It’s been exactly six years since my dad, Pradeep Juta, passed away. One of the first things I did this morning was put on my Aum (known more often as Om) chain. When I was in middle school, my dad went to India for two months on a trip to explore India and do some soul searching. He had many stories to tell from his adventures in India and of course, many photos, and along the way, he picked up some gold Aum pendants- one for me, my brother and my mum. Aum is a symbol in Hinduism that embodies so much, it’s hard to even explain to someone succintly, it’s not very straightforward. But the Aum chain is something I hold near and dear to my heart and when I wear it, I think of my dad because he is an individual who embodied so many amazing qualities and like the Aum chain, is something, in this case someone, who I could go on and on about.
Every year, I write a journal entry about my dad, about my time with him, what I remember, all the good times, also the bad times because like any family, there were some. I write about all the things I wish I could share with him now, like how my path in life has changed so drastically over the years, how I feel so great about my sense of direction in what I’m choosing to study now, I have so many stories from my time in Cape Town and Tanzania, the volunteering I did there, that I wish I could share with him. Even something like music, which I will go into more indepth. I’ve found myself listening to songs and thinking how much he would enjoy them. There are certain things, certain stories that I wish I could tell my dad only because I think he’d be one of the only people who could really understand and relate to where I’m coming from.
What can I say about my dad? So, SO many things. I am a lot like my dad in that I’m a dreamer, someone who wants to get out there and see the world, fulfill their dreams, meet new people, try new things and really just grow as a person. He always told me and my brother Deven to not be afraid to dream and challenge ourselves. He loved travelling. Both my mum and my dad’s love for travelling is one of the reasons why as a child, I had the opportunity to travel quite a bit on family vacations. From our many trips to South Africa and Mexico (one of our fave places) to a road trip one summer across Western Canada, I absolutely loved going away on holiday with my family. I like how we experienced both the leisure, “do nothing” side of a vacation and also the tourist/sightseeing side, whether it be going on a boat or venturing into town. My dad was also the kind of person who would strike up a conversation with the locals and get to know more about where we were.
My dad loved to document our family trips with his camcorder. Sometimes for class, I’d bring in a video to share with the class. My dad would coach me as I stood in front of the camera and said “Hey everyone! Right now I’m in…” My dad also had an interest in photography which soon became a full fledged hobby after he bought a professional Canon film camera. I still have it and am definitely going to buy some film and try it out. My dad was the kind of person who paid close attention to detail. With photography, he had a knack for being able to capture such wonderful moments between people, in nature, wherever he was. I was looking through some photo albums earlier today, some of the photos he took are remarkable.
Growing up, when I was in primary school, we’d do homework early in the morning, math and english lessons, before school. I still have the notebooks. He’d point out the small details of things to remember, things which I’ve continued to keep in mind as I work away on assignments and essays for school. He would help me with written work I had for school. I credit my writing, my ability to write and my love for reading to him. If he hadn’t instilled that in me, I wouldn’t be able to write like I do today. He also loved to read and I credit my love of books and reading to him and my mum.
I take after my dad in so many ways. He was a very creative person, so much of this creativity has carried through into my life. He liked to sketch and draw, a talent that I think stopped at both Deven and I because we’re both a bit hopeless in the art department. But not music, which I’ll write about in my Weekly Windup for this week which is dedicated to my dad. Not only my mum’s, but my dad’s love for music has definitely been passed down to my brother and I; we are so lucky to have been brought up in a musical family. He encouraged me and Deven to pursue music, become involved in the band. I remember when we were younger, how we’d sit around as my dad played the guitar. He had quite the music collection and loved all kinds of music. My brother started playing guitar in his teens and is something he definitely takes from him. Music is something that my brother and I love.
He had a big heart and loved everyone unconditionally, it didn’t matter if you were family or someone he’d just met, he’d strike up a conversation, something he takes after my grandfather and something that I take after both of them. He would always tell the story of when I was born, “I remember how you looked at me, with those big brown eyes.” And I will always be his brown eyed girl.
Love and miss you so much, Dad.