time when there were hardly any subspecialists in India; he was expected to care for a ruptured appendix one moment, a gangrenous limb the next, and then a young woman with fourth-degree burns inflicted by in-laws furious about her paltry dowry. I remember him chuckling, “I’ve gotten to be the jack of all trades [surgeries] and the master of some!”

I desperately missed his sense of humor—and his writing skill. He used to help me with speaking and writing competitions; we’d peruse snippets from magazines and newspapers and find quotes from famous authors and presidents. English was not our first language, and we would refer often to the dictionary and thesaurus. It used to feel like we were making a giant pot of stew together—putting in a pinch of this and a drop of that until the results were perfect.

We loved writing together. I regretted having not done a single project with him since I’d left India. Had he regretted that loss, too?

I wondered what he’d have wanted for this Father’s Day. Perhaps such a stew? We couldn’t make it together, so I had to write this story alone, while imagining how he might have contributed to it. In addition, I sent a gift to Pulse, becoming a first-time Pulse supporter.

I know my dad—even though he’s in a better place and I’m not, he’d be smiling with joy!

Neeta Nayak
Dallas, Texas


44 thoughts on “Happy Father’s Day!”

  1. Neeta – your lovely n touching tribute to fathers is a testament to your exceptional storytelling skills. Thank you for sharing such an intimate and moving piece.

  2. Bharathi Nallapareddy

    Beautiful tribute to your dad and our dear professor Neeta! You have captured all the emotions of a wonderful relationship and I was able to travel along as I read it!
    Thank you for sharing this on a very special day !

  3. What a beautiful expression of a precious relationship I felt as if I was writing it. Engaging the reader is the best assessment of writing and you have done it beautifully. Writing is also a very nice way of keeping your father alive with you forever. Thank you for sharing

  4. What a beautiful write up Neeta, it’s a great tribute to your father and reminds us not to take things for granted. I’m sure your father is reading the words straight from your heart and is smiling at you ❤️

  5. Sandhya Bhaskar

    Beautiful tribute to your dad!! Reminded me of my dad who passed away at the age of 65. We carry them in our hearts everyday.

  6. Sharlaw Bhargava ( Sheri)

    Dear Neeta
    Lovely words and that brings out the memories for all of us who have lost their precious dads. I always wonder about the time I must have spent more with my dad and miss him everyday in my life! I still long to hear his wise voice and words of wisdom and cherish those memories! Your writing brought out the flood of emotions I so very much cherish. Your dad is living through your beautiful poetry and will always do and so true for all of who miss this precious relationship. Lots of love

  7. So beautifully written. I was crying by the end of the article. It reminded me to live each day as if it is our last and to live in the here and now! Kudos to the author for such heartfelt writing!

  8. Beautifully written and what a tribute to your father Neeta. He lives in you through your outstanding writing skills.

  9. What a beautiful tribute to your Father. He would truly be so proud of this accomplishment. In every moment of reading your article, Dr. Nayak, I felt deeply honored to have the opportunity to connect with such profound memories through your writing. The imagery you painted was so vivid that I found myself transported back in time, as if reliving my own experience of losing my father nearly three years ago. The questions and reflections you shared mirrored my own, evoking a powerful emotional response that brought tears to my eyes. Your ability to capture these universal ‘what if’ moments, regardless of the closeness to the loved one, truly showcases your incredible talent as a writer. I eagerly anticipate the release of your book, knowing that it has the potential to touch as many lives as this article has touched mine. Your words resonated deeply within my heart, and for that, I am grateful to you for sharing your gift with the world.

  10. Pallavi Nandeeshwar

    Dear Dr.Nayak
    You have written with a lot of emotion about your Dad.It is beautiful memories and well written tribute to your dad.Can see where you get your talent from. It is always hard to loose a parent and memories are what keeps them alive.Love your way with words.Memories become more special with your words.Do keep writing and let us enjoy your words. Miss my dad too.I planted a live oak tree in my backyard in his menory . I see it everyday from my breakfast area and revive some happy memory .

  11. Dr Nayak,
    Your poignant write up brought tears to my eyes. You have shared your beautiful relationship with your dad, some traits you’ve picked up from him and nostalgic memories. Continue your writings so he can live vicariously through you.

  12. Dr Nayak,
    You have written such a heart touching, wonderful article. I had tears in my eyes reading your article. My father is my mentor, hero, greatest supporter in my life. I don’t know if anyone can come close to the bond we share with our father. Thank you so much for sharing the wonderful article with us.

  13. Beautiful musings by a Daddy’s girl ! Neeta this took me bac to my dad who i was fortunate to care for and cherish as he had cared for me ! Forvme every day was a fathers day.

