There are so many relations in this world. Of all the relations, I cherish the one with my DAD the most. Why is this father and daughter's bond so strong? Why do fathers cry when they get their darling princesses married? What is this special bond between them which no words can explain? This question lingered me yesterday, all day long. I went into flashback of my life and saw only those moments which I and DAD had spent.
I would say I did not make a great first impression on my dad when he saw me for the first time. He had come down to Bangalore to see me and my mom at the hospital. Dad came to my granny’s house first, only to find my cute not so-elder brother Ashoki playing with his toys and a domestic help to control his mischief. When dad asked my brother to guide him the way, he happily agreed and said in broken Kannada, "Nange Nangi hutidalle" (meaning my younger sis is born, tangi became nangi).Dad came to the hospital and everyone started praising about my then beautiful looks ( God knows when it vanished! Anyways).I had little nose, cute pink cheeks and was very fair. Well dad waited impatiently and nurse held me in her arms and started walking me to the room. I was nervous to see who my dad was and kept winking my eyes innocently (hoping my charms worked on him) and smiling all the way long. He took me in his arms and as the story haunts me time and again, I pooped on his shirt out of nervousness. "Ayyo", my dad said and he thought, "She is going to be a very difficult child to handle."
Well, to great extent yes, I was a difficult child to handle. I was very mischievous and would blame my innocent, sober brother for them. Right from burning the cane furniture in balcony for experiments to teaching my brother how to bunk karate classes in class three, to walking almost five kms from school to dad's office in Mumbai at age of 6 & 8.He has seen me in all the wrong glory I was proud of. But he never punished me for my mischief, why?
In school, I was never a brilliant student. I would fail in two or three subjects in Unit tests and then manage to pass through annual exams. But he never would say anything but year after year take promise from me that I would study hard for coming year. He knew I would not keep up to my promise. But he showed faith in me, why?
He always wanted me to focus on one thing at a time and do it with perfection. I always wanted to impress my dad for some reason or other. Why? I did not know. But he encouraged me to do everything I asked him. There was never a NO from his side, but he would expect me to give him results for that. He gave me all the liberties and freedom a dad can give her daughter to explore and become more independent and confident In a world where girls are still not allowed basic rights of life, he did give me all the lenience equal to my brother, why?
I remember back in those days, every Sunday morning we would watch Rangoli where all old songs were played. I would always get up late and sleep on my dad's lap. He would cuddle me and pat on my forehead and that feeling was beyond words. What was that feeling?
I grew up to become a very aggressive teenager, challenging anything and everything coming my way. My dad was person who took maximum brunt of my reckless behavior. I remember the night I had went to my school reunion and had returned very late. He was awake until I returned and panicked. He could not control his anxiety and waited for me impatiently. Though I felt it was little over-protective of him to do so, what went through his mind at that time?
Dad has always been protective of me. I had fractured my leg once, because I used to put my legs in the cycle spokes. He had rushed me to hospital and did not mind carrying me in his arms. When I did some drama and asked something to eat, as if I had famished and had not eaten for ages, he got me 50-50 krackjack biscuit packet. I finished the whole packet. Why did he give in to my demand, even after knowing that I was the drama queen of the house?
He has been pillar of my strength and someone whom I look up to. Whatever the decisions may be, he allowed me to take it for myself. May it be the line of studies in college or whether to shift to Bangalore immediately after college, he said yes. Countless times I expected him to support and he always did that. He knew where to hold back and where to let go. But how did he feel when I would make such decisions without asking him?
The one time I feared him a lot was when I told him about Anup wanting to marry me. Dad is not a great fan of love marriage nor does he believe that young kids can make such life altering decisions for themselves. But when I did tell him, he took some time, interviewed Anup with questionnaire; which he had prepared (like me) and gave my love a green signal. It took exactly five days to hear a yes and all those days, I wished for is a YES. What made him say yes? How did it feel that moment to know that his darling princess had some new person in her life apart from him?
All these questions bothered me yesterday while watching the movie, "FATHER OF THE BRIDE". Finally I got the answer in another incident in my marriage when he gave my hand in Anup's hand and asked him to look after me like he did; dad had uncontrollable tears in his eyes. At that point of time, I was in a state where I could see all the flashbacks from childhood and never wanted to leave daddy and go with Anup. I started crying like I was never going to see him again.
A father always dreads the day, when he has to send his daughter away forever with her husband. When she is growing up, he is there to see all her mischief, all her drama and all her achievements. Those moments are just between him and his daughter. He fears to lose those moments when she grows up. He is a proud dad when she does something very creditable in her life and when he knows his darling Princess has grown to become a fine woman, a person who can replicate his upbringing.
I am proud of the fact that I am his daughter. I always remember these words which he told Anup, "I am giving you a piece of my body and full of my heart". I cannot explain the depths of these words but just wanted to say my dad, “I love you and I owe my life and happiness to you. I always know that if I am happy, you are happy. No one can take you away from me and I am proud that I am your reflection. YOU ARE MY ONLY HERO."