Why is a hug the best gift I can give my father? well, the reality check is I can’t.. he passed away almost 7yrs ago. Even if he were live I would not hug him, because he was a person who was very particular about personal physical space.So I do the next best, I hug him with words. That way I can still feel precious, and protected.
My mother insists her father was the best ever father, and my daughters are busy arguing with her, I refuse to interfere because I know both are wrong, it is my father is who is the best.
Simone de Beauvoir in her book woman destroyed says that “Fathers never have exactly the daughters they want because they invent a notion a theme that the daughters have conform to.” Well I am not sure, but I grew up learning from my father.
I do not remember my father taking me to school on the first day of school, it was not done those days, my grandfather escorted me, because I was with them, I do not remember my father teaching me how to ride a bike, again fathers those days didn’t we learnt by ourselves. of course my grandfather did help me out initially. But my father did tell me the best way to climb trees and roofs. He also told me how to walk on the roof without falling, though he never demonstrated it.
So why do I think my father was great? Why is he my philosopher and guide, Yes, I deliberately omitted friend. he was a friend but not a peer, those were days, that there was no way any true man was going to let children live around him in his house and not discipline and teach, fight and mould them until they know all he knows. His goal was to make them better than he was; being their friend was a distant second to this.
The greatest gift that my father gave me was the gift of acceptance, accepting life the way it was, more important accepting myself. He taught me. I remember one day he took me around showing me the successful people in town and telling me, this is this persons greatest achievement and this is the that quality that let him achieve it, and this is weakness, now you need to know what is your aim and what is your strength that can get you there and your weakness that can pull you down. He taught me life was about balance and life was about priority. These priorities he reminded me changed with each stage of the life.
He taught me to look at the greater story this whole concept of focus, didn’t make sense to him, he was about the big picture and taking small steps.
He created benchmarks for me and gave me the tools to go over it, yet he gave me the freedom to try my wings. I had the assurance that if I needed help he was there, but I had to ask.
During the last few days of his life, i went abroad for my second international conference and first ever trip abroad, it was SSEAR conference and my paper was on “spirituality its presence and absence in disease.” When I returned he made me share the entire experience. He then told me where I would have to walk to go further. Though I did deviate from what he said, I kept the general direction the same.
Then there was this last conversation, “You do not fall into the conventionally accepted pattern, I am glad that you have the courage to be you and pay the price of being who you are. But remember it is not easy for others in your space, they are still trapped by the boundaries of convention.”
The saddest moment in my life, was when I had to sit next to him, and tell him, ”Papa, if you have to move on, don’t let me hold you back. I will be fine, and I will ensure that Amma is fine.” A fortnight later he passed away on Guru Purnima.
Strangely he is very much with me, I still converse with him when I need guidance. I still follow his advice. I am one of those daughters who are blessed with fathers, who loved, cared yet were detached. A father who did not create an image of an ideal daughter but accepted who came into his space. He groomed my thinking, my creativity and most importantly he gave me his ability to empathize dispassionately.
“I am participating in the ‘#HugYourDad’ activity for <a href=’https://www.facebook.com/VicksIndia’ target=’_blank’>Vicks</a> in association with <a href=’http://www.blogadda.com/’ target=’_blank’>BlogAdda</a>.