Life's Like That

Friday, May 15, 2009

Of Fathers and Daughters

I did a post a long time ago on my mother and my relationship with my mother. With my father always being away on work, I guess it’s only natural that growing up, Mom was the parent I was closer to. Over the years I grew to resent Baba for never being around when I needed him, for putting way more responsibility on my 12 year old shoulders (when my sister was born and my mother was going through terrible post partum depression) than I could handle, for being too formal, for not being able to talk to him the way I talked to Ma, for being overambitious for me, for not really trying to understand what I want out of life…oh the list is endless. I’ve been rude and closed myself off to him whenever he has tried to participate in my life, telling myself and all who would care to listen how he should not try to interfere in my life after never having the time for me all these years. Basically I’ve been a rather horrible daughter to have.

A book he sent me two weeks back and a series of text messages late one night has resulted in me thinking more and more about him and my relationship with him. While I was so busy holding grudges and resenting the man for the many injustices meted out to me, he was there working his butt off trying to ensure that we had every luxury we wanted. I was so wrapped up in my own miseries and adjustment problems that I did not realize that there was now way I would have been able to handle Ma’s depression problems and a newborn baby sister if it hadn’t been for him. Those crazy nights when Ma would snap completely and the baby would wail nonstop would have been impossible to handle if my father had not been there, to calm Ma, to take the baby off my hands so that I got a full nights sleep. I remember him saying that I was mature enough to handle my mother’s depression problems and actually resenting him for saying that because to my mind, he was shirking his responsibilities towards me and not allowing me to be the kid that I was. I realize now that I am independent and mostly mature and responsible in my dealings with the world largely because of his unshakeable faith in my abilities to handle any situation myself.

He is the one I have always turned to for career advice. He has supported every decision I have made in my life, right from the moment I decided to study Humanities after ICSE to when I changed my mind about a career in psychology and decided to try Mass Communications instead, to when I abandoned my Masters from HCU for a degree from a lesser known institute in Bangalore to more recently when I was battling with the management at the most fuck all organization in the world to relieve me in time for me to join my new job.

Considering he was not too convinced about my decision to move to the fuck all organization (aside: let’s call it Round-The Clock Unlearning shall we? If you or anybody you know is planning to join a company in Bangalore that sounds familiar to that euphemism, contact me, I shall tell you 101 reasons why you need to run in the opposite direction immediately) in the first place, it’s amazing the way he stood by me. Round the Clock Unlearning harassed me to the point I was ready to run screaming from there (its somewhat of a corporate mantra for them: molest harass torture employees). For the first time in my life my father told me to walk out of there even if I didn’t have a job in hand. He went to the extent of saying he would pay me salary till I found something else…heh..can you believe it? When I found myself another job n realized I wouldn’t be able to serve the stipulated 2 month notice period he told me he would buy out my time. When at the last minute french-bearded menace at Round the Clock Unlearning ordered me to stay back till they found replacements it was Baba who put me in touch with his lawyer who told me there wasn’t a thing the company could do to stop me from leaving on the scheduled date (labour laws and all that, which evidently Round the Clock Unlearning does not believe in). I am not sure how I would have been able to handle that situation without my Dad moral and more practical support.

Baba is the one I depended upon when it came to dealing with the asshole Father Verghese in my college. When he refused to give me my examination entrance card citing disciplinary issues I knew I could depend my father to march into his office reduce him to a quivering whimpering mess and march out with my hall ticket. His faith in his daughter’s angelic-ness cannot be shaken no matter what. When it came to meeting my prospective in laws for the first time, I knew Baba would handle it wonderfully. And he did. My in laws still gush about him. He wowed the entire extended in law clan at the wedding with his flawless manners and planning of the whole wedding. So much so, that an aunt in law has quite a crush on him and giggles at the mere mention of his name. He wrote personally to Rahul’s nanima and dadaji dadima inviting them to Cal for the wedding. I really don’t know what exactly he wrote, but everybody on that side of the family was floored by that simple act and talks about it till date. I know whenever I need him, irrespective of whether Im right or wrong he will be there for me.

This has been a loooong post. Not to mention an extremely difficult one to write. I wish I had not wasted all those years being so resentful and appreciated him more. I hope to be half as wonderful a person he is. I wish I could be as effortless in maintaining relationships with people. I have been told I sound like him when I talk, I’ve been told that my sense of humor is very similar to his, I’ve been told I am as out going and extroverted as he is. Makes me very happy to hear that though I think I have a long way to go where it comes to matching up to him. If you are reading this Baba, I’m sorry for all the times I’ve rolled my eyes at you and banged the door shut on you and told you nasty hurtful things. You really are the best. I love you.


  • Hi there,

    Reading through your post gave me this incredible sense of deja vu of having lost and found my dad all over again. Thanks so much for such a touching post...

    By Blogger Fortunata, at 7:51 AM  

  • I'm not in the same situation at all but the one lesson that does hold true for other things in my life is beautifully written here - how hindsight is such an eye opener. We never know how lucky we are till well after the event! Thankfully its not always too late...

    By Blogger 30in2005, at 2:28 AM  

  • As father of a daughter, this is reassuring.


    By Blogger J. Alfred Prufrock, at 7:39 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Ron, at 12:37 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Ron, at 12:37 AM  

  • @Fortunata: Lost and found is so much better than lost altogether :)

    @30in2005: Thankfully. Things are so much better now that I stop to think before I react.

    @JAP: Glad to be of some help.

    By Blogger Ron, at 12:37 AM  

  • Hey really touching, and it must have been difficult to write!For parents it is an extra fillip to know that the child is proud of them, so if your dad does read it, you'd have given him a really great gift. Keep writing.

    By Blogger LAK, at 12:18 AM  

  • @LAK: thanks :) he was quite overwhelmed when he read this.

    PS: hey you went to HCU? Which year? Which subject? You must have been in the new hostel with the clean loos, we were made to stay in LH1...disgusting :(

    By Blogger Ron, at 3:01 AM  

  • @LAK: thanks :) he was quite overwhelmed when he read this.

    PS: hey you went to HCU? Which year? Which subject? You must have been in the new hostel with the clean loos, we were made to stay in LH1...disgusting :(

    By Blogger Ron, at 3:01 AM  

  • Reminds me of the email I sent to my dad on his retirement. It made him so happy that he read it out to his colleagues.
    But then this is so different. Must have taken some courage to write this post. Admire it.

    By Blogger Debroop, at 10:19 AM  

  • @debroop: it was the most difficult thing i have written in a long while.

    By Blogger Ron, at 3:21 AM  

  • This was wonderful reading- must have been so hard to write.
    May you have many long years of appreciating your father:)

    By Blogger dipali, at 9:15 AM  

  • Wow!

    By Blogger Vishal, at 5:08 AM  

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