Lives Less Ordinary

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The Provider , the protector, The Prankster a letter to Dad – Happy Father’s Day

Post ’91, post liberalization, post modernity, a time when Archie’s defined lifestyles, with movie posters and giant greeting cards made its way into our lives. The card industry were buoyed by the spew of days hurriedly borrowed from the west and popularized. The emotions churned on the Mother’s Day and the sensations abuzz on the Valentine’s Day. And the Father’s Day, not backed by data but intuitively felt quieter then. Cut to now, and the days wean into my daughter’s school project. And on Mother’s Day I can’t remember the school doing much. On Father’s Day, the children and the father were to go to school to spend time on a project, creating images in kiddie t-shirt with acrylic paints and vegetables. The reason apparently, being the schools finding the time spent by fathers bonding with children a tad to much lower. Although the status quo is quite the opposite in our household, the two had much fun in team work and I came home to finding my girl wearing her newly minted t-shirt with her night pajamas, explaining to me in much detail with pride, the process that went into creating the outcome. In all my years we have had Father’s Day, I can’t remember wishing my father. Krishma has gone about with purpose therefore, egging our own lives less ordinaries, Bindu to write a letter to her father and Navin to write a letter to his daughter. In a little twist we also have Srikant, he and his daughter together make LLO’s imagery of bringing up children, write a letter to his daughter to give us perspective of the father’s point of view.

 

Navin – Nain

 

Dear Nain ( navin to his daughter)

Months before you were born, we were sure that we wanted to call you Nain, not even knowing whether you would be a son to us or a daughter. Both of us were Ok with either, though honestly your Mum was secretly yearning it to be You. I thought of the name, because it was my name minus the “V” as in “we” and it could hold good for either boy or girl.

Though nurtured in your Mum’s womb, everything that you did as you grew, from toddler to a near ten year old today, seems to reflect a lot of me. Mum also says that I must have looked exactly like you when I was small, since I don’t have any pictures to share of my childhood. Everything that you do, from the way you lie on the tummy at sleep, or curl your foot fingers when they hang, or even become the centre of attraction amidst a crowd…Mum says it’s so much like me. And at times when she wonders how is it possible that though you were given birth by her, but yet have so many of my transfers. She has always given you all her time and attention, and I have given you far little in comparison. Yet, we manage to attract, and get along like friends and you get the maximum thrill at small things in my presence. And when I smile in glee at all of that, and Mum wonders…”how ya, what have you ever done”, I simply reply “it’s the purity of a child’s heart that she sees through a nice soul”. That must really put her off, I’m sure.

Our holidays have always been fun and that’s when we have really indulged each other. Many a time, all feel that you’re an incarnation of my mother, the way you take care of me, and remind me and never ask for extra….attention or material things too. I think even a whimper or a grimace of you, makes my brow grow wrinkled within because never have you ever given a reason to let the smile go away. Stay that way always. In your happiness is true pleasure for Me and Mom always. And remain the way you are, it’s only me that has to look to you, and realise that every day is “Fathers Day”. You complete our family and we make music, the Ta-Na-na way, else it was just TANA!

 

Srikanth – Shriya

 

Dear Shriya ( srikanth to his daughter)

I’m all smiles writing this letter, because I know you will not be reading it now. Yet, I write so that when you grow up, you will come across this letter and remember our days of little war, love, friendship and more.

As you grow, you will realize that life is not is not like honey and flowers. Human beings are an interesting lot; you never know how one will behave under trying circumstances. I’m not going to give you a gyan on that for the moment. Rather, I will write about what I think you can do when you grow up.

Do you want to drink/booze? I have just one advice, whatever you do, don’t let the substance control you. You know that I drink, but I never drink to a level where I don’t lose the sense of who I’m. I don’t drink and walk around to make a fool of myself. I stay in my senses and for that, people respect me. What’s better? People respect those who don’t drink at all. It is considered as an amazing ability to control ones desire to drink.

Don’t smoke. Okay, I didn’t leave you with any choice. I never smoked in my life, but that’s not the reason I’m asking you not to.In my childhood, I made a pact with two of my friends that I will not smoke. I don’t remember why we made the pact but I held on to that word to date and I’m proud of it. The issue with smoking is that it will kill your lungs. While I don’t care much about my lungs, I care about my fitness. You know I’m a fitness freak. For running marathons and take part in physical activity, you need your lungs to be at the top quality. One reason why people start smoking is to look manly or to be accepted by the work. Today I realize that a non-smoker is more a man that one who smokes, because I have the mental ability to control a desire.

Travel and have fun. When I was in my early 20’s, the maximum distance I travelled alone was about 300 km. I don’t want to confine you to that limit. I want you to explore the world. See different culture, learn from them. See places; know what differentiates them from us.

Don’t make your life about work. Make more than enough money you need for a month by working just 10 days in a month. Rest 20 days is purely for you. My generation was bought up saying that we need to study to get good marks so that we will get into good university and later a good job. This formula doesn’t work in the current world you are living. At young age people start making money and you should too. Save 30% of whatever you earn and spend the rest of it. Enjoy life.

