Happy 59th!

My dearest Ache,

Happy Birthday! This is your second birthday in a row that I have missed but I miss you every single day that I'm away from you. I cherish the fact that I get to listen to your voice on a daily basis and while I may not read each and every forwarded message on WhatsApp that you send me, I do look forward to waking up to at least one message from you every morning. It happens very rarely, but sometimes when you're busy, you don't get to send me that early morning message that helps me wake up feeling calm and reassured. On days like that, I honestly panic because I always expect you to be there for me. I'm a selfish little brat who always needs you, Dad. But that's because I know that I get to be selfish with you. I know that I can sometimes take you for granted and you'll still be there for me. Thank you for everything you've given me in life. Thank you for constantly forcing me to make my own choices. Thank you for supporting those choices wholeheartedly and for making me go out there and discover myself. But most of all, thank you for loving the person I discovered myself to be because I know that this person may not be who you envisioned me to be some day.

I think that's what makes you so different from most parents out there. You were totally comfortable with setting aside your personal hopes, dreams and ambitions for me by letting me become my own person. When I was 5, you hoped that I would become a doctor. That didn't seem very glamorous to me after a while so you let that one go. When I was 10, I told you I'd become a pilot like you and you were very happy with that choice. And then, when I didn't grow tall after the age of 14, we laughed a lot about that fact, and eventually you let that one go too. At 15, I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life anymore so I kept throwing career choices at you. You patiently smiled and nodded at each one of them, reassuring me that I could be whatever or whoever I wanted to be. In my early twenties, I brought a guy a home and told you that he was the one. The only questions you ever asked me were about his heart and his brain. And once you ascertained the fact that I was sure in both my heart and brain that he was the right one for me, you smiled and nodded your approval. At (almost) 25, I'm finally starting to get the hang of it (I think). And when I look back at the place where all this started, I see you cheering me on. And the best thing is, I always knew you'd be there. Never for even a second did I doubt that. It's like that time when for a fancy dress competition, I went as a clock and did the whole "Tick Tock Tick Tock I'm a busy Clock" act and you told me that all I had to do was look to the very back of the auditorium and I'd find you there. You probably said that so that I'd avoid eye contact with the judges but what I took home from that episode was that you'd always be there when my eyes searched for you in a crowd. And it's always been that way. Thank you for that, dad.

Among the many influences you had on me, one of the greatest was that of music. I grew up listening to some of the best classics of all time because you'd always play these songs at home. I wonder if we still have that Abba Gold cassette that we always played in the car. I hope it's still lying around somewhere in the house. So for your birthday, I have compiled a playlist of songs from the 60' through 80's that I know because of you. These are some songs that I still listen to when I'm in the shower or cleaning up around the house because they transport me to a special place close to you. They remind me of you in a way that makes me feel like we're both in the same room, singing along to them together. I hope you feel the same way when you listen to them too!

And I must say, you look more handsome than ever now, Ache! Almost 60 suits you ;)

Your Little Monki

Originally, this playlist was compiled on Spotify but since it's unavailable in India, I had to resort to YouTube. You can find the original Spotify playlist here: