Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Ode to my Father...The Goldsmith.

Thaipusam has just came and went two days ago, I did not make it this year so have no idea what went. Some say a record attendance and grand celebration for the Hindus as they came all over the northern part of the Peninsular of the country. What is Thaipusam? I have tried many times in the past posting this subject, google it. What comes to my mind every time I think of Thaipusam, I think of my father perhaps because he once told me he created the one foot tall solid gold figurine of the Deity, Murugaya that is being charrioted from its home temple to the temple in the foot hills of the Penang Hill, about seven or eight miles away. This Deity is the one in whose name the act of carrying the Kavadi is performed.

Often times I feel I am doing just that my entire life, carrying a load on my back with barbs piercing the skin of my back and with lemons hanging hooked to my chest, I am walking this journey for the past seventy years. This is an act of self mortification as a show of gratitude towards the one who has fulfilled your request and your prayers- the Deity. It has become a religious question  such an in my mind as to the right and wrongs of my father to have created such an image that is worshiped by  thousands who came annually to commemorate this event. I have tried all kinds of justification to persuade myself that even if my father was converted to Islam, perhaps he created this sculpture in solid gold before he was married and
converted to Islam. However  the fact remains and I am the one bearing this cross on my back, my mind has had me by the baLLS FOR A VERY LONG TIME! It is no more. I choose to move on and accept what lies ahead. I am proud to know this fact in my life that my father perhaps shared only with me not to others of my siblings. It is an honor my awareness of the matter added more fuel towards my journey in looking for answers for myself.
My father was also a Golden Glove Champion for the State at one time in his younger days and old black and white photo I once saw of him posing, my father had a fighter's figure. He would point out to me the broken skin under his chin that he carried a reminder. My father's hand crafted jewelries can be found in the Royal house of Terengganu, He crafted all manners of jewelries from diamond studded rings, to chains with diamond studded pendants. I used to observe him at work in the kitchen of our home cursing and swearing in Singhalese,often sitting flat on the concrete floor and working his heart out , perhaps creating the last of its kind, a piece handcrafted in the traditional way of the Sri Lankans.

At the age of fourteen, while doing some stretching in the house my father walked by and uttered, "You must practice Yoga." If anything worthwhile that came out of my father's mouth, this passing advice set my heart on fire, like what is Yoga? So I read and I practice on my own, never had a teacher.  Now after having arrived at about his age when he said this to me, I am beginning to understand Yoga, not Patanjali's nor Iyangar, not Osho's or Mooji's, Nor Sat Guru Jagdev. just my own self developed and evolved set of physical,  mental and spiritual discipline; my father, thanks to him, a door was opened and I stepped in, I entered this wisdom school of the ancients through it back door,  the Science of Yogic Tradition. Off course at fourteen I was not thinking about it all like I am now, I think too much as I get get older; this I learn is the paradox of when you practice a discipline with effort and intention attached to it. I learn the more you make and effort the harder for you to achieve your goal successfully,; I developed a Yoga of seeking to create a balance and true alignment of the body, mind and spirit. A Yoga that can help to keep the energy fire of the kundalini burning continually throughout the body, a Yoga that can help me transcend all forms of ignorance and heal a splintered soul. I found my own form of Yoga and I write about it for those who enjoy reading my Blog.

 My father saved myself from taking my own life and this happened sometime in spring 1979 while I was living and going to college in Green Bay, Wisconsin. I was in the kitchen with a Whiskey bottle in my hand and a kitchen knife in the other, the house belonged to my close friend, Fran Wilson, and he was going through a divorce and let me use the house upon my return from my long trip driving to the South West States of New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, living out of a 1965, Chevy Impala a gift from my girlfriend then at the price of two dollars for paper works purposes. As I set on the footsteps of Fran's house, it was the first time I looked at the car, sadly in a battered state. I had learned upon return too that my ex-wife was moving to Germany with my son and the chances of my seeing him would be nil. I had no money and no where to stay, my future was bleak; I decided to end it all there and then.

Out of desperation I gave myself in to one last call for help, time to reach out for someone I can listen to and trust. I called my eldest brother in Malaysia for the first time in seven years since I left the country and the phone rang! A girl answered and told me that my eldest was not home and I swore, "Shit!" under my breath into the phone and this Malay girl, brother's house maid, said, "What's the matter with you? Why can't you talk to your father, he is here?" When my father came on the line he sounded like he was in Fran's living room with me, talking. I told him my sob stories and how it had led to that point where I was loosing it. All he did was laugh and while laughing he said. " What's all this fuss la! It's my karma and it's your karma, and it is your son's, I live my Karma, you do yours and he will do his. do your best, go on la!" In the tone and manner spoke his broken half English and half Malay with a touch of sincerity cloaked in humor, my father reached out to me with such gentleness that I drove myself to the University and threw myself at the mercy of two Rich Thai cousins, foreign students in whose apartment I crashed.

As i leaned against the wall facing the living room I watched all my aches and pains, my pain body, a few feet away from me. Like it stepped of of my body and just being painful an suffering out there. I was just watching and I felt very light,and weightless and I fell asleep on the living room floor of my Thai friends, my journey to the South West States of New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado came to end and next was to send in my assignments. to the various faculty members, the journey to the South West was a course assignment through the University without Walls, program of the Univ. Wis. Madison and I was chosen as one of the pioneer participants as they accepted my proposal. 

Yes Pops, I know we never really sit and talk but when we did it was worth all while in the world. My first move after I have rested was to write to my father and so I sat at a Pamperin Park, bench located in Duck Creek and wrote to my father. I showed it to my friend Mrs. Cheryl Clark, a secretary at the International Students Office and she asked to make a copy of it as she like it and later my letter was  floating around campus offices; I don't think my father ever got the letter himself. I received the news that my father passed away while I living in San Francisco, it was ten days after he was gone that I got the news. I read it while sitting in a restaurant and as I finished reading I accidentally spilled a cup of coffee all over the table my sketch book and myself. I still have the letter stuck to my coffee stained sketchbook page. 

Good Bye Dad, I Love You!

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