Thursday, January 1, 2015

On your 11th

Courtesy: etsy.com
Remember we used to discuss how the owl may turn up on your eleventh, little one? Remember how you vehemently said that it was just all in the books, but secretly hoped that the owl would actually arrive?

We both know Hogwarts is not for real. You, too, will know some day that there is no magic in this world. We are exactly what we have allowed ourselves to become: no more, no less.

You need not believe an ageing man’s words. You will learn with time. I only hope you do not learn the hard way. But then, the best things in life are probably learned the hard way.

It will probably come to a toss-up between wishing you the easiest life and wishing that you become the toughest person I have seen. I would love to choose the former; but ideally I should want the latter.

I am certainly not the greatest father you could have hoped for. I do not wear Raymond; I cannot do those car manoeuvres that would leave you gaping the way they do in movies and commercials; I am a remarkably ordinary cook; and hell, I was scared to hold you when I was allowed to for the first time.

In short, I am not cool. I am not warm, either: whenever somebody tried to indulge you in baby-talk, I was boring enough to point out that it did not make any sense or serve any purpose. I have returned home from work late, only to find you fast asleep. And I have never thought cotton-candy was cool.

But there are things I can do.

I can make horrible puns, for example, that can bring that smile on your face when you feign irritation. I can unveil the world of humour — perhaps the only real magic left in the world — in front of you. Humour is my forte. Humour is our forte.

This also means I can read with you. Given the fact that I am intellectually somewhat challenged we will not discuss Kafka anytime soon, but we can always read Wodehouse together. We will not watch Mrinal Sen together, but an Andaz Apna Apna will definitely happen.

Most importantly, we can watch Doraemon together. Unlike many fathers I do not tire of listening to Doraemon insisting Nobita apologises to Shizuka. That is very important — perhaps more important than being able to cook dishes with six or seven silent letters at the end of their names. Blue catlike robots giving cool pieces of advice rule.

You are smarter than what I used to be at your age. You are also smarter than almost any eleven-year old I have seen. You are more knowledgeable, more mature, and more rational; I am forever at awe at your ability to pick up new technologies, and will continue to remain so.

This post is not the rant of an ageing father. I am sending out a message to you. I have no idea whether you will ever come across this, or even if you do, you will read it. I am not sure, but still, here we go.

There will be a time when you grow up; there will be a time when you will see the world without being blinded by prejudice; you will realise the dimension of the chasm between what you want to be and what the world wants you to be. You will stop being able to identify with people.

I am probably not the father you want. I will not even be the most-loved man in your life, for in a few years’ time there will be a man you will love more than you have ever loved me.

But I can be the “best friend”. Given that you are eleven, a “best friend” is a concept you will understand. I can keep secrets; I am a good listener; and (this may come across as deceptive), I am a very good guide and mentor.

The fact that I am your father was thrust upon you at birth. The moment made me immensely proud; smelling your hair has always made me realise what the word “bliss” actually means; but you did not make a choice. You were not given the option of choosing or rejecting me as father.

When you grow up, when you finally make sense of what is right and what is not, you will have the option to choose me as your “best friend”, your diary. I also come with nice perks, and consumption of copious amounts of junk food is one of them.

It will be a lifetime offer. Even after you reach eleven; or rather, especially after that.

***

PS:

If you ever win that Nobel Prize, I will really call you Bidyunmalala. It is a promise. 

28 comments:

  1. Ovshake, it's new year and you made me cry. Unfair. U r a Father,period. Just loved the lines. I hope she reads them and finds you in them. She has you forever.

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    1. I am really sorry for making you cry, Mohua. But I really hope she reads this some day.

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  2. Such a warm read ovshakeda! This will melt the heart of any daughter, as mine did! Bidyunmala(la) is one lucky little lady!

    P.S .. Cotton candies r really cool :)

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    1. Thank you, Apala. And yes, they are cool, apparently. :)

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  3. Pretty awesome advice and offer. I wonder when she gets to read this. Happy birthday to Bidyunmala!

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  4. Gargi BhattacharyaJanuary 1, 2015 at 8:15 AM

    This was my first read of year 2015. Couldn't have asked for a better one. This is lovely! I really hope she reads this, too.

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  5. Some men are made for fatherhood and I believe you are one of them and are basically a mother at heart.
    More than any other role,this role you WANTEd to play.
    But no matter how close you are to her,there'll be some things you should never know or be told.Those are hers and hers alone.
    And i so like the way your daughetr puts your heart on the line.All daughetrs do.You,though,have an extra-sensitive bone.
    Happy birthday Rubu.

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    1. I do not know whether those are good words or bad ones, but thank you anyway.

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  6. My father game me ncert textbook wrapped in glossy paper on my birthday.I gave him a shaving cream on his.
    Sadly,she won't share your cricket enthu.For that,you need to have a son as well.

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    1. Those are very, very interesting gifts, but the last line is full of sexism.

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  7. That was straight from the heart. I am sure she will read this some day. And you are a wonderful father. :) Happy birthday to Ruby.

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    1. Thank you, thank you.

      PS: She is called Rubu.

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    2. Damn, the auto correct on my phone!

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    3. That is fine. Happens to all of us.

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  8. What a warm, beautiful post. Happy birthday to B. and a happy new year to you.

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  9. "It will probably come to a toss-up between wishing you the easiest life and wishing that you become the toughest person I have seen. I would love to choose the former; but ideally I should want the latter." You gave words to my thoughts... Yes I do relate to you as a parent... u know something... our kids will be way smarter than us... not only good in maths... but they be much better in real life decision making... as they have already seen a lot... :) Wish your Bidyunmalala a very happy birthday :)

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    1. Thank you for understanding. Yes, the next generation is way, way smarter than we are. They are more mature, frank, honest, and unpretentious.

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  10. Belated happy birthday to your daughter :)..Hope one day she will read it and understand its intensity. I have loved this post and will make my father read it. He is going to love it too.

    Today is my first day to visit your blog and start to enjoy your posts. I have added it to my reading list :)

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    1. Thank you for the kind words, Sayani. Welcome to my blog.

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  11. This was incredibly touching. I made the mistake of reading this in office, and my eyes are moist now. Thank God no one is watching me.

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    1. It is okay. All parents go through this phase, I guess.

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  12. Hi,
    You are awesome, this post is incredible and yet so simple, loved your style of writing, I am addicted to your blog.
    All the best

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