Dear Papa,

I feel blessed and privileged to be your daughter. Although I always felt my gratitude but it’s taken me five decades to gather courage and pen down my journey of life – being your daughter. Mothers have been held in reverence forever and we celebrate them year after year while fathers are not given their fair share of dues. They silently provide for the emotional quotient to the family. Men of few words, fathers are in reality,  strong pillars of strength which acts as anchors for lives of the entire family.

This Father’s Day, I thought of expressing some  thoughts which are concealed below myriad layers of inhibitions in my heart. Memories that shall last a lifetime and stories that I will pass on to the next generation.

Being a parent of three daughters , you always came across as a very strict father ,I didn’t understand then , but now being a parent of two teenage daughters myself I understand the need for you to maintain that stern demeanor . We always held you in high regards and you have been our hero, since in your own ways you instilled many qualities in us organically. There are a few I wish to share here which remain vivid though they happened decades back.

Since the organisation you worked for had a collaboration with a French company, at home you conversed with us in French for us to be able to acquire the skill. We were just little girls then, maybe 11/12 years old, but we did try, and you supported us in that endeavour. Your discipline and time management are qualities I am glad I have embraced well. They have helped me find success in almost everything I have ventured into. You helped us imbibe all these qualities in the most natural way. We grew up aping you and admiring your ways and today I am a better person because of what you have given us.

You were our first driving trainer. We owned an Ambassador in the 80s, it was a bulky vehicle, but you ensured we got our first driving lessons from you. You have been a very progressive individual. You never let us feel that we were girls and incapable. You gave us exposure in almost every field and encouraged us to participate in almost all sports, in your subtle ways, by raising no objections.

You are very fond of Indian classical music, specially from the 60s, your favourite being K.L. Sehgal and Mukesh. Every evening you played them at home, and we developed a liking for music thanks to you. These are things many fathers might be doing it for their children. But there were a few things that you did were very unexpected, and it is important for me to mention them here.

As a family we would drive to Dehradun almost every summer for our vacations. We had a Maruti 800 then. I distinctly remember on one trip, enroute to the hills, our car broke down. The tyre was punctured. You stood aside and directed us sisters to change the tyre. It was extremely hot, but we did not have the guts to object. We did not see it then; it was your way of teaching us to be self sufficient and that day we learnt a life skill. You had your unique ways of knowledge sharing. We became fearless and ready to face the challenges life has thrown at us.

Much later in life I was going through major stress as I was unable to conceive. But being a conservative family, we never discussed these issues, but I know you were more concerned than you ever expressed. Then after 7 years when I broke the news about my pregnancy, you had a unique way to express your happiness. We had never ever shared a drink before but that day you announced proudly, that you were going to open champagne. We were left speechless as we toasted that moment. You did not need to say anything. Your gesture said it all.

And when I was in the hospital for my delivery, I remember Mom informing you that I was taken for the delivery and good news could be expected any moment. Immediately you started for the hospital and did not forget to pick up box of Laddoos and barfi each. Now why laddoos and barfi both? Because in our custom, if a boy is born we distribute laddoos and if it’s a girl, its barfis… funny it may sound but 20 years back, unlike many it didn’t matter to you whether it was a girl or a boy, you were happy to welcome our blessing. And the celebrations followed as you offered both the mithais to people who came to congratulate us on the arrival of your first granddaughter.

The latest in the list is very recent when I gathered courage to publish my dream, my first book of poetry. You encouraged me to publish it. Not once did you object and remind me about the financial aspect. You acknowledged my passion and at every step helped me to realise my dreams. I have taken the inspiration from you since you yourself pen down beautiful thoughts.  I have got to live my dreams because of your support at every step. You were present there at the launch of my book and proudly took centre-stage and inspired us with your words laced with so much pride. You did not stop there. You read every poem in my book and after every piece shared your valuable feedback which has motivated me, and your inputs have helped me to better my thoughts and perspectives.

The list is endless. It is very difficult to mention how you have touched my life every single day, whether we talked or in our moments of silence. I do not believe in celebrating Mother’s or Fathers day on any specific day. I feel they need to be celebrated everyday. You have set an example of being a very well read and a disciplined man. And we have imbibed many qualities from you. No words can do justice to the day every child hero worships the father. I am deprived of the apt words too.

I would like to end my letter to you with a quote that justifies our relationship.

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.

And that is true, whatever I have achieved if because of your belief in me and your support. I pray to God for your good health and happiness and hope you keep inspiring us with your attitude towards life.

Regards,

Nisha

 

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