Parenting Dad…Happy Father’s Day to Us!

I didn’t realize yesterday was Father’s Day until Facebook let me know! Honestly, what did we do before Facebook? 😛 Not that it made much of a difference once I did know. Have never been one for celebrating ‘Days’. For one it can get expensive 😛 Before you label me an ingrate however, let me assure you that I love my Dad dearly, probably more so now than ever, as the time we have together becomes more finite.

I’ve always been Daddy’s girl 🙂 Mom tells stories of how he doted on me as a child, doing everything he could, even carrying me long distances even when I was 5!! That fact assumes true significance when you know that I was always a ‘healthy’ child 😉 My favorite story is the one in which I’m hurt by broken milk bottles and Dad is telling everyone off 😉 Hearing Mom & Grandma describe it, I imagine the blood gushing from my hands (although the exact details are hazy!), and a river of red all over the kitchen floor where it happened; Mom & Gran having hysterics; and Dad gathering me up in his arms, yelling at them while trying to comfort me and run downstairs to the doctor all at the same time. I like to imagine myself as cool as a cucumber amidst all this chaos! Yeah, yeah…I like to feel important now and again folks, even if it was more than…well, however many decades ago 😉

But I have memories of my own too 🙂 I remember very clearly running up the stairs just after I had got my 10th Grade results. Here in India, 10th Grade is a big deal. It’s the last year of school, after which there’s a public examination (in every State), and one enters college. I had done really well and was among the top 50 students in Goa! I remember feeling nervously proud running up those stairs…wanting desperately to make Dad proud and afraid that I might have still managed to fail him somehow. You know the feeling! I needn’t have worried, as I flung open the terrace door and blurted out my news, the look on his face was everything I’d dreamt of and more 🙂 I remember him hugging me (probably coz we’re not at all a touchy, feely family!) and saying “Well Done!” or ‘Congratulations” or some such. It’s not important what he said. Sometimes I think it’s not even important how he felt. I think the most important feeling that day was how making him proud made me feel! Validated, worthy, proud and loved 🙂 It’s a feeling I’ll cherish forever, one that warms my heart to this day 🙂

Needless to say, I don’t remember Dad ever ticking me off or denying me anything I wanted throughout my childhood within reason. It’s a wonder I didn’t grow up thinking I was the center of the universe coz I certainly was the center of his! Or did I 😉 You guys can be the judges of that! There was one occasion though that I remember as clearly as if it were yesterday, when I threw a tantrum (I was very big on tantrums! They may be best described as flamboyant if you get my meaning! Much to my Mom’s satisfaction, Ishaan is now paying me back with my own coin so to speak :P), and stamped on his newly polished leather shoes! I got a well-deserved whack for my troubles! Dad was very particular about his appearance. He had a large wardrobe of suits and was always spiffily attired! Debonair is the word that comes to mind 🙂

Dad & I...I was 6.

Over the years I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that no matter what I grew up thinking, my Dad is not God. He has his faults and like in all of us, age does nothing to temper them. I’ve also had to come to terms with how much I am like him! It makes me at once very proud and very scared. I’ve inherited his looks, his love for beautiful things; his interest in photography; his generous spirit of giving; his keen intellect and curious nature; his laughter and love of a good joke; his stubbornness; his ego; his love for debate; his mercurial temper and his love for a good drink and junk food 🙂 He’s given me all this and so much more, it’s hard to know where he ends and I begin. And now, when he’s old and tired and spent, I find the roles reversed. I find myself parenting the man who taught me everything I know. I lend him my hands and shoulders for support. I help him find words, find meaning and often himself. I watched like an anxious parent when he took his first unaided steps after the surgery and I still watch him to this day, ready to catch him if he should fall. I buy him the junk food that he once bought me 🙂 and smooth his brow when he’s worried and confused, willing away his troubles, wanting to bear his burdens as he once bore mine. How did it come to this? Perhaps this is the circle of Life…parents’ father children and eventually children father parents.

So on this Father’s Day, I want to say THANK YOU & I LOVE YOU to the BEST Dad I could have had 🙂 and I know that if I can be even a fraction of what he’s been and continues to be to me, we’re going to be Ok.

Love you Daddy! Always will 🙂

A Scary Story

Wednesday morning and it’s almost time for Ishaan to leave for school. Dad is out for his regular morning spin in the car and I open the front door to check if he’s back. Not yet.

Just as I’m turning away, an unfamiliar car draws up in front of our gate. I watch as my Dad alights and in the time it takes him to get out of the car and walk the few steps to our gate, the uneasiness that’s risen inside me, boils over into full-fledged panic. Instantly, i’m on auto-pilot and a million thoughts are racing around my head, buzzing like so many bees, drowning out every rational thought. Why is Dad in some strange car? He’s Ok (this registers automatically as I see him walk up to the gate). What the hell is he doing in some strange car? Thank God he seems Ok. What’s happened? Where’s the car? What’s happened? Thank God he’s Ok! You get the picture. I must confess, ever since Dad has started driving, I’ve been plagued by nightmares of just such scenarios (strange people driving up to tell us that there’s been an accident, that something has gone horribly wrong…), mostly ‘coz his reflexes are now hampered by age and Parkinson’s and consequently his control tenuous. The only reason I haven’t said anything so far or tried to stop him is ‘coz I didn’t want him to lose the little confidence he seemed to be regaining.

