Fathers are the most underrated species in the world. I mean, look at mothers. You cant praise them enough. We know exactly when their day starts (at the crack of dawn and up with the milkman) and when it ends (when half of the world is asleep). Their lives are well-worn trajectories. We know they do the laundry, kiss our wounds away, go to office, do their chores. We know our mother’s every mood – we know exactly which word will send a thundercloud towards us, and what will make them smile.
How much do we know about our dads?
I dont know too many fathers who come home, plonk themselves into their chairs and rattle off the days events to the family. Mothers do. Ask your dad what the day was like, and you either get a smile more enigmatic than that of Mona Lisa’s or, at best, a grunt.
I think most of us misread our dads. We complain that theyre never there when we need them, yet their very absence is why mothers are able to get top billing in the ‘bonding-with-kids’ department. And their absence is generally because they are hard wired to work. They sometimes have to put with bad bosses, stress-laden jobs, long work days (yes mothers do too, we’ve read all about it, haven’t we?). Those long hours are why we can go to the bestest schools and have good education. We whine that theyre never able to get away on holidays. But you know what? Youre going on a vacation. He’s going back to the grind precisely so that you never miss out on your favourite food, or destination et al.
If he’s not in the Family Photograph, we have taken it for granted that he is the man standing behind the camera so that your memories are safe. If he’s not telling you much about daily grind, its so that you can sleep better at night. He’s just protecting. If he’s not leading on a trek, it is because he is behind to make sure you dont have to look over your shoulder or turn around for anything.
My own dad is a lot of things. He’s silent. For a long time i took that as a sign of being a boring introvert. Whereas actually, i see that he simply does not waste his words. He never gave advice, knowing full well i took none.
My mother has always been the one who fussed and cleaned and fed us, and at the end of the day, id watch this stranger come and take my mother’s attention away from me. I resented that as i resented several other things that the foolishness of youth encourages you to resent.
As one grows, one learns differently. And im glad i’ve learnt to value my dad and enjoy him.
So, here’s doffing our invisible hats to dads.. Who knowingly, willingly and happily play second fiddle to moms so that the universal laws of nurturing and caring aren’t toppled too heavily. And still remain good fathers who dont let the contempt and neglect of their kids affect them, and continue to love and support them, unconditionally.
Love You, Paa.