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Archive for June 20th, 2010

Dear Dad,

Remember this scene?

A man comes back home after two years of field posting to a loving family. He is tired and maybe just wants  to rest his head for a while. But the four kids are just too excited to see their dad and refuse to give him privacy for even a few minutes. The boy starts yapping about the latest sports at school, the eldest starts ranting about all things wrong with the world, the third one clambers on his arms and refuses to let go while the youngest demands to know what all edible goodies the pater has brought back with him (such a glutton, I tell you!!).
The wife stands by patiently, waiting for her turn, a chance to look at her husband and let him read the pain of parting which she bore. He doesn’t get the chance. The children are too demanding, too hungry for his attention to care if he’s tired,too young to realize that he too is eager to  let his wife know that the parting was equally hard for him.

And then, the kids demand to be swung.Their favorite game with their daddy, where he holds his hands behind his head and two kids hang on to each arm. Then he swings his body from side to side and the kids sway. By the way, I use the term kids rather loosely here. The eldest at that time was 14 years old, the youngest, 7.It was immense fun. The kids loved having their dad around.

You dad, the father, never let out that you were tired. That you had traveled non-stop for the last three days from some remote border in Arunachal Pradesh till Bangalore. Maybe you were equally charged up on seeing your family. As kids, I never realized this, but when I look back now, I can only marvel at the strength of this man, who is my father.When we were kids, you were our He-Man and the Master of Our Universe!!

Though you were away most of the time when we were kids, you more or less made up for all the lost time.

While other parents were busy buying Barbie stuff for their daughters, you bought us encyclopedias.The brother had his share of cricket bats,hockey stick and TT paddles.You taught us to play badminton (I still remember the surge of love I felt when I saw those rackets for the first time in my life!! And for the record, we still have those very same rackets at home 🙂 ).
You taught us to swim, bought us bicycles and supervised while we fell off a zillion times.

But the best thing you did, was to instill the love of books, the love of reading, in us.
I had a library subscription when I was 7-8 years old. I remember trotting with brother to a small private library and choosing a picture book for reading (English was still new to  me and I found Noddy a pretty easy read).Eventually we graduated to Chacha Chowdary, Archies, Tinkle (its a shame they stopped publishing this most-appropriate-for-teens magazine!!), Nancy Drew and the like.

You made sure that everywhere we went, we had a library subscription. Mom was skeptical, wondering if our love for novels/comics would deter us away from our text books. But it was the other way round. The books built up our vocabulary and it was easier for us to understand our text books. For a long time, me and my siblings were toppers in English in our respective classes. It felt good, but back then, we never gave you credit for it.

And now looking back, I can’t thank you enough!
It wasn’t just for giving us the best of two worlds, the world of the defense forces, the privileged life where swimming pools, dance parties and sports extravaganzas are a way of life. And the second world, where we were rooted firmly to the ground,where we were punished for leaving leftovers on our plates,where switching off lights and fans while leaving a room were not just rules, they were COMMANDMENTS!!

We didn’t get pocket-money, but we learnt to understand the difference between ‘price’ and ‘value’. We learnt impeccable manners, we learnt to respect our elders and never retort back, we learnt to share and care and to take out time for those less privileged than us. You never cared whether our friends were children of your colleagues or the offspring of clerks or gardeners. I know a lot of your colleagues didn’t like their children mingling with people ‘lower’ than them in rank. But you kept us firmly grounded. You encouraged us to help others, by being a role model yourself.

And that brings me to say a few words of your generosity.I felt many times, and still do, that your generosity amounts to a fault, more of a vice than a virtue. You’ve never given a second thought to demands by many relatives,many of whom live off you like  parasites off a tree. In that perspective, you are a tree. A large, green tree, like a Banyan, that spreads its roots far from the trunk,covering a vast expanse in its shade.You’ve taken so many people in your fold that I’m sure even you have lost count 🙂 .

You know we keep complaining about it till date,but it doesn’t take away the truth that we will never be able to measure up to your standards. We don’t have it in us to support families other than our own, and by support, you know what I mean. You’ve provided for people’s education,marriage,deliveries and then their children’s education, marriages and deliveries and so on. All along, we can only wonder at your deep sense of commitment and responsibility. Alas, we will never be able to come anywhere close 😦 .

It never ceases to amaze us that you still make out time to perform a zillion other activities when you are not already busy with your supporting. You get up early, play golf, work full time, socialize  and in between, also take the time to pen a hundred mails. You caught on to the web like fish to water and I’m glad to say,you are technically much ahead than your counterparts. I’m SO proud of you 😀 .

Dad, there are so many things I’d like to say, so many emotions I’d like to express, but I lack the talent to use words like you do.

But I’d like to thank you for one thing the most.

That, in spite of me being the youngest, the most pampered and spoilt of the lot, you treated me like an adult at the right time. You trusted my judgement and also confessed you considered me responsible enough. For that, I’ll be eternally grateful. I could never take that vital step in my life if I didn’t have your blessings. And I’m glad that you have not only accepted my choices, but also welcomed them with open arms. You are truly generous to a fault 🙂

I know I don’t call often enough or write mails that frequently, but since its Father’s Day today, I’d just like to say, Dad , you are Better than the Best. And the Best don’t matter. They can never match up to you 🙂

Love ya P.

Yours,

T.

Edited to Add :-

After I went through this post a second time, I realized that I’ve written so little about you, as a person!! I’m yet to write about your addiction-like-love for tea, your secret love for good movies, your awful pampering of your grand-kids, your creepy skill with a gun, your gallantry decoration (the Sena Medal), your restless mind which refuses to let you rest , your keeness to learn new technology and keep yourself at par with us and many more other things.

Dad, you’re going to feature a lot on my blog and I’m glad I have one topic on whom I can write forever. Love ya loads, Pops.

 🙂 .

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