I was browsing through Facebook before retiring to bed and a post in my newsfeed with multiple shares caught my attention. It read – “Behind every independent woman is a father who trusted her and not the society”. I know this is a blanket statement and may not be true for every independent woman in the literal sense but I could not help thinking about how darn true it is for me. All those who know me personally are aware of how my mom means the world to me. I have always been pretty vocal even on social media about my feelings for her because it’s true that I cannot imagine life without her presence. But, am guilty of not having acknowledged the contribution of the most important man in my life as much as he deserves.
Papa, this one is for you!
Coming from a historically patriarchal family in which gender biases were deep rooted culturally, it must have been a huge challenge for papa to raise me in a gender neutral environment. But, not even once in my growing years did I ever feel that my elder brother had an advantage over me or that he had any special privileges because of being a “male”. I am not exaggerating when I say that I did not realize that gender inequality exists till I stepped out of home and faced the world after school. From the time, effort and money spent on our education to the freedom we were given to enjoy life, all the rules were the same in every aspect for both the children. I was never forced to do any task at home just because it was perceived by society to be something girls should learn. Never did I hear a statement like “How will you manage after marriage if you don’t know this?”. As a matter of fact, marriage was never considered as the ultimate goal of my life during any of our discussions. My father always focused on only two things – one was to ensure I become a self-sufficient person with good quality education and the other was to lead the path for me towards becoming a sensitive, sensible and happy person who is capable of living life to the fullest.
The thing I love the most about papa is that he is like a friend and a perfect example of “Daddy Cool”. When he got to know that I was dating someone at my workplace, he wasn’t panicky about finding out whether the boy was suitable for me or not. Even though my mom kept nudging him about it, my parents first met the boy, my now husband, directly on the day of our engagement. Whoever hears this story finds it uber-cool or hilarious but for me this means a lot of things. It means that papa trusts me, my choices and his own upbringing. It means that he wants to be the guiding light in my life and not a controlling parent. It means that he recognizes me as an individual and an adult with a right to take my own decisions, even though I know in his heart am still his little princess.
It is laudable how papa plays an indispensable role in binding the family together. He is a favorite of every family member including the kids. His endearing personality makes way into everyone’s hearts and occupies a special place there. He has a great sense of humor which leaves us all in splits and his jokes are famous in my friend circle as well. He can strike a meaningful and fun conversation with all age groups. He selflessly puts the well-being of his family above him. After my delivery, he provided unflinching support to me in his own way by managing alone in another city for many weeks. This, so that my mom could be there with me and support me till I recovered and was comfortable. Once it so happened that I fell horribly sick when my baby was around 10 months old. Without a second thought, he booked tickets for my Mom to fly to my place and be by my side. I feel so pleased about the fact that he is the person who first made my daughter smile, laugh and coo.
Papa, Happy Father’s Day to you. I feel so fortunate and blessed to have you as my father and I want to thank you for being you. Because you broke stereotypes, today I am an independent and empowered woman. Just like every day is Mother’s Day, every day is Father’s Day too because of fathers like you.