Remember that time when we used to mosey around in diapers, always verify the utility of an article by putting it in our mouth, drive our parents crazy by stuffing everything that’s babe-ly possible in our tiny nostrils, pee at the most inappropriate time and place, make our moms do the chicken dance so that we’d eat, give our parents (well, at least mine) cause for celebration when we finally crap after constipating for so long, and refer to ourselves in the third person? We reminisce all of the above on a day when our talk turns to our moms (which initially starts with the sentence, “Oh my god, you will NOT believe what my mom did the other day, I was SO embarrassed…”), we cover all the stupid bitchy things (“My mom is technologically handicapped”), and move onto the complimentary stuff (“My mom’s culinary genes skipped a generation I think”), and move back in time to swap notes on how moms transformed us from stupid toddlers covered in drool and pee to who we are today.
Our family has the messed up sex ratio of 3:1 in favour of females. My dad is a survivor in a home (un)run by three girls (two of which contribute to the un-run part – why thank you I do include myself). Survivor and a HERO. Him deigning to share a bathroom with us itself makes him eligible for the “Hero” title. I have lost count of the number of times he’s screamed from the bathroom, “WHY IS THERE SO MUCH HAIR” (“come on it’s not like we asked our hair to abandon our scalp” – is the usual repartee) and HE CLEANS IT UP HIMSELF. Oh yeah. But do we learn? Oh no. We let our hair fall and clog up the sink, and the floor, and leave it clinging on the tap and walls (I don’t know how alright?) and we will not clean it up. The bathroom’s de-hairingceremony has to wait till my dad gets in.
Oh and the laundry. Yes, we dump it in the washer … and leave it there. Till our dad wants to use it because then it’s HIM who takes out all our delicate feminine things … and um, dumps it on our bed so that it’ll get damp and we’ll HAVE to hang it outside (sometimes he does it himself because he can’t stand it – I know, aren’t I ashamed of myself?). It’s him who helps our mom in the kitchen by doing the manly task of doing the dishes while we girls would do the even manlier task of watching TV with our feet propped up on the coffee table. I mean, a shouting battle would have preceded it but he does it all the same.
I imagine it would have been very difficult for my dad (aside from what’s mentioned above, there are others that I’m wisely choosing not to divulge so as to preserve a part of my residual pride). Whenever he wanted to talk about that “…new mobile phone can take pictures – it’s a bloody camera!” he did it with me because my mom can’t exactly understand the “bloody”- ness of it. I grew up to be The Guy for my dad quickly – watching football, getting excited about electricity conventions, talking about the newest innovation in technology and for ganging up on my mom (tee-hee). My dad taught me the transformer when I asked how a doorbell worked in eighth grade, explained the transformer (and the power distribution system) when I asked about electrical generators in ninth, and said, “Oh, I don’t know too much about it, I learnt it a long time back, didn’t I?”, when I finally asked him about the freaking transformer equation in tenth.
My dad takes us shopping and he politely finds a place to sit while we zoom around with hangars draped on our arms. We try them on, ask each other’s’ opinion and consult our dad and even when he vetoes it (he doesn’t get fashion, nuh-uh – he thinks the waist is somewhere around the stomach as far as pants are concerned) we dump it in the basket. Sometimes he browses and holds up fashion disasters and says, “Won’t this look lovely on you?” and I smile exasperatedly and shake my head. He gives a goofy smile and shrugs his shoulders implying that it’s my loss anyhow.
There is a lot more I could talk about, my dad’s lame attempts at humour at family get-togethers (he does get laughs because he looks all confused when people don’t laugh initially), his outstanding cooking (according to him), him shipping us back and forth from tuitions and music classes, when he stands sideways in front of the mirror and says, “Don’t I look like Mammootty?” (a much worshipped Indian actor), when he entertained my sister when she got bored of dressing up Barbie dolls and stuck hair pins in his hair and a bindi on his forehead, when he bought a dress that could only fit a three year old on my first birthday, and so much more. But my writing abilities won’t do him justice so I’m stopping here.
I have wished him, “Happy Father’s Day, Papa” today and left it at that. He won’t ever read this post to find out how much he means to me (“because frankly I can’t understand your writing, it’s much too English-y”) so this post is essentially pointless. Yeah, I can hear you guys saying, “Well, you could tell him, you know”. But, I won’t. My dad will just be embarrassed and give Mamma a sideways look that says, “Pfft, what is she saying?”
Papa, you rock. Happy Father’s Day.