Today as I view the numerous Father’s day posts on social media accounts of friends, families, celebrities and literally every one, I have not wished my dad just like last year since I cannot seem to personally share any emotion of this day. This is perhaps I did not share a close bond with my dad?
There is an Indian ad that is being circulated in all groups which shows how a father is stern and cold towards his son and the son distances himself for fear, respect or even unwanted rebuke from his father. When the son moves out of home for his studies, the father tours his room with a feeling of melancholy and the ad ends with the note that the father does not usually show his feelings. But he still loves you.
How I wish they could change the ad and ask the dads to bloody express their feelings! It could change the whole life of their child.
My dad did the same. To me, he was always this angry person who spoke little to me. Conversations were far off, even casual talks was unheard of. The trips to tutions or classes with just both of us in the car would be quiet except for “I’ll pick you up at ___ time”. All my requests were made to mom which was passed onto dad. Any feedback was through mom and now I wonder if those were really HIS feedbacks! His work was tough and laborious and I knew that, but to what extent I didn’t know, could I help him in anyway lighten his burden by talking with him, sharing my silly jokes, watch movies together, eat together… I didn’t know.
I did not even take the effort to find out. Why? Because I was fearful of him. I have only experienced his anger towards me especially when my marks were not upto his expectation, or if I refused to go to church or if I dared to back answer them. I always chose to not get in his way so I took no effort to know him.
There was no father’s day those days, atleast that is what I remember or maybe I was as usual stuffed up in my cocoon not interacting with anyone so I didn’t know? But even if there was and there were celebrations all around, I wouldn’t have had the courage or the emotion to wish him.
Only if the wall between us was not that high, he would have known that I was not a boring child, I could make him laugh at my silliness, I could sing to him, I loved painting and art and I could make him lovely cards, I was keen to listen to his childhood stories, of my grandmom, of how he single handedly worked and studied to take care of his family, of his brother and sisters, of how he was the school football champion but couldn’t afford to compete at district level, how he met my mother, the struggles they endured… I knew all later on but I wanted his side of the story.
Only if he had allowed a bit, I would speak to him about my future, my dreams, my partner, my fears, the people I met or want to meet…
Today, I do not feel any kind of guilt, or remorse or anger, there is absolutely no ill feeling.
The day I saw him lying on the hospital bed with tubes coming in/out of his mouth, wires stuck to his body, machines filling up most of the room, buzzing, beeping, echoing…it was the first time I felt compassion towards him. I broke down seeing him unconscious, helpless and for the first time felt I needed to protect him.
Today I look at my dad with a lot of love and compassion. There is a degree of softness to his words and he speaks a lot more to me. He calls me up when he is upset with mom and to me it means he trusts me enough to settle their arguments. He calls me ‘dear’ which I have never heard him say while I was growing up.
He probably thought that is the best way to parent and though I have no resentment, I have missed a lot growing up and really wish he could have shown me a bit of his other side.
Because we realised, after all these years that I am so much like my dad!