It is very hard to write a letter to someone whom you meet often. I am trying to put words into feelings that I have for you but I am failing miserably.
The language of the ancients do not have a word for a person who is your father, friend, guide and spiritual explain-er all rolled into one. or May be, the word is just .. Papa.
I was a mumma’s girl. You were almost always away. Sundays you would spend sleeping in. Mumma took such good care of us, I honestly do not remember missing you.
The first time you appeared in my conscious life as friend was when you removed that abscess on my knee. I was eight or nine. The abscess had turned big and filled with pus overnight and hurt like thousand bees stinging. I wouldn’t let anybody near it. You got hold of my knee without my permission and did the needful to open the abscess. I screamed on top of my voice. I hated you. You knew nothing. You made it hurt even more.
But fifteen minutes later, the pain was gone. It was all calm. You had bandaged it. You had smiled.
I remember telling my friends at school. Someone asked if my father was a Doctor.
But you were not a Doctor. You worked in a bank in the day. Then the nights, you worked as a wedding video-grapher. You were sought after, I remember. Which explains why you spent all those Sunday afternoons sleeping.
When I was thirteen, adoloscence had marked my face with its signature .. pimples. Mom explained it was natural and to not touch it. But you taught me how to clean my face in a way that I would get rid of these and wouldn’t get them anymore. I was so embarrassed but I did as told. Bazinga! A week or two later, my skin was baby-bottom smooth. Yup, you are indeed the passer of secret recipe for great skin. You also made me run 10 rounds each morning. Hated you but it gave me a toned skin and good habits.
I remember sharing it with my friends and them not believing that fathers can be that involved in such trivial affairs of a teenage girl.
When I was seventeen, I hadn’t score as well as I had thought in Grade 12. I was afraid you will be disappointed. Instead, you had said, “Forget it and move on. No one will remember it after a month. Your real lessons begin now”. Not only I was relieved but you pushed me to do harder next time.
I remember sharing it with my friends and they all wanted a dad like mine.
I would like to mention here that when I was 19, you cheated me. You removed me out of my country. I still haven’t forgiven you but more on that later. <Insert angry emoticon here>.
When I was 23, you found a suitable match for me and got me married off. I hated you for looking stoic throughout the process. I thought you were made of stone. You looked so happy. Will you not miss me? Your eyes were wet, but kind of happy wet. Probably the effect of your first kanyadaan and that too in a foreign land, without any family support and with meager means.
A huge part of me was largely sad that my parents and especially you aren’t crushed to not live with me anymore. I starting looking at other girl’s dads and getting envious about how the daughters were treated like princesses and here I was, treated as a strong individual. I was no delicate darling princess all pinky fruity lip gloss girl. I was taught to fight my own fights. That’s the opposite of being a princess.
It was a setback and also one of the reasons that I started keeping my distance. Always happy to see you but the sadness gnawed at me that I was not that wanted. I was a stranger, a guest in my father’s house. That was 14 years ago. In these 14 years, you have given me my space but also carefully placed seeds of life lessons. We worked together as team on that film. We discussed spirituality at lengths that puts others to sleep. We had arguments, disagreements. You let me speak. You took me as an adult. You were a friend. A good friend.
I am not complaining.
A few months back I went to the same marriage ceremony hall for a party. I reminded the manager that 14 years ago I had got married at the same hall and in fact he was the manager then too. He thought for a minute and seemed to remember something.
“Oh I know, I know”, He said. I can never forget how much your dad criedcried. Seen so many weddings here but I never saw the father of the bride cry so much.”
A gloom washed away that day. A confidence restored. You being a man probably have no idea how much it means for a daughter to be missed. We wear it like pride, like a constant reminder that we are taken care of in our parent’s heart. It gives us tenacity to bear any fight in life.
Thank you for being my courage and at other times reminding me to play safe.
You continue to teach me so much about life. Absurd but genius social survival tips, brilliant life-hacks, positive quotes and even tutorials on skin care. You are like my personal Instagram and Pinterest. You are one genius, loving, amazing, full-of-life human and I hope every child has a father like you.
For so many years, you have taken care of me, Prateek and Chhavi. It is now time for you let us take care of you.
I know you are self-sufficient, but I just wanted to tell you that, I am here.
I love you papa. Happy Father’s Day