Sunday, June 15, 2014

One for the dad

“You got a dream... You gotta protect it. People can’t do somethin’ themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want somethin’, go get it. Period.”

The day, for some reason, wasn’t going well. My head hurt and my stomach hurt in tandem. So I did something I do almost always do while away time in office. The hallowed words, , and voila, ‘28 incredibly touching photos of fathers seeing their babies for the first time’; by the third photograph I was already weeping silently when I realised I hadn’t called my father to wish him. And so I dialed his number. In the middle of an afternoon siesta, my father mumbled a “thank you” and said he’d call me in the evening. 

If, you’d known me and my father, you would possibly say that I am exactly like him. My mom says that, when I refuse to arrange my wardrobe or help in the kitchen or refuse to budge, when in front of the television. “Tui tor baba’r e mei,” (You are your father’s daughter). Undoubtedly, I was, I mean, I am. 

It has been four years, since the time I have been staying away from home. When my parents were leaving me at my hostel for the first time, my mom, who usually weeps even during daily soaps, was surprisingly calm. And my dad, he broke down, and cried. Instead of comforting him, I too started sobbing hysterically. That continued for about an hour after I reached my room and unpacked. It suddenly dawned on me; I was on my own now. 

When I was in class VI, I told my dad to get me the first book of the Harry Potter series. Since my classmates kept yapping about the novels, I wanted to find out what was the big deal about them anyway. I asked for the first book, my father got me the first three. For someone, who reads anything between two to four books every week, he certainly didn’t want to underplay his excitement at having his daughter, asking for a book for the first time in her life. 

When I was in my third year in college, I remember whining to him, that we haven’t gone for a vacation for the longest time. He called me in my next break saying that we were going to Bhutan, when I came home.
I guess, we look up to our parents in different ways. Truth be told, I always trusted my mom more than my dad, but whenever I needed something, a hug, a packet of sweets, a book to read or even sanitary napkins for that matter, my dad got them for me.

Two months back, my grandmother passed away, and while all my family members used their lacrimal glands endlessly, my father sounded almost calm on phone. I was almost angry on him, for having such a steady voice, especially when he was yet to tell my grandfather that his wife is no more.

And then I remembered, when my maternal grandmother had expired five years back, I had gone so numb, that I couldn’t shed a tear. I mean me, who sobs on seeing puppy videos, had nothing but an overbearing sense of numbness at such an occasion. 

Again, I am copiously indifferent when it comes to things I don’t want to deal with, I can’t blurt out and tell people when they have hurt me and when I do, it almost always doesn’t have a desired result. How, I hope that I could be more volatile, hurl abuses at strangers, be angry at someone and get over with it. But then I am my dad’s daughter, who chases a cockroach out of her room instead of smashing it with her slippers.
Over the last few days, I have frequently wondered did I turn out the way; my parents wanted me to be?  Would I, could I, should I try be more social, more amiable, less of an introvert, stop day-dreaming and be obstinately ambitious?
Well, of course I could.

Then I look at my dad, listlessly sleeping in a local train, with a newspaper on his lap. A man, who didn’t take a promotion all his life, so that he could come back home and rush me tuitions, and when he did give the exam, he managed to top in entire east India. Can you imagine doing THAT at the age of 50?

Hence, more than anything else, my father has taught me one thing – to be a consistent version of myself, to be happy with the person I have turned out to be. To read obsessively, to dream endlessly, stand up for the choices I make, even if it means earning probably a tenth of what I could, with my resume and qualification.
A thank you, would probably be an understatement. For you chasing the school bus when I got late, or skipping office and standing in front of the passport office for two hours, in case I needed something. 

Even though I am 21, your presence makes me feel utterly blessed and believe that angels exist. And so does Santa Claus.

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