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Big Shoes. Small Shoes.




I have been wanting to write many odes. To the homes that have long slipped past away.

That I have longed stopped looking for. I want to write an ode to every person who has made a difference but I just can't seem to find the right words.


But most of all lately, I want to write an ode to Aba.

My father.

To my Aba who isn't afraid to cry a little when he hears the melody of a long forgotten song on the radio that he used to love when he was 17 and did not have any worry lines around his eyes.

To my Aba who taught me what empathy, kindness, art, & running an empire with your soul looks like. To my old man who taught me that no amount of awards on those shelves will bring you happiness instead it will always be the little things - the mundane stuff.


The ordinary Sunday’s weren’t so ordinary after all. They were special but I was in a race to grow up. I have been having this realization lately that how much of my life has been spent trying to grow into my father’s shoes. Despite trying so hard to do the exact opposite.


I guess my father always knew all along that I was born with the widest smile but a broken heart. Also, probably why he tried really hard to ensure that I wasn’t a version of him but I am a version of him. A version of him who just isn’t friends with the emotion called anger. My soul has seen how destructive that can be.


And maybe that’s why it pains me more because the last couple of years my father and I have shared the most turbulent relationship ever. We went from best friends, allies who ganged up against my brothers to two people who couldn’t stand being in the same room as one another. It took a pandemic, some near death experiences, and a year of intensive Theraphy on my end to start nurturing that relationship back to life. I cannot rewind back to the five years of mundane Sunday’s, to the milestones, and to all the moments of collective grief we have missed out on.


But what I have learnt is there is strength in forgiveness because that is when you allow yourself the permission to heal. All these things can be true and at the same time: that our parents loved us, that they loved us in imperfect ways, that they did their best, that they often didn’t know what they were doing, that they didn’t do enough and did more than enough at the same time.

Today, I seem to be growing grey in my hair and continue to outgrow so many versions of myself.

Some too small. Some too big.

However, even today I seem to constantly find myself slipping into my father’s shoes, unconsciously or consciously.


I don’t know.


What I do l know is I have sneaked into these shoes at 2, at 8, at 12, at 16, at 20, at 24.

Even then my feet were too small and my father was larger than life and even today my feet remain small. There is this realization that no matter what, I will always try to fit in those shoes and they will always be big on me. He is a living legacy and I do not know if I can ever make him proud. Or more like we can both can repair the damage done.


Aba, you always said to keep striving with your head bowed down.

I obeyed.

I continue to look to the ground and all I see are a pair of shoes that I will strive to fill, always.


Big shoes. Small shoes.


So, if you have made it this far take a moment to pause. Take a deep breathe. Align your core and remind yourself of a memory that makes your heart giddy. And then maybe give your parent that phone call because believe me while we were too busy growing up they got old and mellow.



Love, light and healing your way.

Until next time,

Shanzay.

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