Fathers & Father Figures
9News.com an American TV channel announced on this eve of Father's Day that according to a recent poll released by RetailMeNot.com - Dads just want time with the family.
In this frantic world, time has become the most precious commodity. It's not just 'Dads' but all of us would want more time.
As a child I remember before the academic year began my dad sitting for hours and helping us cover all our books so neatly. All four siblings would wait patiently for our individual monthly treat of 'Coca cola' in a 200 ml glass bottle or 'Joy' ice cream in a plastic ball container. The wait for the annual movie he took each of us on our birthdays seemed so long that we thought we hadn't celebrated for several years.
I've had the good fortune to have several father figures in my life. Having lived with extended family, my dad's brother has been an integral part of my growing up years. Once, I was upset that my dad and other family members did not keep to their promise of taking me on a planned outstation trip, my uncle asked me to pack my bags and off we were, much to the surprise of the others who had left me behind. There was Richie uncle who visited every summer to check on us in spite of having five of his own kids and being busy at work.
I've also been blessed with good neighbours as father figures in the absence of my parents who were working abroad at that time. One father figure neighbour, 'Jacob Uncle' assisted in our school essays and signed the report cards. Invariably, I handed out the report card as he was ready to leave for office and did'nt have much time to go through in detail. The other neighbour, 'Mendon Uncle' tapped the window on his morning shift to work with a cup of tea through the window bars as a morning alarm to study. He has no idea till date that several times I had snoozed off after a nice cup of tea.
Another father figure I remember very fondly is my friend Meenakshi's dad. Being a doctor he was concerned about our healthy diet. On many sleep overs at her place, he made sure we had a cup of milk and a banana before retiring to bed. The comic part I recall is when we were both sharing a Harold Robins' novel, a so called 'Adult' book at the time, he suggested to ask for help in understanding the story. By the way, we were 18 or 19 years then.
And of course in my tween and early working years, I cannot forget my Angle (Pronounced as Aangley) Kaka and Unna who played pivotal roles as father figures. If at all I served for thirteen long years in the airline was because 'Angle' Kaka shielded me from most 'angles'.
My beloved Unna filled the gap where my dad left, after his demise barely three months before my marriage. I can vividly remember Unna on his cleaning spree during our London posting, celebrating our house warming and most importantly, being part of the biggest event in our life - welcoming our daughter's arrival.
Last, but not the least, my-father-in-law steals the show as a father figure. If for any reason I can be called a decent cook, is due to my F-I-L's meticulous methods. Almost, like an engineering feat. A man of few words, I cannot forget his warm smile and hospitality to a fault.
Now, comes the turn of my daughter's father. He is the apple of her eye. (Both her eyes actually!) Couple of our friends have commented on his T-shirt collars gone round from being pointed as he has willingly allowed her to chew on them while fussing her on his lap. He has let her paint his big toe with glitter nail paint just so she can pick out the stars from the paint and put on her nails. He has taught her multiplication by skipping on the tiles in our home. The neighbours I'm sure felt the tremors.
Now in her teen years every pimple that erupts causes him grief and shrinks his wallet.
His detailed planning on our recent holiday has put her father on the highest pedestal. My husband had noticed that she would often change the wall paper on our desktop to display the world's tallest buildings, waterfalls, fountains, etc. as she had an affinity towards heights. No camera could have done justice to the gleeful look she gave her father when she looked out of our hotel window over looking the Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur. It reminded me of Shah Jahan, the Moghul Emperor who they say admired the view of Taj Mahal from his window, as this girl of mine didn't let us draw the curtains at night. She fell into slumber just staring at the beautifully lit building. All credit to her father for having gone the extra mile to ensure she got that view.
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to all the men in our lives. We couldn't have done without you guys! (Pun intended) Let us pledge to give them all the time they deserve.