I think my dad will never grow old. Even if today, it’s a 60– Happy birthday to my dad! Because he won’t ever stop working. And between us we won’t stop being optimistic. About nothingness and things we love. I always have and will be my mother’s child because she’s the most open hearted and well spoken person I have met. My dad is more believable, with human follies and communication gaps, like I am. He’s also the one more likely to drop everything at the drop of his hat, and do something. Many people warm their backsides by sitting, being critical and trying hard to show the world that they do it perfectly. He doesn’t see the world with those “I’m on the high-horse” lens. He sees it through the power of hard work, and the eyes of a doer.
As a child and a grown up, he’s always been the worker bee. He’s never been the one found to be hiding behind statement drama or tough situations. He’s also a feminist which most Indian men in his generation have struggled with. We moved from Srinagar to Jammu in a truck during the terrorism and conflict. The schools were terrible and the dual afternoon shift in the heat was never going to do us much good. Government employees were given job assurances and at the age of 33, my dad was going to get money but had no where to go to work to. His office was unsafe and paradise was lost. My mother found an opportunity through her school to get to Noida. My dad took an entire month off to see what he could do in the Delhi region. He could have stayed back on government support and the fake promise that we were going back home to our rose garden. He could have spent his youth in cynicism going from one government building to another. But he chose not to. He decided to come to Noida, even though he had to start from a scratch. It didn’t matter that the opportunity came through my mother’s job. It didn’t matter that for most people in India at that time, movements were led by men in the house. We grew up in a house full of three girls with an extreme emphasis on how do we create greatness in our professional and personal lives. My dad never said sexist things like you’re like a son to me. He said focus on your work. It didn’t matter if we were married, unmarried or single. Our work /study focus had to remain sharp. His mantra always is, try everything, if it doesn’t work we’ll leave it. Aise hi pata chalega (this is how we will get to know).
Once we were coming back from Turkey and our car broke down on the toll road. While we waited for mechanics to come and tow it away, at 5 am after a flight, we were exhausted. One guy stopped over and asked my dad if he could help and drop us somewhere. While it seems perfectly normal in most places, in Delhi I don’t take such risks. My dad however, in all his goodness asked us if we wanted to get home. Of course I said no, but now that I think of it, I think what he did was far more normal that what we had accepted as the new normal. He believes in people fearlessly, while we all struggle with cynicism and what-ifs.
Naturally, when I decide to do something new, he’s my go-to advisor. Partly because I know, he’s always going to say, do it.
Day 20: 30 days of gratitude project