The driver of the strange car, an Angel by the name Raghunandan, makes his way over, as my Dad, obviously in shock, tries to explain. “It’s the dogs”, he says, “they’re a bloody nuisance! No need to worry, nothing to worry about. It’s no big deal”, he mutters, as I stare stunned, uncomprehending and not just a little scared. I have no idea what he’s talking about until the angel explains – the car has gone off the road, down a slope and crashed into a tree. A couple of stray dogs chased the car and startled Dad on a slope. The car stalled as he swerved to avoid them, and began to slip down the slope, out of control. It slipped off the road into the shrubbery and only stopped, when the rear fender butted up against a tree. A tree. A savior. Another angel. “Your Dad is very very lucky,” says the speaking Angel as I listen, understanding but not really comprehending, make the right noises and thank him profusely, hiding the trembling of my fingers, sending up thanks to the Heavens, while trying to keep my voice steady and unaffected, coz I don’t want to scare my Dad any more than he already is and my Mom! What on earth do I tell my Mom?

The Angel seems calm & collected. He’s a life-saver and his demeanor calms me down. Eventually we go inside and I tell my Mom, making it seem like it’s no big deal (she receives the news as she now does everything in life, stoically accepting, resigned). At this point, that’s what I want desperately to believe, that it’s no big deal. It’s easy coz we haven’t seen the car yet nor the scene of the event (I still can’t bring myself to call it what it is – an accident). I go upstairs where hubby is getting dressed to drop Ishaan off to school, oblivious of recent events. He’s good in a crisis, my own Angel. He takes charge. First things first and Ishaan is dropped off to school on our driver’s motorbike, sandwiched between him and hubby, which I would never have allowed under normal circumstances. But its difficult to get transport around here and he enjoyed the ride as hubby reports later.

Then hubby and Dad’s man Friday, go off to locate the car and see to it’s retrieval. They have a tough time spotting the car, which is hidden in shrubbery and a long way away from the road. A crane will be involved. The next two hours, those of us at home try and go about our daily routine and make light of the morning, some better than others. Dad has taken it badly but is doing a fair job of pretending otherwise. He watches India versus Australia test match on TV, like nothing’s happened. I leave him alone except to check that he’s Ok and isn’t hurt, and tell Mom to do the same. He doesn’t need us on his case right now. He’s shook up enough for the all of us and then some. Eventually, hubby gets back, and in the car! A surprise and a relief, ‘coz it tells me that things were not as bad as we had imagined (the car being drivable and all). The police used their crane to lift the car up and on to the road for Rs.1500 (about 30$). Both fenders are dislodged and the body has taken several knocks both at front and back. But miraculously the engine is undamaged, thanks to the impact primarily   occurring at the rear end, which is also probably why Dad is unhurt. Not a dent, well, not physical at least. I stand and stare at the car, mesmerized, as if staring will give me answers to questions even I’m not sure of and once again I give silent Thanks for my Dad’s good fortune.


The car where hubby found it.


The rest of the day is routine except that for an ‘out of sorts’ feeling that dogs us. Even India beating Australia in the 2nd test @ Bangalore does little to liven the spirits. I keep thinking and re-thinking of what could have been and though the very thought sends shivers up my spine, I can’t seem to stop. The strain of appearing calm and cool for Mom and Gran makes it doubly difficult. One thing is for sure – No more driving for Dad. I don’t know or particularly care if it’s the right thing to do, but that’s just how it’s going to be. No driving. Not even with any of us in the car with him. Not anytime soon. Maybe I’m being irrational but who says I have to be otherwise?

Maybe this is what’s referred to as a ‘test of faith’ or is that ‘crisis’? Be that as it may, I have my Dad with me, safe and sound and that’s where & how he’s going to stay for as long as I can keep him. Amen.

Heartfelt Thanks to all the angels who kept him harm and brought him home to us safe and sound. I know my brother is one of them 🙂

Am ending with this pic of Ishaan on the bike, ‘coz I would hate to leave you and me feeling morose and if anything can make this better, it’s the sight of my boy on a bike!


Biker Boy goes to school 🙂



Yesterday morning was special…my dad tried his hand at driving again after ages. Frankly, I can’t remember the last time he drove the car, it’s that long ago! He learnt late like me, in his forties and quit when Parkinson’s struck. The tremors made it difficult to change gears and gradually he lost confidence and stopped driving altogether.

So, yesterday morning, when he got into the car and started the engine, we all ran out shocked with surprise! While it’s true that this past year, we’ve managed to get his symptoms under control, we were surprised that he would even want to attempt such a thing! Well, it didn’t stop there. He called out to my Mom and Ishaan and off they all went, chugging hesitantly down the road as my father rediscovered the power in his limbs and the courage in his heart. 🙂 I have no words to describe what I felt then, a combination of pride and joy tinged with trepidation – but all good! Yes indeed, all good! 🙂

They were back in 15 minutes (all of which my Granny spent praying earnestly to every God in her book, to deliver them home safely! So much for confidence in your son-in-law ;-)), my Dad’s face aglow with excitement and a sense of accomplishment. 🙂 He even attempted, successfully albeit haltingly, I might add, to reverse the car back into our garage! We all broke into spontaneous applause when he alighted and it was one of the happiest moments we’ve shared as a family in recent times and one that we will cherish always. 🙂

He may never get back to driving full time, frankly he doesn’t need nor want to, but the occasional drive with Ishaan and Mom will bring them all great joy, I know. 🙂

It’s moments like these that make all the rest of it worth your while…