Open letter to my Dad

To my Dad,
Happy Birthday, Papa.

Papa, you are my lifeline. You have been the single point of inspiration for my entire life. The virtues you have passed on to me, have been guiding principles for all these years. I try to abide by them as much as I can and I think I have done a fairly good job. Today is your birthday and I thought what better gift to you than writing my thoughts and memories for you to read and cherish.

When I sit back and remember my childhood, I am reminded of your humour. Your humour and carefree laughter would then enlighten the room and land a soft smile on my lips today. I am often told the story of the day I was born. It was Diwali and crackers were being fired, when you got the news that Laxmi has arrived in your life. I don’t know if you expected a son to be your firstborn, but I know that you never made me feel so. In our country, where son and daughter are considered asset and liability respectively, you are a rare gem. You are a proud father of two daughters.

Dad, do you remember teaching me? Lol, of course, you do, but you always deny beating me for not concentrating. I remember. I remember learning from you more than I ever could from my teachers. It’s you who introduced this concept of understanding rather than mugging up without any idea. That’s precisely the reason I flunk in the sixth standard when you changed my school and stopped teaching me. I was embarrassed when you talked to my school principal for promoting me to the next standard. It was the first time I felt that I have let you down. It was the first time I felt that I wasn’t smart enough. But I took that as a challenge and so did my principal. I still don’t know what you told her, but she promoted me and focussed on me particularly from next year. Teachers changed and with the focus on classes, I scored the second position in class next year. I was proud of myself for achieving that, as I am sure you were too.

You always had high hopes for me and when I saw myself through your eyes, I valued myself more. You have taught me as much as I wanted to study. We have this movement of “Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao”, but I think it’s equally important for male members of the society to be educated. Because if they are, they can bridge the gap created by society in sons and daughters. I know mom had an important role to play in my overall development, but you played even greater. Despite your overprotectiveness towards me, you let me spread my wings and study, even if that meant sending me away from home. You did not shy away from that. Your love for me never became a hindrance to your responsibility. I still remember that one time you accompanied me to drop me off at the bus stand when I was leaving for college. But you just couldn’t. You couldn’t bear the thought of me traveling alone on a bus. Do you remember what you did next dad? You came to my college on the bus with me and then went back after ensuring my safety. This is one incidence that is permanently woven in my heart.

I know we belong to a very modest family. With you being the sole earning member in a small town, I knew we just had enough to meet our needs. I knew this all along, but you never let me realize it. Every month, you would ask me, how much money was needed but you never gave me the amount I asked. It was always, always, more than that. I remember mom telling you that you are spoiling me by giving me all this extra cash, but you still did. You trusted me.

I still remember when I told you and mom that I wanted to marry for love. She was devastated. Obviously! A Hindu girl from a small town chose her groom, which was unconventional. Mom was justified in reacting the way she did. We are wired that way by our society, status, and surroundings. But you dad, you were patient. I don’t know why and how you were. I still don’t know how and when you grew into such an understanding Dad or you always were and I never realized it. But that event gave me confidence. Confidence that my dad is going to listen and understand before he is going to react. People today tell me I am very wise and understanding. They praise me for being caring and I immediately relate this with you. It’s you who has made me wise, understanding, caring, and loving. Generally, a child gets this from her mother, but I think I got this from you. You never cared for business when it came to your family’s well being. I have never seen you compromising on this. You have always been there whenever we needed you. Before we knew, we needed you, you came.

Dad, above all the, said and unsaid things, you have been most understanding when I broke the news of trouble in my marriage to you. I was very scared. I wasn’t scared of being alone. No. I was scared of breaking your heart and letting you down. All my life, I have been scared that one day you won’t feel proud of me anymore. I have always been scared of hurting you. I know you have suffered a lot. I could see that. I know that. I just didn’t want to be a cause for any increase in that suffering. But with the way you handled the whole situation, your support, and understanding, I just became your fan. I am indebted to you for bringing me into this world, but this debt is nothing compared to the debt of all these years of love, care, and support that you have extended towards me.

You have raised the bar so high that no one comes close to you. You may have not held my hand forever, but you always had my back. Papa, you have shown me the true meaning of love and care that I can never settle for anything less.

Finally, I would like to pray. If I am ever born again, I kneel before all the Gods of all the religions, to send me as your daughter. I want to be born to the same mom and dad for all my future births if something like that exists.

Your Daughter
P.S. I love you with all that I have. I may not say this as often as I should, but I wouldn’t replace you for the entire universe.

2 thoughts on “Open letter to my Dad

  • January 17, 2021 at 11:51 pm

    Speechless.. proud Daughter, Proud father??

  • January 18, 2021 at 1:59 pm

    Well done riti…
    You wrote all things like an open book…
    It needs courage which you got from your father..
    Belated happy Birthday uncle ji

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