By Tina Agarwal for Twisted Tiara
“It was my father who taught me to value myself”
The proverb holds true for me. I never had a lot of trust in myself but my father always proved to me that I can do anything I set my mind to; he was the one who showed me my worth. My childhood memories are full of unconditional love, fun and laughter.
My first lesson in Unconditional Love
I still remember this particular incident which happened when I was in the fourth standard. I went shopping with my mother at a famous shop called Amarsons at Pedder Road Mumbai. That day was shopping galore and my mom purchased a lot of things, some of them for me too. A mother’s love is wrapped in gentle coaxing, some tough love, and instilling good values through discipline and food. The bond a child shares with their father, however, is unique. That very day while shopping I noticed a piano which caught my attention. It was pink in colour and very attractive, with 5 features. I could sell you the piano with my pitch, I was that fascinated by it. I requested my mother to purchase it for me, but since it was a bit expensive, she refused. My nature from the very beginning is such that whatever attracts me, I always wanted it.
I do not hail from a family of fortune, nor am I an heiress, but my parents have done their best to provide for me and fulfill all my needs and wants. My father had a cloth business and his office was on the first floor while my house on the third floor. After my mother did not buy the piano, I went to my father, crying till I reached my father’s office. It was still office hours and the office was full of people. I walked up to my father and, in between sobs, told him about the piano which I wanted to buy. Now, you may think that I was very pampered as a child, and my father was guilty of spoiling me with love and generosity, and you would be right. My father could not see tears in my eyes so he asked the office staff to get it for me. It has been 30 years and the piano is now lost, but the memory remains; to this day I get goosebumps thinking about it.
A Father is a child’s first hero
My father always has been an inspiration to me; I have learnt a lot from him and his life, full of sacrifices and difficulties. He has not been immune to the trails of life. He is the epitome of strength to me; it was his sheer will power which helped him fight and win against the deadly disease of cancer. Over time, he has also had to overcome a lot of ups and downs, financially speaking, but he never let anyone else worry or even know about it. Growing up I always thought, ‘my daddy is the strongest’, that he never fell ill because he never took days off from work, and that he never had problems because he always had a smile for me.
We don’t realize that in Indian society, there is so much pressure on men to provide for the family, financially and materially. It takes a toll on them too. He was the best provider we could have asked for but I wish he would talk about his problems openly with us. That he could rely on us for support, as we did on him. I learned about his issues much later in life, and I admire him for how he overcame them. I do not know what I could have done to help him as a kid, but I want him to know so badly that he would always be my hero, whether in good tides or long ebbs.
Dad, The Builder
Whenever I talk about my father, I always feel one emotion quite strongly: gratitude. He has always helped me fulfill my dreams and even the smallest of wishes. I cannot forget the time when he facilitated me getting into the college I aspired for, even if I did not score so well in my SSC. He was the one who supported me to follow my passion and pursuing an MBA. My mother, being a traditionalist, wanted me to study Home science and get married. My father was the one who told me that the sky was the limit. My father is very well read and educated.
He holds an LLB from St Xaviers College Kolkata, and that kind of explains why he deemed education to be so important for me and my siblings, and now our kids. He has a great command over languages: Hindi, Marwadi and English alike. Although we speak Marwadi at home, it being our mother tongue, my father always encouraged me to speak English so as to prepare me and give me all the advantages in our dog eat dog world. Today I am a mother, a writer, and a teacher, all thanks to him. He has endowed in me such strong values, that I am able to keep up with the rest of the word.
My Father: My North Star
My father is jovial and so amicable by nature that he makes himself known to all wherever he goes whether at the hotel he stays while traveling or the grocery store next to my house. He has mastered the art of befriending anyone, regardless of age group. I distinctly remember whenever my college friends came home, they definitely had a conversation with him. My father has more than just shaped my personality, he has also been my guiding force and my true north. I look up to him for advice and guidance in tough times.
After marriage every bride faces issues, I did too. When I tied the knot, it was a huge change and drastic adjustment. I struggled at first, but my father always lent me his ears. He listened to all my woes and suggested ways to overcome them. He has been my biggest strength during my whole life, and even today, when I am a mother of two, I still need his advice. Especially when I feel low, I make it a point to talk to him. His voice always calms me down and his words have a certain effect on me; he always tries to build my spirit and that gives me a head start. He has not only fulfilled my wishes and dreams, but also supported me in whatever I wanted to do.
A Special Thank You to Dad
My father is a gem of a person and I’ve always admired him. Apart from all I’ve written here, I am so proud of him. I have seen him age with grace and a positive attitude, which is so underestimated. Today, he is still the guy who takes care of himself and everyone around him. He is officially a ‘senior citizen’, although if you ask him, he is still young at heart. He is particular about his health, goes for evening walks, and even after-dinner strolls. He is very particular about his diet, even though he is a foodie.
The truth is, even our father’s need our help after they cross a certain age. They never ask for it, and they try to stay independent as long as they can. I wish I knew why this is. He may think that he is inconveniencing or burdening me, but for me, it would be an absolute pleasure. I don’t want to take care of him to ‘pay him back’ but because I truly care about him. I am so happy to see my kids grow up with the same love and affection I have been fortunate enough to grow up with. Both my kids love him a lot and their Nanu is their weapon against me, their mother. I must make a mental note on how to deal with my children when they threaten you with going to your maker to resolve issues.
Lastly words are not enough to express my feelings for my father. But I love him wholeheartedly and, on this day, 16thof June – Father’s Day I am thankful to God for such a great father and I would like to wish my Papa a ‘Happy Father’s Day’.
“I am thankful to you for everything you have done for me. If we believe in reincarnations, I really hope and pray to God that I always have you as my father. I pray that you live a very long life with good health and happiness.”