Dear Dad, You’re Growing. (A Daughter Speaks)

A daughter speaks of her father's love for her, a love that is reciprocated, a love that can often be wordless, in evocative words that are poetry.

A daughter speaks of her father’s love for her, a love that is reciprocated, a love that can often be wordless, in evocative words that are poetry.

You’re growing dad.
I know you’re growing old with every breath you take,

I know that
You had never before huffed and puffed
Carrying my over-sized bag across the several blocks that separate our house from the watchman hub.
But now you do.

You never batted an eyelid over anything and everything that involved my ‘study time supervision.’
That’s your arena.
You bossed over me and made me toil over a bunch of math problems,
And smiled when my brows crease over trigonometry with concern.
But now you waive if off, you know I’ve grown too.
So have you dad.

So I saw you asleep on your neat pile of paperwork the other day
And when I took your glasses aside, your watch beeped to wake you up for another hour of ceaseless office-work, which would probably stretch to the wee hours of the night.

I see how you crumpled paper money inside your fists
When you unwillingly paid for your walking shoes
And yet spread them like a fan,
And gave note after note with several smiles when I asked you unashamedly for college tuition.

I saw you wading through the Chennai floods,
With your cotton pants pulled up to your knees
And your laptop bag in your back,
Walking every two feet and turning back to wave a placid goodbye,
Softly assuring without words that you’ll be okay
And that you have to get to work even at such a trying time.

I saw you shift a large piece of meat from your plate into mine when no one was looking,
Pompously declaring that you have never really liked meat anyway.

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I saw you, amidst tears as I wiped the mascara off my face,
Patiently talking me out of the scare of a driving misadventure.

I saw you cry,
The first time I told you I didn’t need you to make my decisions anymore,
But you never did admit that you have cried ever.

I’d have left anything for you, Dad,
If you only had the guts to tell me you loved me,
But you didn’t.
So like a rebel that I was,
All the time when you were slaving for me at a desk job day and night,
I was counting the number of ways in which you hated me,
And citing them as excuses
For my brashness that only seemed to grow when no one was looking.

I did grow dad.
But so did you.
You grew with me.
Older and wiser.
And I?
Not so much.

Always standing in your shadow, living in your shade,
And still having the audacity to dream about the day I’d earn a penny more than you.

So when you ankles grew skinnier,
And your eyesight wavered,
One day
I saw you stumble through a glass door,
Cutting yourself and bleeding from the forehead.
And only laughing away,
Blaming the glasses that were misty from too much air conditioning.
Somewhere between the joke that you had made of the mishap
And the bead of blood that trickled to the tip of your nose and held on without dropping to the ground,
I loved you and realised that I always have.
Somewhere between your rigid hugs and our flame spewing fights,
Somewhere between the rainbows and the workaholic nights,
Somewhere between the unforgiving words and supervised math sessions,
You became what I can only be in awe of,
A Dad.

Sometimes I know you have to take it slow
And life will only keep extracting you,
Sometimes I try to tell you that the memories you gave this ungrateful child,
Was a timeless ode to fatherhood itself.
But every-time I see the shadow of a growing dad,
Disappearing even now, for his work
From the window sill,
I remember the morning I woke up to see you wade through the flood to work,
Stopping every two feet to wave a small goodbye, to always tell me, that you’ll be okay.

It’s your birthday today and you’ve forgotten your own birthday,
I know you treasure my presents and stack them safely in your corner of the wardrobe,
And yet you won’t tell me you really liked them.
Wordless love
Travels faster than the speed of light,
And I know your love eats away the extravagant words that would otherwise,
Define love for some people.

I love you dad.
Like I always have.
And from the time I started working on this piece to the time I’ve sat down to edit it,
You’ve called me twice.
I know you’re thinking of me too.
I want you to
Take a break dad,
Reverse the ageing process.
Give yourself the love you’ve always given me.
You are growing dad,
So stop and live for a minute.
I’ll give you all the love the world can hold.
I’ll love you more than I ever have told

Have I even told you?
I often think this –
We have the same wordless genes,
That I never ever had the courage to tell you
I love you.

Image source: senior man by Shutterstock.


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