Letter from a daughter to her father
After wishing you today in the morning and then offering to take you and mamma out for dinner, a thought struck me – am I doing enough for you on the occasion of Father’s Day? Wishing you, taking you out for dinner and then a gift – is that all that I can do for you? Should I have expressed more in words? But you know, both of us are the non-expressive types, hence we usually do not show much emotions to each other. But then, certain feelings sometimes need to be expressed and particularly, on certain occasions.
Amidst huge expectations of the whole family for a son, I was born, on the day of Laxmi Puja. You were the only son and hence, to carry forward our branch of the family tree, you and mamma “had” to give birth to a son. But then, you were the first one to take me in your arms and declare that I will be the “Laxmi” of the family and no less special than a son. Sure enough, you got quick promotions after my birth. May be, due to this reason I was such a tom boy in my childhood. I always wanted to prove you right that daughters can do all that a son can.
You taught me how to ride a bicycle every morning, English grammar every evening and mental sums every weekend. You were the best teacher I could ever had – and in all subjects. When I scored a near zero in map-pointing in class IV Geography test, you taught me the best way to remember places in a map of India; I never made a mistake after that. When I failed to draw the perfect butterfly in my Life Sciences homework in class V, you taught me how to use a ruler, put dots and then draw the perfect symmetrical butterfly wings; since then, I always received a “V Good” in all my science drawings right till Class XII. You helped me with graphs, which, for me, was the worse part of any Physics practical experiment. You even once wrote History answers for me to mug them up for exams, only with a strict condition that from next time onwards, I would keep aside enough time to prepare answers myself and not run to him at the last moment; because of you, I learnt never to mug answers, but developed a real interest in that subject.
I think I used to disappoint you the most in Maths. You expected me to be as brilliant as you were, but I really did not have much enthusiasm for that subject. Guess, that gene did not pass down from you. Whatever marks I scored was good only because of your able guidance and perseverance.
Following his footsteps at the age of 2.5 years
Daddy’s girl at the age of 3 years
I still remember the time you stopped talking to me for two days. Two months into my plus-two classes and enrolment with the Brilliant Tutorials coaching, I had informed you and mamma that I did not intend to sit for any of the Joint Entrance Examinations. In a second, I had dashed all your hopes of your daughter turning out to be a doctor. Mamma was trying to make me change my mind, but you simply kept quiet. I think I hurt you the most that day. I was so scared of your silence that I said I will give Medical Entrance a shot, just to placate you.
One of the many family holidays at the age of 11 years
But once I was able to convince you of my interest in law and the opportunities it provides, you understood and supported me, even when I finally did not end up sitting for my Medical entrance. You were confident of my career choice and my self-confidence improved manifold once I had your support.
I remember the day 6 years ago, when NUJS entrance results were to be declared. You were up at 5 am and were pacing in the living room, worried for your daughter’s future and the uncertainty as I had already closed the option of medical/engineering. You checked the college website the moment they were out with the results and called me to inform my all-India rank. I could hear the pride in your voice and knew that I had not let you down. I knew that you were no longer unhappy about my lost chances at medicine.
Once I left home to stay in the hostel, you became more expressive about your emotions. One phone call that I was unwell used to bring you travelling all through the length of the city to meet me in the hostel, carrying home-cooked food. Mamma was always vocal, but you began to express only after I started living apart. Your tension during my campus recruitment and consequent relief after day-one results were declared, your happiness during my Convocation and the pride with which now you inform people that ‘my daughter is a lawyer‘ gives me immense pleasure and contentment.
One of the few moments of pride
These days, I love it when you refuse to be bothered by mamma’s occasional ranting about how so many of my friends (including guy friends!) are getting married, in an attempt to make you realise your fatherly responsibilities. Your calm inaction always assures me of your support I wish I could stay with you forever, but otherwise,[;)] I forbid you to perform the kanyadaan ritual. No father can actually give away his daughter and hence, there is absolutely no need for such absurd ritual.
For the last few days, we have been having fierce disagreements. You have adamantly put your foot down on my ambitious plan of a solo trip to the North-East and I have said some hurtful things to you; that I have grown up, independent, should be allowed to have my freedom etc etc. But today, as I wrote this letter, I realised the reason.
For the world, I am an independent young woman, but for you, I am still that 6 month old who used to wait for her father to come back from office every evening, the 2 year old who thought her father could ward off “haoo” (evil spirit in my baby language) whenever she used to be afraid of the dark and the 6 year old who had once pointed out a mistake to the teacher proclaiming “babi bolecche eta apnar bhul hoyecche; babi sob jane” [My father said that this is your mistake; my father knows everything] and invited her wrath.
Babi, I am sorry for all the times I have hurt you. I sincerely hope those occasions have not surpassed the number of times I tried to give you some joy.
P.S. I can never do enough for you in my whole life time. This letter was just an expression of all that I wanted to tell you this Father’s Day.
Edited to add: This post was adjudged as one of the “Editor’s Choice” by Blogjunta on 11/1/11.