  14. Dr Nayak,
    The Fabric you weave with your words are absolutely beautiful. We could all get the taste of Stew so nourishingly created by two great minds. This is indeed a sentiment we all who immigrated and left our parents behind, relate to. But you have a way with words, now we know where it originated from. I am always amazed by your attention to details, your perfect beautiful choice of words that define and describe normal moments of life to make them extra ordinary.
    Thank you for the share.

  15. Dr. Nayak, thank you for sharing this poignant and deeply personal story. Your words beautifully capture the essence of your father and the special bond you shared. It’s clear that he was an extraordinary man who touched many lives with his humor, skill, and dedication.
    The vivid memories you’ve painted bring to life the richness of your relationship and the immense impact he had on you. Your longing to hear his voice and your heartfelt reflections on past conversations speak to the profound love and connection that remains strong even after so many years.
    Honoring his memory through your writing is a beautiful tribute. It’s a way of continuing the legacy of care and compassion that he embodied throughout his life. Your story not only celebrates your father but also serves as a reminder of the enduring power of love and the importance of cherishing our relationships with those we hold dear.
    Thank you for opening your heart and allowing us to share in your memories. Your father’s spirit shines through your words, and his legacy lives on through you.

  16. Dear Nita,

    Beautiful tribute of a daughter to her father. Yes, our fathers – they were from a different generation, but they created us, our creativity and stride, our dreams and ambitions, ability to connect and love, and strength to fight injustice and survive In a Society that is not fair.

    Our fathers remain our strength even today after we left home more than three decades ago. Our fathers come in our dreams with their blessings, our fathers become a protective shell when we are hurting. Our fathers empowered our mothers to create strong women. Our fathers dared us to do the impossible and saw endless possibilities in us.

    Just like you, Nita, I reach out to my father while working, while sleeping, seeking and inspiration and seeking the invisible magic of this world. He helps me connect, he helps me laugh, he helps me dream and he helps me dare! My father was not a surgeon, but he sew his words together to create beautiful poetry. He was a poet, a god’s man and spread positive energy and positive vibes all day long. I miss him just like you miss your dad Nita.

    Lots of love,


  17. Dr Mamatha Guruprasad

    Who needs superheroes when you have a dad around .Their absence definitely creates an irreplaceable
    void in our lives .You have certainly made your dad proud Neetha with this endearing tribute.

  18. Irani Shashikala Ekanayake

    Thank you for this beautiful, heart warming write up, Neeta. The stew is of great flavor, your Dad helped perfect it!
    I burst into tears by the time I started reading the second para. Made me remember all the good times and how much I miss my parents ♥️. No matter how grown up we are, their words of wisdom always add the final ingredient to top the flavor.
    Honoring all Dads, and Moms – those among us, and those in better places. Dads and Moms are the first ones to love us, and their unconditional love lasts, beyond life.
    Thank you for another piece of wonderful, dear Neeta! I’ll be waiting for the next stew to be cooked!
    ~ Shashi

  19. Yet another beautiful write up, Dr Nayak. You have a special relationship with the words. Beautiful relationship.
    Coming from heart, your words touch every heart.
    Fathers and Mothers, both are equally important in our lives.
    Appreciating them daily is my goal.
    These meaningful words made my goal easier today.
    Keep writing, Neeta.
    Love. ❤️

  20. Stew turned out awesome. Such a great reminder to spend more time with my dad and count my blessings. Thanks Neeta for sharing.

  21. Dr. B. M. Jagadeesh

    Father is the best friend and hero for every child. Neetha Nayak had made good attempt and tribute to her father

  22. Gajanan R Shanbhag

    My Father was a Pharmacist
    He used to deliver the RX 1,2,-3-4am by traveling alone regardless of their financial situation.
    I also worked in that pharmacy from 5-17 years age until I went to Medical college.
    When I started my professional career and social life continued the lasting legacy of my father even today
    I do pray daily to the gods grace and blessings to my parents soul.
    For me that’s the everlasting demonstration of love,respect & legacy.
    on Father’s Day!

  23. Beautiful tribute to your dad Neeta.
    Your words are raw, wish we all had more time with our loved ones !

  24. Nice tribute to Dr.KG Nayak sir.
    Fathers have put us all in a better place. Where would we be without them!!

  25. Neeta, lovely tribute to your Dad! The stew turned out perfect- thanks to all the ingredients he has added along the way!! ❤️❤️

  26. Dear Neeta, this is so touching. I hear my father is in a better place too. I miss him being just here. Better or not! I think his memories shared with my children is how I keep his essence here!

    1. Lovely write up Neeta! Father’s are indeed special. I’m glad we all celebrate Father’s day, remembering all the good things & beautiful time spent with our Dad’s.

    2. Beautiful memories of childhood that leave us with a smile on our face, tear in our eyes and heart swelling with pride all at the same time. Well written Father’s day tribute Neeta.

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