Adi: hello everyone. Thank you all for attending my little sister’s wedding. It really means to the world to us especially Gauri since she pretty much grew up with all of you. Today you may notice that a very important person is missing and that is no other than Gauri’s superhero her dad.
Gauri felt sad hearing this. A daughter’s wedding means everything to her dad. Her dad wasn’t even here to threaten her husband Om that if he dared make her cry, he would kill her.
Adi looked nervous to say the next but Mahir and the trio’s mother Madeeha gave reassuring looks.
Adi: Gauri, dad wanted you to let you know the truth on your wedding day. Remember Gauri, you were only 6 when we told you that dad went to London for a business trip and he would be very busy to call you but he would send letters?
Gauri: haan Adi bhaiya. Kyu? Has daddy came back?
Adi shook his head, tears filling his eyes along with Mahir’s and Madeeha’s.
Adi: he hasn’t Gauri and he will never come back. He did went on a trip….to heaven. He was on his way to the airport till he met up with an accident. He is never coming back Gauri.
She staggered backward, her mind swirling, her breaths shallow until she stepped backwards nearing falling till Om caught her.
Mahir took the mic of Adi and said: that letters was what he wrote earlier just for you and you know something Gauri, till his last breath, he spoke only of you. He wanted us to record his speech on his pyaari se ladli and play it on your wedding day.
He got his laptop out and found the video. A worn out, bandaged Majaaz (the trio’s father) appeared on the big screen. He played it and the room went dark as they heard Majaaz’s voice.
Majaaz: hi Gauri, how are you princess? I know you will never forgive me for not being there on your wedding day…a very important day for both father and daughter. I was all set to threat my future son in law but what to do? Fate is cruel. I often dreamt about your wedding day and imagined filling up with tears as I walked you down the aisle before giving you away. I won’t be able to do that Kelli. Sorry sweetheart. But I will be looking over your shoulder on that day, proud and happy you have found a special someone to love you and care for you. I’m so sorry I will not get to see you grow up as I so want to. Please don’t blame people or the world for this. A lot of life is simply luck and mine is running out. Most dads and daughters have decades to chat around the kitchen table, their hands warmed by mugs of coffee, as the dad dishes out advice and their girls no doubt roll their eyes. We don’t have that time. I won’t be able to pick you up after your first date, hold you when your heart hurts or cheer when you graduate. But while your old dad is still around I thought I’d try to give you some life advice in one go. I hope it gives you some comfort.
Gauri felt like she was about to break down as he continued.
Majaaz: first advice is on my least favourite topic and me and you both know it is boys. You’ll have boyfriends when you’re older – MUCH older hopefully! – and I won’t be here to grill them about their intentions. So here’s some advice from your old man. It’s very hard to describe how it feels to really be in love. You might remember seeing me and your mum laughing together and cuddling on the sofa, and once the love hearts and flowers fade that’s what real love looks like. Have fun finding it. Always choose boys with gentlemanly values, manners and respect. Imagine them having tea and a chat with our family around our table and if you think they’ll fit in, you have found a decent young man.
Madeeha: and you have found a decent man Gauri.
She kisses her forehead and cups Om’s face as they heard Majaaz’s next piece of advice.
Majaaz: You and your mum will argue at times, especially when you’re a teenager. Please remember she adores you and wants the best for you. Give Mummy a hug when she is feeling sad and help each other get through any horrible times when I am gone. When you’re a teenager you might think your friends are right and your mum is wrong. But she has to make hard decisions for you and, more than any friend you’ll ever have, has your interests at heart. Treat her well. Nothing is more important than family and the values they give us. Nothing. I know you can’t stand your brothers since they are way taller and stronger than you as well as annoying. Baby, I know you and Mahir especially don’t get along time to time but I know you both will work things out…hopefully. Just deal with it.
Gauri giggles through her tears after hearing that as she and Mahir still argue 24/7.
Majaaz: and just a few more things because I don’t know how much longer I can hold up. Remember Gauri, you were two when you told me you wanted to be a ‘mermaid fairy princess’ so you could swim in the deep blue ocean with a tail and then fly in the sky to taste the clouds and live in a golden palace. I will agree that you are a princess but that’s in my eyes. I honestly don’t know what your brothers think of you.
