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Dads can be the best! And Indian Dads? They can be a category into themselves. Roopa Prabhakar writes an inspiring post celebrating them.
“I used to make merry of the over-protective nature of Indian Dads but I have not done so of late!”
Due apologies to Arthur Conan Doyle for misquoting these stolen words. Sherlock Holmes made fun of women and I of Indian dads for the sheer paranoia and shortsightedness they seem to develop when it comes to their daughters. However, over the years I have come to appreciate all the worry and heartache that they go through when helping their darling girls find a place in today’s ugly, almost misogynistic world.
Most Indian Dads get handed a pair of rose tinted glasses once a daughter is born. They are completely convinced that the mould was broken once she was made. It’s uncanny how the same set of chauvinistic rules that they apply to their wives get turned on its head when it comes to their daughters. They turn into radical feminists foaming at the mouth if there is even a shadow of doubt that their little girl’s rights are being denied and this can be anything from career to marriage to politics to even a place in the School Debating Club.
How can that stick of a boy with a bad case of the sniffles be better than his pretty princess? It’s another story that the princess might be shrieking like a banshee and has bunny teeth with a uni-brow.
The big surprise here is that all of this is coming from Indian men who get a women-are-the-weaker-sex vaccination shot at birth and get booster doses all throughout their adult life. How does one explain this inexplicable phenomenon? That’s when the Indian Dad walks in.
He is a mess – a weird mix of traditional, liberal and modern with the proportions changing drastically at different stages of a girl’s life. He walks a tightrope trying to balance his daughter’s feelings which is always a combination of fear, respect, love and a little hatred for those confusing teenage and tween years.
He takes an unreasonable and immeasurable pride in any achievement, small or big, in his daughter’s life. I distinctly remember, one time when I received a trophy in my tenth grade, I saw my dad in the sea of parents across the hall sitting up ramrod straight all puffed up with pride. It would have been comical if it were not so sweet!
They become your best ally when trying to fight any real or perceived injustice. You rammed your vehicle into the guy’s car? What business did the stupid man have parking it there?? He was definitely up to no good! You see where I’m going?
Also remember, Indian dads feel or rather know that the whole world is out to get you, TRUST NO-ONE is their mantra especially in your teenage and tween-age years. The boys you grew up with suddenly turn into Villain No 1, Useless No 2, Hopeless No 3, and so on. The girls you used to play house with and who now wear short skirts are distanced and the phone calls you have with them are monitored. He smiles at the Mills and Boon on your desk but scares himself to death if you don’t return before six. His rules are cast in stone and because of this your social life is below freezing point.
But one fine day, when he feels you’ve grown your wings and he has indoctrinated you with his own strong set of beliefs and a swear-by-this moral code he pushes you out of his nest. He cries himself hoarse egging you on to soar higher and settles back a little scared and a little happy but content to know that he gave it his all.
Indian Dads know exactly how bad things can get for their daughters but they fight valiantly and manfully, second guessing every hurdle that might come your way and preparing you for the worst. His demands on you are sometimes outrageous – be the obedient and dutiful girl, the focused, daring and risk taking career woman, and the loving, caring mother all at once.
And the worst part of it is that, he truly believes you can achieve all of this and so much more. And just maybe it is this belief that makes you face every day of your life that much more confidently. If a woman shows a man what loving, caring and sharing is all about, it is also a man who shows a woman what confidence, self-belief and staying strong really is.
A salute to the Indian Dad and a double one to mine! May your tribe forever increase!
Image source: Indian father and daughter by Shuttershock.
Roopa Prabhakar describes herself as a mother, a working woman, a closet feminist and blogger.
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