Some days after a long day at work, me and my husband shoot rapid fire questions, to just break the monotony. My husband gleefully says it helps him to digest the food better. One such day, he questions Best friend? An Instant reply was, Papa. He cheeky smile says – aren’t mothers a girl’s best friend?
It’s true, in most forms, mothers are biologically designed to be a daughters first friend. The solace and the warm blanket of unconditional love cannot be replaced but there is something about fathers. Maybe is the way they become your confidante and your anchor over the years that makes their spot irreplaceable. Most daughters would readily agree with me, Fathers are the first men to love us.
Our relationship with our father, as he would lightly put it – was like a Hitler’s concentration camp. We had a set of rules to abide by. These rules were pretty basic, some of them being waking up early, having all the meals on the table and curfew times for going out. But that was his superficial strict exterior. His soft interior exhibits were – going shopping for us, staying awake the whole night when we felt sick, being the most human form of a speed dial.
One of my choicest memories of growing up remains how my father woke us up early morning. He would pat our heads, massage our hands but also switch on the fans in peak winter. That’s how we know him best, strict on the outside but a softy on the inside. The soft part was perceptible only to his daughters.
At dinners, it was a Sandhu form of KBC quiz- where rapid questions were shot on capitals, history and latest news. There was only one team comprising of my sister, mother and me, no guesses for the fact that we lost all the time, sometimes even till date. A series of choicest sarky fun comments made our way and the quiz ended on all of us laughing. If we ever did answer, his response would be ‘Excellent’. There’s something in the way he says it, even now that we’ve grown up , we have to call him the first to inform of our achievements , only to hear him say it. Somehow it validates our success and increases it several folds. I don’t think anyone can be more proud of their daughters, if it wasn’t for the fathers. You have the ‘best PR team of one man’, jokes my husband often.
The protective element they provide begins right from them teaching us how to ride a bicycle, letting us fall down, only on a safer land to learn the mistake yet not ending up making one. Ironically, on a family vacation, I slipped and fractured my rib on a marble edge, his was the first hand that caught me and picked me up. Quite like life.
For any daughter her father is many things, for us it’s his largesse. One of the most important teachings he gave me, which really stuck with me is’ Neki kar,kooye mein daal’ (do good and forget about it) and the other is to ‘absorb enormous amounts of stress’ of his daughters (sometimes transmit to my mother) and still speak calmly on the phone, reassuring us, but thinking of it during his sleepless nights. If this isn’t eternal love what is.
He’s our ‘warm blanket’ of hug when it’s snowing everywhere else, our ‘speed dial’ when nothing else seems to connect, sadiron to our headaches, and just that silent anchor when tides are high.
They do rightfully say, dads are the most ordinary men turned by love into Heros, adventurers, story tellers and lifelong friends.
If we haven’t said it a lot, we love you papa. There is never going to be another one like you!