Mahir: a monster who stole my love and attention.
Gauri hits his arm and says: Adi Bhaiya, dekhto.
Adi: you both can’t even get along on this day. Mum, why did you decide to have two more children?
Madeeha: because you wanted a sibling and your dad wanted a daughter. Now chup, let your sister listen to this.
Majaaz: You might now realise that’s not possible. But so many things ARE possible for you, darling. Do what makes you happy and that you enjoy. If you do so, life suddenly becomes much, much easier. Always remember your please and thank-yous. The reason Mummy and I drum manners into you is because they will help you throughout your life. Always be courteous, especially to elders. Never put a knife in your mouth. Remember to write thank-you letters for gifts of kindness as it is always nice to act with grace and gratitude. You never laugh at 50%: you always laugh at 100%. Your laugh takes over your whole body and is highly infectious. I hope you never lose that. There is no point in asking you not to be sad when I go. I know you will be, princess. And I wish I could be there to wrap my arms around you and snuggle you until you smile again. Remember the Eeyore teddy I bought you from a charity shop? You said you’d keep him safe and cuddle him when you miss me. That’s a great idea. You can feel sad and use it as a driving force throughout your life. Or you can just be sad. You know which one I hope you choose.
Gauri: I always hugged him daddy since I missed your cuddles.
She cries in Om’s arms and all tried to comfort her,
Majaaz: Remember your life motto Always keep trying. You might remember that I taught you to say “giving up is for losers”. I failed a number of times in my life but never gave up. Never give up Princess.
On a related note, believe in yourself. In life, many people will say you cannot do things. You make up your mind. Can you? Do you want to? Big challenges involve risks so make smart choices. Those who told me I couldn’t do certain things didn’t want me to do them. If you want something, it is nearly always possible, so do your best. I’m sure there’s a hell of a lot you can achieve!
I know you will make me proud and do something great in my memory. I know you can do it – so let’s start now. And finally… Thank you for being you, Gauri. Thank you for paying me the biggest compliment of all time by calling me Daddy. Having you as my daughter is the greatest honour of my life. Thank you for teaching me more about love and happiness than any other person. I love you baby. Never forget that. And Gauri’s future husband, be careful when you hold my girl and if you let a tear escape her eye, her brothers are here to kill you.
The video went blank and the room found light again. Gauri sobbed into Om’s chest unceasingly, hands clutching at his jacket. He held her in silence, rocking him slowly as his tears soaked her chest. A tiny lapse let her pull away, blinking lashes heavy with tears, before she collapsed again, her howls of misery worsening. The pain must have come in waves, minutes of sobbing broken apart by short pauses for recovering breaths, before hurling her back into the outstretched arms of her grief.
Mahir and Adi hugged her tight and then Madeeha hugged her tight, kissing her forehead.
Madeeha: you were always his favourite and will forever be. He loved you more than me, that how deep his love for you was and still is. I know we did wrong to hide the truth from you but he wanted us to since everytime a tear escapes your eyes, it stabs his heart.
She wipes her tears and continued: now rono maat else your brothers….well let’s be fair Adi….will kill your husband since tears are escaping your eyes. Ok?
Gauri nods, hugging her mum one more time. Then Mahir came with a little box labelled: My Gauri in a familiar handwriting. He opened it and took out a small golden heart locket, keeping it on Gauri’s neck.
Mahir: dad brought this for you when you were born. He said that he would give you this locket when you got married. Unfortunately he is not here to give you it but he wanted us to give you it.
Gauri cries more and hugs her family tight. Soon it was time for her vidaai. She grabbed the rice, tears were about to escape when she remembered that any tears of hers stabbed her papa’s heart. She didn’t show but showed sadness on her face. She threw the rice behind her as it landed on her mother’s duapatta. Once she was done, she saw her dad smiling with tears in his eyes. Gauri smiled seeing her father.
Majaaz: I love you princess. Dead or alive, my love for you will never end.
Gauri: I love you too daddy. Your little princess has grown up for the world but for you, I will never grow up.
Just then a smiling Majaaz disappeared and soon Gauri left her home with her husband Om to start a new life.