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On The Father's Day

We like to believe love to be just and uniform. But it isn't. We do not love all the people. We also do not love those we love, equally, at all the time. There is some kind of grading system in love and we love different people differently. It may depend on our general outlook and the way we look at various relationships at one point of time. There are some relationships which emerges out of nowhere and overwhelms our being and all the other relationships.

Fatherhood has been one such love for me. Before we had my daughter, six years back, I never could have imagined myself of ever being in such a love. Many things have been said about love. In love, one person loves and the another allows to be loved- wrote Somerset Maugham.  I loved, I loved with vigor, with an angry, audacious passion, but I never could give my last inch into the love that I had begotten into, ever. That one last inch, that last bit of me, always remained. And then I became a Father.

Unlike any other forms of love which begins with attraction, infatuation, affection, communion of thoughts- fatherhood begin much earlier than the object of love actually arrive on the scene. That is the purest of love, for it transcends the basic requirement for love to happen- the definition of look, shape, size, colour and even gender. This does not happen in a moment, does not descend suddenly when you hear the first cries of your child. The child lives in your mind, breathes in your soul- even when unknown and unformed. That is the embryo of thought which men are blessed with, in our minds.
 We are often unaware of the child that breathes in our consciousness, unknown to us. But our entire life, love that we fall in and out of, is propelling us to that child. At least that is the way it was for me. I wrote somewhere earlier, Fatherhood is not an accident of nature. One can be a father without embracing fatherhood, which is a pity. On the other hand one can embody fatherhood without biologically bearing a progeny. Fatherhood means many things, benevolence, grace, love and essentially a conscious strive towards becoming a better person than one is, at this moment, at any moment. 

It wasn't on 16th of May 2008 that I became a father, it wasn't even on 27th of August,
2007 that I became a father. On 27th of August, I had first heard you there, the quick heart beats as if you were scared of coming into the world, with all its ugliness. And I could only mutter assurances and offer promises of the grand beauty of life which survives all its squalid sadness. I did see you sometime in December 2007, resting your face on your palm with the grace of a ballerina on the monitor of Ultra-sound. 

I somehow felt as if you smiled at me, and felt suddenly deep in the debt of your mother for giving me something so wonderful. I had no clue if you were a boy or a girl at that time, though I did hope that if you could be a girl, it would be really very nice. I do not know why, I thought it would round-off the rough edges that I had, bring out the softness from my heart, long I thought  to be dead, in the harshness of relations I had seen till then in a young age. I remember, walking into the nursery on 16th of May and saw along the walls all those little creatures lying with tubes running in their tiny arms. I saw you and saw you throwing those tiny arms in the air as if trying to catch some butterflies, with your eyes covered under the shade. I thought to myself and prayed and hoped and wished if this girl throwing her tiny arms could be mine. I had walked to you, and fearfully, I had turned the plastic bracelet to read "B/o (Baby of) Seema Suryesh" and I let a prayer for your mother leave my lips and almost saw a magical wisp rising to the heavens thanking the Gods . That night, I held you in my arms and slept, for the first time holding you, but I did not become father that day. I had become father long time back when I softly had looked into your mother's eyes and imagined how someday our kid would be. I became father long time back when I started looking at myself with your eyes and tried to judge myself, improve myself, refine myself. 


You came into my house and made it a home. Through the day, you would sweep off all the silences with your incoherent sounds and fill the evenings with music. You would welcome your mother and me at home every evening when we would walk in back from the work. You woke me up to the magical things in my heart and my mind and prodded me to write them. It is you that I write for, so that you may know all those brightly coloured, happy things  and some not-so-happy and grey parts of my life, when I am long gone. It is for you only that I run in mornings so that I am healthy enough to play with you without burdening you when I grow old. 

I learn solitude to learn to live alone with your memories some day when you will be gone, without letting it weigh heavy on your conscience when you would want to be lighter and fly high in the world. Fatherhood overwhelms all my other relations. Everything revolves around being your father, and that is a secret that I would not want you to know. I do not want to spoil you today and obligate you tomorrow. In you, I discover a love that does not want to possess, a love that wants to prepare you for a flight above the ordinary and let you fly.

What kind of love is this that does not want anything? I am happy in your happiness and I remember you through your forgetful youth. I know, in your innocent playfulness, you might not even remember me, but that doesn't make me love you any less. This is a play going on, and with age, we need to step back and watch the young souls dance on the stage, from the shadows. It is inevitable. I will love you always without demanding to be loved back equally. Is that not what fatherhood is? Khalil Gibran, brilliantly expressed it when he wrote about Children-

'You may give them your love, but not your thoughts,
for they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.'


In the meantime, I will teach you to go beyond me, and yourself. Striving to be extraordinary, that is what you are meant to be, beyond the school report cards, beyond the scales on which the world will time and again, attempt to measure you. I love you, my child and that is your innocent gift for me on this Father's day. You urge me to write, to run and to be a better man than I ever thought I could possibly be. That is what fatherhood is to me. And I learn about it even more now that I am fatherless, but then after he is gone, we speak to each other, me and my father, more than we did when he was alive. With you, however, I do not want to wait so long. Let us make a lifetime of chatter around us. 


Comments

IdeaSmith said…
Touching. There are dozens of such posts written by mothers (mommy bloggers!) but there's rare insight from fathers, especially fathers of daughters. Have you seen Yowoto?
Saket Suryesh said…
Many thanks. True, fatherhood is pretty lonely a job. The love which I encounter in fathers for daughters and vice-versa is amazing, at least in my circles, though much silent. I have been told that I write from the perspective of mother, I do not know why. I took it as a compliment. What is Yowoto? Will check that.
Anonymous said…
Hi Saket,
Very well written post. I hope you had the time to check out yowoto.com. If not, here's the link: www.yowoto.com. I'm the editor, so forgive the excitement when I see people recommending it to other people. :)
We'd love to share your post. Do let me know if that's okay. I'm available on sonali at yowoto dot com. Cheers!
Saket Suryesh said…
Thanks, sonali. Mailed you.

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