“Dad wants to Super Zoom with you. Download this link,” read the notification on my computer.
It must be some scam, I thought. But then curiosity got the better of me. I clicked on the link.
I could not believe it when my father’s face appeared on the screen. He had passed away in 1980. There must be some mistake, I thought. But when I saw him and he started speaking, I knew this was no mistake.
“You must be very surprised to see me and for us to be able to talk. This is the latest app.”
“Where are you and how are we able to talk?”
“Sorry, my boy, I can’t discuss that. There are restrictions on what we can talk about. Let us talk about things past and how you are now.”
“Dad, you look just as you did when you were in your fifties!”
“Actually, I can select my age, alter my looks and change the background. This is one of the remarkable features of Super Zoom.”
“You know, Dad, I think of you all the time. I remember so many things about you. You had a great sense of humour. Many of your jokes still circulate among your children and grandchildren. You also had the great ability to laugh at yourself.”
“I see that you love jokes too. As I used to tell you: never take yourself too seriously.”
“I keep thinking that you taught me so many useful things. I learnt from you to do all kinds of repairs and to never look down on manual work. I still remember how you taught me to drive. You were so particular that I should change gears smoothly. You will be happy to know that I now have an automatic car and do not need to change gears as we used to.”
“Sometimes, I watch you drive. I see that you generally follow the rules. But do observe the speed limits, please.”
“Again, long railway journeys with you meant so much to me. You knew all about trains and where the best food could be procured. You would get down at every station to see what food was available and we would stress that you might get left behind!”
“Yes, I miss those train journeys of bygone days. I believe things are very different now.”
“I must ask you this, Dad: Which of your children did you love the most?”
“Even if I knew the answer, I will not be able to tell you. Actually, each of you was different and with each my relationship was special. Most of all, I am so happy to see that my children have bonded so well and remained close to one another even after your mother and I were gone. I am also very proud of my grandchildren and their children and grandchildren. We remain a close-knit family.”
“Do you know, Dad, the Covid crisis has made me think of the horror of dying away from dear ones. I feel really bad that I could not be there when you passed away. I was far away in the United States. Will you ever forgive me?”
“Don’t feel sorry. Just think that you can be near me now, through Super Zoom, even after I have long gone!”
“Looking back, I realise that I never told you how much I loved you and admired you. I have made my own choices in marriage, career and lifestyle but, paradoxically, you remain my role model in every other way. I keep asking myself why I did not express my love and admiration for you in a more open way. I never said those magic words: ‘I love you.’ So let me say it now, ‘I love you so much, Dad, and miss you every single day.’”
“It is lovely to hear that, but of course we loved each other dearly, but rarely put it into words. So, let me also say it now: ‘I love you.’”
“Can we talk again? Maybe next week?”
J. Krishnamurty lives in Geneva. He works on development issues and the history of economics as a profession in pre-Independence India. His most recent publications are on Ambedkar’s educational odyssey and on an employment guarantee for the urban worker.