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.


Anonymous said...

I hope your dad read it. It is such a lovely piece. Vinaya