It was dark, cozy and warm in there. Birds chirping but I couldn’t feel the cool breeze coming in through the window. I yanked the pink, floral pull-over off me and the cool air hit me, so did the light — it was day. And then I covered my face with the soft piece of linen and it was night again. The room was filled with the laughter and cooing of a toddler. I was a two years old and this was my favourite game with my most favourite person in the world — my dad!It’s been over 30 years to this episode and till date my dad remains the most favourite person to many people and of course to me.
Right from helping me with my studies, cooking my favorite meals, teaching me how to ride my bike, watching movies with me, he always was and is available for me. Some parents teach virtues and some lead by example. I was lucky to have both my parents teach me through leading a wholesome life. I remember the days when we would play carrom every night after I finished my homework. He was such a tough competitor. He never played to let me win but to make me better. In the coming years I would realize how you need to earn your place by becoming good at what you do and not merely by tantrum throwing or entitlement.
My dad always very gently pushed me to explore all that I wanted to do. Whether it was taking me for my basketball classes, swimming lessons, art class, dance class; he was there. Taking me for late night desserts, binging street-side food or trying out new recipes in the kitchen, he was there. He pushed me to become a better version of myself. He has always wanted me to have all that he couldn’t. All that he missed out on because his father passed away when he was just a little boy.
The best gift of all that I received was how grateful he always has been for having a daughter. In my growing up years and even today I see so many people still showing remorse at having a daughter. I was so fortunate to never even know what that meant till may be when I reached my 30s and my identity was shaped by then!
He has been a dotted husband and a best friend to my mother always. My mother’s parents passed away when she was just 1.5 years old. She grew up with her siblings and her grandparents but without much parental love. It all changed when she got married and received so much nurturance, love, support and independence from her husband. The joke in our family is if she demands tea even if he is fast asleep, he will wake up and bring it to her in bed.
He encouraged her to follow her passion, pursued her dreams to travel, did his part in the kitchen and never ever said — ‘but i help.’ That is how I learned to look at people as ‘people’ and not as man or woman. In the most simple way he taught me how the kitchen was as much his responsibility as my mother’s.
When I was a teenager, my mother was unwell for over 7 years. He stood by her no matter what extending his love, support and respect all through. And just like that I learnt never to give up on relationships!
He loved his nieces and nephews as much as he loved my mother’s part of the family. He taught me how discrimination can never bring people together and be there for people as they were your own. So many of my cousins, all our neighbors’ children were married off from our home and he did this purely out of love and joy!
He has been there always for his friends. When they were sick, financially down, knocked down by relationship problems, he was and still is their go to man. I remember the day he got retired from the bank. They had hosted a ceremony in the honor of his valuable service. The room was a tear fest. Everyone loved him so much and felt the pain of his absence at work from the next day. They made speeches — with one interesting commonality. He has always helped us, guided us and has been so approachable. He has been a parent to us!
From tantrum throwing children, to rebellious teenagers… from the illiterate to the most scholarly ones, I have realized that he has been a favourite to all because he speaks the language they all understand- and that is LOVE!
May be I could write a book on this someday but for today, this is it! I wanted to share what I learnt early on in life. To be inspiring one needs to be a superhero. However, a superhero doesn’t wear a cape, a funny mask and only adores his family. They do it by their unconditional universal love, cutting down on judging people, empathizing, supporting the downtrodden and teaching these virtues to the next generation. That is my dad to me and to everyone around him!
To my dad and to all the loving dad’s out there you make everyday beautiful and worth looking forward to for us. We love you!