Through his tinted glasses

I've mentioned my dad's aviators several times. When not at home, it was rare to see him without his light brown, gold rimmed aviators. He preserved them carefully for decades, and though there were newer aviator styles over the years, he stayed true to his timeless pair of originals.
To me, they were an extension of him, adding to his confident, stylish image on the outside but quite entwined with his personality and moods. If he was serious, they hung a bit lower on his nose, the light tint showing his focused expression as he asked a question or flashed a trace of irritation. When he laughed heartily they rode high up, his eyes crinkling up behind the frames. When his father, my dada, passed away I remember him coming to my room wearing them and sitting down at the edge of the bed, his eyes sad, but never wanting to
show us that side. He made me read him a passage from the Bible, which I did while watching him from the corner of my eye. He listened to it solemnly, but his eyes shone with tears behind the frames. After I finished reading he quietly took the Bible, thanked me for reading to him, and walked out of the room.
I remember him wearing them while running around in the Delhi heat, helping me with college applications and sitting patiently in a classroom while I went through entrance tests and interviews, going back to pick him up from the classroom to find him napping with the aviators sliding down his nose! I remember him wearing them in uniform, fierce and proud in his flying overalls. I remember them under his peaked cap when he used to sometimes drop me to the bus stop when he came to Delhi on work and end up giving a whole bunch of my friends a lift as well. All of us piled inside the car squashing him to one side and his amused expression flickered behind the frames.
I found his aviators in his bedside drawer, and kept them with me, wearing them every now and then. How many moods and memories hide behind those frames. I was always in front of them, an observer from the outside. I miss the eyes and the many moods behind those tinted aviators. But to have this little piece of him means a lot to me. It is a source of some comfort to now be behind those tinted glasses and get to "see" things through his eyes.


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