S A R I S H A K U R U P
I have recently started collecting old political posters. I saw some at this antique store at the end of Maine Street in Brunswick and was suddenly seized by a desire to have them adorning my dorm room walls. And so now, there they hang above our window: Clinton, W. Bush, Gore, Nader, Romney, H.W. Bush, and Dole. At first I thought my desire to own them stemmed from my interest in the history of politics, and from the fact that Jake Tapper's CNN office is covered in posters of losing candidates. However, as I sat on my couch this morning looking up at them, I realized it was something more--they reminded me of my father.
I have written my deeply personal connection to politics facilitated by my father before. My memories of him are so often linked to political discussions and his political work. As I, in college, become more political everyday, I am reminded of one of the most painful parts of losing someone: all the unanswered questions. There are so many that I have for him now. I want to know what he thought of Communism, of Che Guevara. I want to know what he would think of the pollution problem in New Delhi right now, or of an article I read in Current Affairs Magazine this weekend. I want to know more personal things too. I want to know about his college years, about what he drank, what he smoked, who he loved back then. I want to know what he would have thought of the classes I'm taking this semester, what he would have thought of Bowdoin, of my friends here. I want to know what he would have thought of me interning for a Congressman, or working in the art world, or working as a journalist. What he would think of the job I am interviewing for on Friday. Most of all, I want to know, what would he think of me?
So much of who I am today, the most important parts of my personality, have emerged in the year since he died. So much of who I am today was shaped by his death. I feel as though I truly became a real, defined person after my father's death and thus he will never really know me. It is such a distinct sadness, one that can only emerge after a person has been gone for long enough that things start to change, you start to change, without them. This is my second autumn without my father but I feel a decade older than who I was when he died.
I can only know of what he was able to tell me in 17 years. I can know what he thought of Clinton, W. Bush, Gore, Nader, Romney, H.W. Bush, and Dole, but I cannot know what he would think of me.