An ode to my dad

I write this for my dad.

I’ve been meaning to write about him for a very long while; partly to openly acknowledge the difference he’s made to my life and partly as a way to count my own blessings at (what I think) is a difficult phase in my life.

Daddy, the one single thing that repeatedly stands out in my life; which I’ve gotten fron you is opportunity. Never even once in my life did you make me feel that as a girl I was inferior or different from both the Bhaiyas. You have consistently looked at me as a person and not as a girl. You paid attention to my capabilities; and the thought of limiting me in what I wanted to do, perhaps never came to you… or may be, if it did, you dealt with it and didn’t let it show. How many of my friends were able to leave home to work in a factory? None. Most studied, and then were politely told that they could work, as long as they found a job that was at home…

The conversation that stands out most in my mind is one we had a few days before I left home. You asked me if my job in a factory was something I really really wanted. And when I said yes, you let me go to make my own life, my own mistakes, and learn.

You’ve always been so proud of me, having more faith in me than I had. And time & again, I seem to surprise myself, but never you. And I wonder why is it so? How is it that you’ve been able to see something in me that I cant see myself.

And yet, I see no greater critic of me than you. You push me, and you prod me, and we fight; but then somehow it just makes me analyse myself and try to do better. And every step along the way, the thought that keeps me going is whether what I’m doing will make me stand tall and proud.

The other thing I must thank you for is the utter disregard for superstition; and the utmot regard for work ethic. No one in our family has ever been superstitious… and isnt that a great thing. As I grew up and interacted with different people, I learned to understand how much superstitions were a part of their lives. But us? Well, we never worried about the black cat, or about buying metal or oil on Saturdays, or about 13 or about 3 or it being a unluck day or week or month, about the million other things people worry about. All we knew was that if work was to be done, it was to be done…and today and now were as “good” a day or time as we would ever get.

And then there is acceptance. You've been able to accept deviations from me that are very much in conflict with your own inner value system - bad language, unwillingness to go to the mandir; or go out and meet people; or introducing my kids to meat (sacrilegious!!). You've let your disapproval show (very openly too !) but you've let me be me. A person who has her own opinions, her own choices and her own life. Has it been because of how rebellious I've always been and it was too tedious to fight me? I dont know, but i'm happy that you let me be myself.

Everyone tells me I look like you, I walk like you and I certainly talk like you. I like to think I inherited my need to travel from you. Quite a bit of who I am is shaped by your influence (and of course mummy’s too, but that is an ode for another day). There is many a day that I wish I was more like you. You’ve constantly inspired me to be a better person and a better parent; and there is no greater gift than that. Continue your place in my life and my heart; and be my father in every single birth that I have.

A Saturday out of my life

** I did this post a good 6 months ago on my facebook. For some reason, I haven't shifted it to the blog. Better late then here it is**

Play driver take the kids to baseball
Gab with other mums there
Crib about the kids
About how we're struggling
About how they misbehave
Make plans
Plans that will probably never come true
Plans for dancing lessons
Plans for a holiday together

Come back and head for the hairdresser
Get something done to your hair
Frantically hope it will make you look better
Better, smarter, hotter, sexier
Then realize probably nothing can make you look hotter or sexier, so settle for neater
Lose your mind sitting there
through all those chemicals in your hair
Smile and pretend you're loving every minute
Know that the reality is that you'll pay to run away
Read the magazines over and over again
The make up tricks
The hot colors of the season
the "easy as pie" recipes
Come home armored with some goodies
Because you are oh-so-sure that this time they will not be left in a corner, forgotten
That this time, you'll use them all
The eye cream to get rid of the dark circles
The face cream to hydrate the skin
The conditioner that will make you hair look as if it was ten years younger
The dash of wax to give your hair that extra edge...

Come home, feeling good
Feeling wonderful and beautiful
Have your son open the door and say
What on earth did you do Ma
I don't like this
I liked the old one better
You smile and pat his head and say
It's okay
Actually you think
What does this 7 year old know about hair styles
So what if he's clear about what looks nice on his mother
You're convinced his mother DOES look nice

Then you go to the mall
To buy the little one some shoes
And yourself a really nice perfume
The big one wants to play
And not worry about the shoes
After all HE doesn't need them
So there are tears and tantrums
And the parents thundering and threatening
You con the kids and buy the shoes
Then your perfume
Madam what would you like?
A hint of spice?
Or white flowers with blah blue and blah
Never realizing that madam has no idea
She's expecting her nose to guide.
Much ado about everything
Things are bought
Hey hold on!
There's a 50 ringgit voucher free
You have to spend it immediately.
Take 2 rounds of the mall
Coz you don't want to buy anything that will make you shell out more than 20 bucks
You snap at the husband
And at the world
Your feet are hurting and you wanna go home
You suddenly realize that you're no longer in the category of "shoppers never stop"
You're older
You're tired-er ( is there a word like that?)
You think
You fume
And then you just blame the husband and the kids
After all isnt everything husband's fault?
Dont his genes in your children not cause you trouble everyday
When it's time to go to school
Or to eat the food
Or when it's time to eat the veggies
Or behave?
All these bad genes are from husband
So of course it's your husband's fault.
For what? You ask!
Well, I've forgotten but whatever it was
It's the husband's fault

The day ends with you sitting on the couch
Watching some rubbish on tv
Patting a kid to sleep
You crib
There's nothing to watch on tv
Not a book to read
Yes there are plenty of books on the bookshelf
But there's nothing really to read
What a day you say
Lemme just go to bed
The kids are there in their own bed
Like angels that they aren't
You get into bed
Cuddle with them
then one of them kicks you
And you run back to your own bed
The husband is there
You go and cry on his shoulder a while
He hugs you and cuddles
He doesn't scream at you for being a crazy bitch all evening
He knows it's all his fault anyway
You cuddle up
Thank your lucky stars for this wonderful guy
Even though his genes aren't all that great
And you fall asleep
Hopefully ready to face another day