There are many things a son thinks of his father. A guide, a superhero, an idol and many more. But for me, a single word can never encompass what you mean to me.
You turn 50 today. In the half-century you’ve lived, we’ve shared 20. And for the entirety of my twenty, I would like to thank, apologize and appreciate you for all the things I’ve done and learnt.
I remember when me, mother, and sister would go away to masi‘s place for a couple of months as soon as summer set on, back in my early school days. For two months every year, you stayed away from your wife and kids, to serve your duty as the sole breadwinner of the family. You missed my birthdays too! I was too young then, but I’m slowly starting to get what kind of sacrifice that takes. Loneliness pangs more when you are habituated by company. One particular incident I recall is that when on our coming back home, I asked mother if you were coming to pick us up. Mother said no, but when we did get down on the platform, voila! There you were! I remember running to you and hugging you as tightly as I can!
Three and a half years in college, and I feel like that little me every time I come home.
I also remember when I dragged you to a toy shop, and had my eyes on a remote controlled crane. I was so fascinated by it, but it did look a little expensive, so I remember asking for it hesitatingly. You smiled, and promised me you’ll get it for me on my birthday. Fast forward to summer that year – and you came to masi‘s, and I knew from the knock that it was you. Probably because I had been asking mother all day how longer would it take for you to come. I rushed to open the door, and there you were. And in your hands, was a big box, of about the same size as the box of the toy, gift wrapped. I set my eyes on it.. for quite a while. Mother even laughed and remarked, “He hasn’t even got eyes for his father!”
I hope I can ever keep a promise as faithfully as you did.
Flash back to my 4th standard open day. We were in the class, in front of the teacher, and you were discussing my performance. I didn’t really pay attention, but I got a hint of a couple of ‘A’s. We moved out of the classroom, and you lifted me up above your shoulders in happiness – something that still gives me the goosebumps. I had done well.
I hope I can make you that happy always.
I was never an academically proficient child. Or as you love to put it, I never fulfilled my potential for academic proficiency. However, in standard 7, I entered the National Science Olympiad and finished first in my district, thus qualifying for the second round and a certificate. Little did I know, that I had also won a gold medal for that achievement! As I rushed home with my prize, you were home, busy. I crept up behind you, and called you. As you turned, I just help up my medal. The sheer look of surprise, followed by the happiness is one of my better memories. I also recall the pride with which you analysed my scorecard later on.
I wish to make you that proud as often as I can.
Circa 2010. I had chosen science as my +2 option. The next two years were going to be the most difficult of my life. And I remember struggling for about 21 months. The sheer horror on your face when I told you I had scored 48% in my first preliminary exam. And the satisfaction on your face when my Board examinations results equalled up to 83%.
I hope to never give you such a wild ride again. Hopefully.
But there’s a lot more. A lot more you’ve told me, a lot you’ve explained to me. A lot more you’ve teased me for, and a lot more I have disappointed you in. I have been rude, angsty, immature, inconsiderate, selfish. I was probably the worst teenaged kid to handle, and I thank you, for you handled me amiably. You have told the thirteen year old me things that maybe I’ll truly grasp at thirty. You’ve invested yourself into me. You’ve developed in me a great, absolutely sensational sense of humour, and only I know how valuable it is proving to be.
You have taught me patience. You have taught me a sense of responsibility, a touch of pragmatism and wit. You’ve taught me compassion. You’ve taught me to bring the human touch into whatever I can. You’ve taught me that performance matters, not position. You’ve taught me to believe in myself – that if I need to choose between two evils, I must choose for overconfidence above low confidence.
I began writing this without a draft. I know how proudly you share my blog, and read it regularly. I thought an occasion like this, I should go for the crude, spontaneous emotion.
Happy birthday, Dad!! Hope someday, I do become a father like you.