Messages From My Dad is a cut paper installation commissioned by VR Bengaluru as part of their Father’s Day celebrations and will be on view on the 16th and 17th of June, 2018. I am enlarging letters and cutting out messages my father sent to me in 2016, one year before he passed away.
My father, J Nagaraja Rao, was born in a farming village just outside Bangalore two years after India’s independence. The family was large, he was the second of five brothers and he had fond memories of wandering the countryside on a bicycle. As a teenager, he moved to Bangalore to study and then went on to support his four younger brothers in completing theirs because he believed that education was their only ticket out the restricted existence.
Dad was a man of the silent generation. He wasn’t one for sentiment. He wasn’t much of a hugger. But he could be warm and generous when he wanted. A Company Secretary, he spent a big part of his busy, long 42-year career working for a large government textile corporation, traveling to conduct audits at textile mills all over India.
So what do I do on a Father’s Day without my father? I remember his life and decided to honor not just his memory but also an ideal. For fatherhood is more than a category of relation, it is a description of a collection of virtues – Someone who is loving, who is forgiving, who is guiding, who protects us and frees us to be our best selves, who helps equip us to pursue a happy life of our own.
Happy Father’s Day!
I will also have a Creation Station at VR Bengaluru on the 16th and 17th June where little kids can come and make something special for their dad.
I really look forward to seeing you there.