|Avval Avval ki dosti hai Abhi|
Nonu is away to visit her paternal grandparents. She has left only couple of days back, but the gloomy silence that has descended seems to be century old. The days are old, gray and wrinkled with her thoughts, like dying, decaying sheets of moth-eaten pages. She calls me in the morning today and weeps for blocked nose. Nothing serious, change of weather, her mother tells me. She also tells me that Nonu told her that Baba would know what to do in such a situation. It was a leap of faith for the six year old, who also calls me Bhoolne waala Papu or forgetful father, on account of my absent-mindedness.
She knows that I would have no clue what to do. She also knows that I would have no way to reach out the treatment of common cold to her from Delhi, sitting hundreds of miles away. But she knew that she was calling her father. She wanted to share. A father is that not-so-good looking, not-so-smiling, angel who will have the cure to all our problems. The father is not only a moral compass for the child; it is a sense of reassurance. It is a roof which stretches over our heads. It is the first friend that the child has.
Wikipedia has an objective and absolutely absurd definition of the term ‘Father’. It reflects on the biological definition of the term, which is essentially based on an accident of nature. This is so thoroughly incorrect. Fatherhood, I had written once earlier, is no freak accident of nature. It is an act of wilfully accepted responsibility. It is the fact that from the first time those little palms cuddle around your finger, you let that little hear breath in your body and spirit. That is fatherhood, the song we fathers sing in unison with our kids, which is heard only by us. It is an difficult responsibility and overwhelming reality, a reality which overwhelms every other facets of your life. So many twitter profiles describe the person as Writer/ poets/Actor/ thinker and Father. Rarely have I seen a profile proclaiming being Son/Husband/brother with so much of sincerity. Having had a child to me has always been a path-breaking event, something like the Birth of Christ or World war, splitting the life clearly into two identifiable Before and After segments.
I may not have all the answers for you. I may not be the wisest of all with all. I may not be the strongest man to protect, nor the richest one to provide for you. But I will be your father, and that is something which overwhelms me being an engineer, being a poet, a writer even a human being. I will always be there for you and will offer you hope if not resolution. I always be the one to whom you would always come to cuddle up and grieve when you need and smile when you are happy. Someday, you will grow up and will not need me anymore, or maybe, need me still but will be thrown into ignorance by all the education you will get. I will still be there unmoved like a lighthouse on the lonely shore, for the ships which may not visit it on some days. I will always be there for you. It is not me as a person, who will have answers to all the questions of your life. We all will face our own questions, but when you are tired by these long voyages, I, as a father will be the port of calling for you to rest and heal. It doesn’t matter if I am weak or stupid or do not know the cure for a blocked nose, I am the guardian of your hopes and custodian of your happiness, even when I am long gone. For the power and magic is not in the man who is called Father, it is in the term itself- Father or Baba, as you call me.