Well, hope you like what I’m saying to you. Adios my little girl

 

Bindu

 

Dear Dad ( bindu menon to her Dad)

It is again that time of the year….memories of you I hold so dear…

Miss you each day of my life….thoughts dwell with so much of strife…

I wish with you I had little more time….because our bond is ever so sublime..

All the lost moments are never to come again…the thought of which gives me so much pain…

I hope and pray you are happy in the other world…and your soul with liberation is impearled…

Each time I look up at the star studded night…it is your smiling face that flashes before my sight…

I know you are up there watching over me…..guiding me…loving me….protecting me….

I know you would never want to see me sad….for you are to me the best ever dad…

Being away from you has made me feel…how caught up I was in this lifes wheel…

I wish god was a little more kind… and had let me tell you the love I had for you in my mind…

It is again that time of the year….memories of you I hold so dear…

Miss you each day of my life….thoughts dwell with so much of strife…

It’s that day that your reminisce a part of your life so close to you and a integral part of yourself..memories of a man whose hand was forever on your head…whose shadow was with you no matter where you are..the presence of whom made you felt loved protected secure….remember the times when he held your hand so tight walking down the crowded lane…remember the times when he perched you on a shop counter proud to show you off to the world…remember the times when you were sick and he would check on you ten times during the night and you pretend to be asleep….remember the grin you had when he asks for you the first thing when he comes back from work…remember the roasted peanuts he brought every other day just cos you loved it….remember the times he covered up for you and sided you against the whole world…remember the time that had sparks of arguments and yet you knew that no man could love you as much as he does….the phase when you felt he was wrong…and the phase that you realize that he can never wrong you…and this phase when you wish he was around and you could tell him all the things that you could have…should have…miss you dad !!

On a date that is today… I liked it more when it was day…

As night drew its curtain …thinking of you was certain…

Your soft grip of my arm as a kid…fond looks in your glance not batting an eyelid…

To me you were my first love… Still sitting high above…

My first hero.. The only hero…to your memories I bow…

You are the best one could have had… Miss you … Dad…

 

Ash

Dear Dad ( Asha to her Dad)

My father, my giant teddy bear of fuzzy cuddly love, beaming at me with a twinkle in his eye. He is my Santa Claus, my friend, my philosopher, my role model for the passion he exudes for his profession a decade after his retirement, publishing papers in the fishing chimes, terming himself tunapillai, the field he specialised  in, telling himself of the life and times of fisherfolk and their families and lives being fully invested in the body of work he has spent his life developing. Of My abyss of calm  at some times and the eye of the storm at others. My earliest memories of him were when I was about five, of him calling “om kreem”.

Magically with a dramatic wave of his hand, my pencil or my eraser that I’d misplaced, he’d pull out from thin air while I’d stand wide eyed.  Of another time when my father was the chief guest and I was awarded a prize. Of my love for everything food which comes entirely from him, making sushi popular with me at a time when  it was grotesque raw fish in the mainstream, having acquired the taste for it in his stint in Japan in the 70s.  My love for country music, Malayalam poetry and theatre. Am thinking of him, awash with a tidal wave of happy childhood memories, visiting his office and sitting in his cabin. Of being dropped in his scooter for a 6 am class. For instilling the value of money ..”a conversation that played out.. Acha would you have the money for a rubber”. Of buying me a computer. Of not getting satellite tv until after my 12th. Of him sitting me down and taking me through the reason to take up commerce and not following his path of being a scientist, the best decision made in my life in hindsight.

Of instilling the respect for People irrespective of their backgrounds and religion, inviting everyone from the man who would come to cut grass in for tea, of taking me to a Christmas lunch to mathew uncle who officially taught me to drive and who used to drive the office jeep, of Eid biriyanis celebrated at home in minicoy. Of experiences.. Of taking me to thattu kadas, dhabas, at a time and place when it wasn’t respectable to do so. Of wanting me to experience a flight when I was fifteen. Of urging me to drive on my own. Of encouraging me to go meet my spouse on my own in another city in the middle of the night at a moments notice  as recently as a few months ago, when my child was with me, sending me away with money for the road, at a time when my mother was telling me my baby will miss me and it isn’t fair on her. Of his zest for life, of his bouncing back time and again from multiple medical complications, of his getting out and about, the next day, after a stint in the ICU. Of his love for animals, and a childhood memory he shared of his father administering corporal punishment for crushing ants in the tree that he was sitting on.  Of his knowledge of the ancient arts and mythology and the wonderful insights he shares leaving me spellbound. In my mind am what I am because of him. But I haven’t really managed to take the time out to acknowledge and appreciate him enough.

 

 

The yin to my yang in the parenting world, my husband infuses the laughter and the play while I am serious about her eating healthy and behaving responsibly. I’ve enjoyed watching the two of them together, him changing her diapers, of cleaning up her puke putting her on the top of a car, of roughing up and the early morning cuddles. The world’s a better place because of fathers. Please take the opportunity to thank yours and your child’s today on our behalf.

 

Happy Father’s Day

 

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