It’s been ten years to the day, since my father passed away, extremely suddenly. I remember what a shock it was then, and there is still a feeling of disbelief about it. We had spoken just a few days before, and there was no inkling at all that it would be for the last time.

I remember the mad scramble to get an air ticket home as soon as I got the news Daddy had had a stroke. Even then, I assumed we were looking at a long-drawn illness rather than a sudden death. Even before I could get to Heathrow, however, he had already died. I was just too late, too far away, too unable to be there for him.  This cataclysmic event in my life has moulded my thinking, my decisions, over the years that have followed.  

Ten years ago, I could not have known that I would have a son, and that I would name him Manuel Francisco Dias. I do, and what a darling he is!

I did not dream I would ever start a project called Child’s Play India Foundation.

I did not imagine that I would be back in Goa, although I had an idea that I would have to return at some point. 

I did not think there was so much “unfinished business” between Daddy and me. There was so much I needed to ask him, so many family stories, history tales, that he had told us over and over, but that I can’t remember with any degree of certainty today.

Not a day goes by that I do not think about him, that I am not reminded of him in some tangential way or the other, that I do not remember something funny (or not) that he used to say.

Here’s to you, Daddy! The most unforgettable person in my life. So much of who I am, is due to who you were.

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