Okay, let’s put World Cup on hold for one day and dedicate it to our fathers.
Dad, thank you
My dad is no more and he was absent most of the time when I was growing up. My mother brought me up all by herself – my dad was pretty much out of the picture but he tried his best to fit in the picture of my life.
I was schooled in Ipoh while my dad retired dad stayed in my hometown Teluk Intan where I was born and spent 7 years growing up there. My mom brought me to Ipoh when I was 8 and I’d go visit my dad during school holidays until I was 16. My dad retired when I was 7 and my mother had to go to work to raise me and since Teluk Intan didn’t have much job opportunities, my mom moved to greener pastures.
My retired dad wasn’t idle after his retirement. He gave free English and Math tuition to the kids in the Indian ghetto where our home was and I used to be his helper. He also did a diploma in Homeopathy at post retirement. He tried to cure my sinusitis via homeopathy and it eased my ailment for a bit.
My Dad would come all the way from Teluk Intan to Ipoh to take me to the ENT specialist at the Ipoh General Hospital. As a child, I remember my dad taking my puny hand in his large, well worn hand and walk the hallways of the hospital and I’d struggle to keep up with his pace. I was after all aged 8 – 11. He’d listen intently to the doctor and having worked in the medical profession himself, he’d talk in medical jargon and the queen’s English and I’d listen to him, awed.
I was the youngest child for my parents and never once did my dad rebuked me. He never advised me to study well either. His only advice for me was not to talk to strangers and not to accept anything from strangers. His constant fear was that anyone would abduct me and sell me off to a prostitution ring. His worry was such because he wasn’t near me all the time to protect me. I used to leave an empty house to school and return to an empty house from school and the neighbourhood I lived wasn’t exactly a safe one and my dad knew that, ergo his caution. And, it was the same drill until I was 19.
If my dad were there when all the salacious machas were trying to chat me up, he would have made mincemeat out of them. I never told my dad of such harassment and neither to my mother because I didn’t want my parents to worry.
Dad, it’s my turn now
My dad moved to Ipoh when I was 18. He stayed at my widowed eldest sister’s place. He developed heart disease and it was my turn to take him to the Ipoh General Hospital for medical check ups. His walking was slow and laboured so I made him sit on a wheelchair during such trips to the hospital. He’d introduce me as his daughter proudly to the doctor tending to him and tell him/her that I’m a good, independent, bright girl. He clearly took pride in me.
I’d bunk school to take my dad to hospital and call my classmates up to catch up with lessons. I also made time to visit my dad. While teens my age were coupling up and having fall outs with their dads, I was getting to know my dad, spending all the time I missed as a child, now that he lived a stone’s throw away. We chatted many sunsets away and once he expressed guilt for not doing much for me like he did for all my elder siblings. I was an unexpected child for my parents – my dad was 50 when I was born and he couldn’t provide for me so my mom stepped up. That guilt gnawed him no matter how much I assured him that it’s alright, I’m already 19.
A sudden, painful goodbye
Indeed, I was already 19, a poised, self sufficient and street smart lass and my dad decided to leave me now that I’m all that.
One late night, the phone rang and it was my niece, her voice, frantic, telling me to come quickly, that her grandfather is complaining of chest pains. Having my mom as the pillion rider, I sped on my bike to where my dad was. He was taken to the hospital and he breathed his last on the way there and I lost one of the two lights of my life.
My dad’s passing was a bitter pill to swallow. He had provided much and more for all his children but most of them were unambitious and chose to be obtuse in education. A father’s duty is to provide. As a child, it’s your duty to make your father proud by reaching great heights in life. Never blame our parents for our lack of motivation and laziness. In America, once a kid turns 18, he/she is kicked out of the house by their parents. Most Indian parents sacrifice everything for their kids so what’s your excuse? Children are parasites that suck their parents’ blood dry but parents love us like anything. Kadavulluku kude archanai thattu leh kaasu pota tha blessings kidaikum aana appa amma ode blessings kidaike namme avangelukku pulleya porentha pothum, vereh yenthe thaguthi yum theveh illeh.
Indians sometimes have problems showing affection to both their parents and children especially father and son. Keataka, manasuleh paasam iruku.. See, we are not Superman with penetrative vision to see the paasam in the manasu. Display the paasam while our fathers and mothers are still living now. It’s not gold jewelry that someone would snatch away from you once you show it. Paasatheh lock pannathingge, release pannunge. A moment given now will prevent a lifetime of regret.
If you have a living, breathing father, wish him Happy Father’s Day, Trust me it will make his day. He may not show it but believe me, your dad will think of the moment when he first held and kissed you when you were born.
Happy Father’s Day 🙂