Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Big Shoes To Fill

As a kid, one of my favorite pastimes was to slip in and walk around in my father's shoes once he got back from office. He used to admonish me and make me take off the shoes… He told that those shoes were too big for me and I would trip and fall. Unperturbed, I'd wait until the next day and the same episode would repeat... I guess I enjoyed wearing his shoes because maybe it made me feel like a grown up when I stepped into his shoes..maybe, for me it was me something like an initialization into the world of grownups…


After all these years, back home, I saw his old pair of shoes and I realized that those were indeed hard to fill... because that pair of shoes belonged to someone who could be rightly called a self made man…Someone who I’ve always looked up to and who I want to be like some day…

When my grandfather passed away, my father was nineteen…and from then, his elder brother and he automatically became the breadwinners for the family…the family which consisted of a mother and seven siblings who were still either in their childhood or teenage years.

He was an ace student but had to give up his dream of being a Chartered Accountant to find himself a job so that he could support his elder brother in taking care of their family. Together, putting others’ needs before theirs, they made sure that everyone completed their education, got themselves into respectable jobs, got married and settled down in life before setting up a home for themselves.

He’s someone who has earned a lot of respect…someone who’s looked up to and someone who’s known as the strict idealist...but for me, my Father is a lot more than that…

My early childhood years were spent at my Mother’s house…and since my Father worked abroad, in Middle East, for the little me, he was just someone who came along for a month or two every year, laden with chocolates, new toys and shiny sparkling gifts. I’ve heard my Mother say that I’d refuse to go anywhere near him during the first few days of his vacation and had to be lured with chocolates. And by the time I was acquainted with him, the vacation would be over and he would have gone back. 

I don’t think I missed my Father much in those years…I guess I was too young…but then by the time I had turned two, Mother and I had moved to be with Father…

He never spoiled me but wasn’t too strict either…he was the more patient one and always listened to my stories. He was the one who managed to get the fussy eater in me to have a complete meal by shaping the food on my plate into morsels resembling funny faces, bird’s nest and airplanes. He was the one who helped me with my homework using creative methods of miming, mimicking and using acronyms to help me remember the important points. He was the one who could discipline me with a look…he’d never raise his voice…a look was suffice to get the bratty me to turn into the well mannered angel. The rare occasions when the stick had to be used to discipline would be followed by a trip to the candy store, toy store and any other store I wanted to go to…

When my sister came along, the six year old me worried that I’d never be his favorite again…but I shouldn’t have worried…he never made me feel any less…and now looking back…I know that he would never have…in his usually perceptive manner, he would have planned how to resolve the issue if it ever arose.

As a teenager, I resented him silently…I didn’t realize it then, but he was the one who pushed me to work hard and use my potential to the maximum…he was never eloquent with words but in his quiet, reserved manner always told me that I could do better, that I was better than I thought I was.

 On the days before exams, he ensured that my sister and I were taken out...for a movie or a dinner or just a walk…he believed that we had to relax in order to be able to do well. Through the years, he gave us valuable advice…to never let success get to our heads, to always take the responsibility for our words and actions, to be polite and kind, to try and be empathetic and helpful…

While in college, he assigned me tasks related to his business for which I had to be responsible…I had to handle bank work if he wasn’t around, I had to take messages in his absence, I had to handle the filing and updating of documents for him…I always felt I wasn’t old enough to do any of it…I preferred to have a care free time like my other friends…but today, I know that if I can walk in confidently into an office and get my work done, that’s because he had taught me not to take a back seat and be a bystander but be the one who gets the work done. 

He is the father who never limited us just because we were girls, he is the father who pushed us to do our best, he’s the father who’d praise us for our achievements only in our absence lest we get conceited, he’s the father who taught us that simplicity is the best ornament to adorn yourself with, he’s the father who emphasized on the value of education…

Also, he is the father who cannot see his children going through pain… and he’s the father who misses us terribly the moment we leave home…he’s the father who’s so sensitive he cannot bear to watch a movie with a tragic climax…and he’s the father who has taught us the importance of sharing our good fortune with others…

I don’t want to mislead any of you into thinking that my Father is the example of the Perfect Man…like any of us, he has his own vices…I have a fair idea where I inherited my stubbornness, the slow, boiling temper which seethes and explodes over time and my impatience over a task badly done from. I know where I get my workaholic tendencies from.  I also know where I inherited my sense of humor, my self-respect and my values from. 

And when I step back and take a good look at him, I realize that he's not just been a good father but has also been a loving son, a caring brother, a sympathetic friend, a romantic husband and a hard working employee. 

He's the one who's got a few surprises up his sleeve all the time and loves to make others laugh with his dramatics. He is the one who believes in leading by example and shown that hard work, commitment and honesty can take you a long way. He's the thoughtful gifts-buyer and the the creative party planner. And he's the one people turn to for advice and support.

He used to call me his friend, and I used to bask in the glory of that compliment. He always told me I was no less than a son and I always tried to live up to his expectations. To be able to win a compliment from him is no easy task, and it was and still is a considered a coveted award by my sister and me.  

 Over the years, there have been several occasions when I have disappointed him, got him terribly upset, and broken his heart...There have been times when we haven’t talked to each other...times when he thought I was angry with him while in fact I was angry only with myself for having caused him a lot of pain. As much as I know my father, I know that he’s never going to complain, and always used to putting others’ needs before him, he’s never going to tell what he wants, wishes for or desires. 

And so…I strive on hoping that one day…some day I’ll be able to mend the cracks I put in his heart…make his wishes come true, make him happy and make him proud.  

And since I’ve also inherited his lack of articulation when it comes to expressing the finer emotions, I use this post to say that “I love you, Father…because you have made me who I am”…

14 comments:

  1. This brought tears to my eyes.

    Great post.

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  2. I agree with Jumble. This is a truly lovely tribute to your dad, who sounds like a dad we would all love to have. He is obviously someone very special, and I am so pleased that you wrote this post. I do hope that he will see it. I'm sure he would be incredibly touched.

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  3. I agree with the above posters. This is such a touching and eloquent expression of your love and admiration. I am sure he will be moved by it.

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  4. Thank you everyone...he is indeed a very special person....Just not sure if he'd ever come by this post...

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  5. This post is so beautiful, caterpillar. Very nice of you to write about your father. It sounds like he is a fantastic father and person. You are very blessed, and I can tell by this post that you know that!

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  6. An awesome tribute to your father. Lovely post.

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  7. Just lovely. I hope he appreciates that you appreciate him :)

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  8. @Christine: Thanks...I agree..we know that we have been blessed with great parents...
    @Odie: Thanks...
    @Baglady: Thanks...it's hard for me or my Dad to be expressive about how we feel...must work on that one....

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  9. This is beautiful....tears in my eyes...you made my heart ache to see my dad...

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  10. I really enjoyed reading this blog post it's wonderfully written. Your father seems like the best father in the world and I'm glad you appreciate him. You're really lucky because a lot of people don't have such a loving parents or they don't have parents at all.
    I'm sure he already is proud of you, because you grew up into a very nice and responsible woman.

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  11. loved the way you've expressed your feelings for your father...can smell your nostalgia..


    http://ayushi-milestones.blogspot.com/

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  12. Thanks people....writing this post made me very happy...

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  13. Hi there, thanks so much for commenting on my blog as it led me here. Loved this post so much. The way you write about your father is wonderful.

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  14. @Happy Frog....thanks for coming by.... :)

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