To my father,
I can’t imagine how you feel sometimes. I am almost 18 years old, but at times it seems like I know more than you and I know that intimidates you because I don’t ask you questions about how the fridge works or which medicine cures which type of Cancer anymore but I never have to pretend I’m smarter than you because I know you will always be the smartest man I know.
I know I don’t make it easy for you to talk to me, my passive-aggressive behaviour comes from my mother and perhaps I can’t see eye to eye with you on certain things because you’re stuck in your ways and I, in mine. You taught me to question everything, including oneself at times. It is because of you that I have opinions, beliefs and perspective because you allowed me to defend them against the world and practice them as long as they did not harm anybody.
While I’m awakening from the ways the world has shown me, self involved in my own path, I know sometimes you wish I were little again and didn’t fight you when you tell me to eat rice or talk in Kannada, perhaps because we didn’t get to spend much time together when I was a little girl. As a woman, it almost seems impossible to tell me what to do because both you and mumma made sure I am a self-assured and independant women but when things get rough I’ll always need you by my side.
You were never the father to be involved in everything I did, you wouldn’t ask me each night whom I met or what I did although you did enforce your political and religious views on me, which I accepted because they were always argued with logic and reason, like most things you told me.
Everyone always told me I’m like you; I have your eyes, your wit( Although, I’m better), your resilience, your ability to look at the world in the kindest eyes each day and we are both reckless to the point of self-destruction. Even though you’ve done a lot of stupid mistakes, I’m proud to say you’re my dad even when you’re sometimes unreliable.
You have always been yourself regardless of what others have said, many have judged you but no one can say you don’t have a good heart. For me, I know you’ll do anything.
I always try to fight the fact that I don’t need you because I wanted to prove to myself that I was independent which is probably why I taught myself to do many things. I taught myself to ride the bicycle, I taught myself to work the fuse box and I taught myself to cook. We are closer than most people who live with their fathers are because we have an honest and an open relationship.
I know I give you a hard time. I never pick up your calls and I almost never tell you when I’m angry because like you, I’m naive about emotions and can never accept my vulnerabilities. It is from you that I picked up my ability to understand art in depth, you spoke about movies and books and took inspiration from them, something that I often do. You made sure I understand what true education is and always criticized me when I behaved in a frivolous way because I now understand life is more than clothes, makeup and drinking.
You treat everyone the same way, whether they are an auto-driver or a CEO and you never take yourself seriously. I remember, once you calling me from your hotel in Chandigarh to inform me about the minor earthquake that had occurred and while I was worried, you were laughing about how everything around you was falling apart or that time your factory in Baddi caught a fire and you just laughed at your ill-plight. I asked why you weren’t worked up and you simply said “How does that help in fixing the damage?” ( In Kannada, of course)
When I was in the 5th grade, in the midst of our regular banter, you said “Everyone lives. Everyone gets a degree. Everyone gets a job and Everyone reproduces but you got to do something more than that!” Perhaps, that struck a chord with me and ever since I’m on my hunt for that something more.
I know you try to be as nonchalant as possible when it comes to my academics because you think I have the ability to succeed with or without a strong academic background. You have never pressurized me but I remember your face when my 10th board results were out. You were sitting on the sofa, watching news while mumma and I were glued to the laptop, refreshing every minute but the minute the results were out and I was reading out my marks, you jumped out from the sofa and I remember your face that afternoon, even though you said your demeanor wouldn’t change if I scored a 50%, I remember your face that day and I always will.
I may be like you in many ways but I’m not you. I’m more than you and less than you.
I wanted to write this for a long time and this is not something I thought about today because it was father’s day, a day which you and I both agree is materialistic and frivolous but I can never tell you these things looking at you, it’s just how we are built. We write because we can’t express.