By Dwaipayan Chakraborty,
Happy Father’s Day.
Never wondered about going up to my father to wish him a “Father’s Day” as it would seem a very formal gesture. But this is also true I never told him how big a support he has been throughout. Through this piece I would like to take the opportunity to tell him and everyone how significant he is in my life.
As like most families, my father was the sole breadwinner, until he retired from his services. But if I look back at the days of my childhood, the earliest memories between us would mean that I was dead scared of him. Rarely did I speak loudly when he was around, never did I ask for any extra favour. The reason of such a scare was his strict behaviour & rigid attitude. Any mischief never went unpardoned. The discipline ranged from a slap to a heavy beating in order to drill the right thing in my head. Gradually this fear created a distance between me and my father. In his presence, I could never be myself, kept silent most of the time. My mother was a friend, and my father often, a stranger.
There were a lot of things I wanted to tell him, share with him, take his opinion, but that uncalled for distance never let me do it. From school to college and on to a professional field, the distance persisted. At a later stage he probably understood my uneasiness and often openly asked, but every time I ignored it saying everything was just fine. He was a good student, and I being a moderately ordinary his share of disappointments with me was evident. Yet somehow I have nudged my way through all of these and become the sole breadwinner for my family. It does give me a sense of pride to take over the mantle from him.
It is this retirement period of his where I understood what actually he meant to me. However unbelievable it might seem but it’s true that standing toady I can speak my mind to him without any fear. The person twenty years ago and the person now are a lot different. He has become a lot more patient, surprisingly an ardent listener too. Sometimes I wonder what if this had happened earlier, my attitude, his life; our family’s future could have been a lot different. Even after all such minor complains, I have no regrets at all.
As I now work in a professional field, I understand how the office hours take a toll on the mind and body. Now I understand why he used to get irritated when mother used to ask me to take me to the field after returning home. Now I understand how difficult it is getting frequent leaves for family commitments. The fact that he was a strict disciplinarian has shaped me into a cultured individual. At that time restrictions seemed cruel, but now it seems those are required in order to lead a healthy and sound life. He knew my mother was soft on me, often pardoning my mistakes, so he was very strict, balancing it prudently. Agreed he sometimes went overboard, but all that now seems acceptable. I remember he toiled hard, rarely taking holidays and trying to accumulate as much as he could, all for our comfort. From school books to cricket bats, though he never bought me myself, but asked my mother to give me everything I required. I regretted that as a family we hardly had vacations, but today we have a moderately spacious house in a metropolitan city, which does require savings over a long period of time.
A transition from a boy to man, has made me realise what a father means to a family & to his children. Now while I am finishing this piece, I wonder how comfortable my life has been, mostly because of a silent support existing from behind the curtains in the drama of life.
By virtue of my father, I feel content today. His relationship with me might not be too loud with expressions, but an undercurrent act of endless support.
However formal it might sound but each child should once go up to his father, hug him and acknowledge his presence after pausing to think, what life would have been if this grumpy old man was not around.
Thank you Baba.