When Gauri openly invited people to write a tribute for fathers, I was like on a trip. I mentally started composing a poem in my head for dad, I wrote and I rewrote but was not entirely satisfied ( of course this is all in my head okay)! And then I got busy and the next day again before I started my day I reprimanded myself for not completing the poem.
Another day passed in this manner until that fateful afternoon when on my way back home( it’s a pleasant 30 minute walk from work) I tripped and fell, yes, I am the world’s top class klutz and I am quite famous in my family for my crepe bandages, it’s either m knees or ankles that I keep hurting due to the mishaps that occur! To make matters worse I fell again and then yet again, so thrice in a span of that half hour! It’s just me and my husband here in NZ, so I hobbled my way into our home to be greeted by an empty house. I bawled my lungs out the minute I stepped in, and who came to mind first?
Not Satyu (my husband) but my Dad.
I contemplated calling him, but I knew he would worry if he heard me sobbing.
My dad. My best friend, my mother, my hero, my pappu, my pappudee, my umbrella, my warmth, the light in my life, the centre of my universe.
Just listening to him puts one to calm ( in the worst of life’s storms). Like God. There is a saying that God made mothers because he isn’t able to take care of everyone at once; he takes away mothers from those special kids and takes care of them himself. In saying this, I think he has made me and my sister extra special, he took away mom but gave us Daddy.
The best thing dad has given me is Freedom, to think , to make decisions; freedom is big. It’s pressure. Pressure which keeps you thinking constantly if your actions are right. Hence dad ensured we never did anything untoward that’s not good for us.
My friends envied me ( and imagine I spent half my childhood envying my friends who had their mums with them); but as I grew up I knew what Dad is. I love him to bits, well I guess each child is loved by their parents. I can tell him anything, and talk about anything to him. I remember dad never hitting us, am not kidding. He has raised his hand on me only thrice that I remember in my entire childhood, just thrice. Once we have kids my prayer to God is that I am half as good a parent as my dad is to us.
And I am luckier, I had another dad, my dad’s older brother, Mhantu( that’s how we address uncles in GSB Konkani). Mhantu was with me till I turned 15, and I can only remember love. Unconditional love for me. He has given me many gifts, amongst them the two that I cherish the most are the love of reading and the endeavor to be good, eternally good to everyone around us.
Mhantu, I love you and I always will.
And because things come in three, (cue for entry) Baba, satyu’s father, our Baba, Mr. Pathare. I haven’t seen a simple person like him. His world is his family, which is all of us. We both took a while to take to each other but he has earned my respect and love for the person he is.
I don’t know why it’s said that mothers love/know their children better than fathers. I completely disagree. I think fathers are equally tuned in. The limitations they probably have is perhaps they work longer hours or they are restrained in expressing their love to kids, you know some are averse to PDA.
Baba has taught me the value of being together, of a family unit (of course this is in combination with the efforts of Aai) of being selfless towards your family. I have no shame in admitting that apart from certain close members in my paternal familia, we have had quite a dysfunctional family so this was quite important to me..
All in all I am quite lucky in this department ( though, as aforementioned I spent half my life fighting with God for taking away my mum). Mhantu, daddy and Baba, my rocks which anchor me well. The common factor in these men is that they are respected by everyone around them, they have earned it with their deeds, actions and intentions.
I will end is with a quote I got on my whatsapp from a friend :
They say that from the instant he lays eyes on her, a father adores his daughter. Whoever she grows up to be, she is always to him that little girl in pigtails. She makes him feel like Christmas. In exchange, he makes a secret promise not to see the awkwardness of her teenage years, the mistakes she makes or the secrets she keeps. ~ unknown.
And I also pray from the bottom of my heart that every daughter in this world is half as lucky as me to have such awesome daddies and Baba…