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When I Was Young I Was Scared Of My Strict Father, Today He Is 90 And I am His Friend & Confidant!

My father never got us expensive gifts like other dads. He didn't take us for trips. The relationship of fear turned into a beautiful friendship as he grew older. Now I crave to spend time with him.

My father never got us expensive gifts like other dads. He didn’t take us for trips. The relationship of fear turned into a beautiful friendship as he grew older. Now I crave to spend time with him.

As a child, when my father came form office I was so scared that I would pretend to study. Now at 90, I am his friend & confidant. Der aaye durust aaye (this came late, but just as well)!

My father never bought us gifts & spent weekends scolding us

Someone narrated a story once about how her dad got them expensive things and their memories include their shopping trips together. Memories of her father indulging her big time. And that got me thinking to my memories with my dad.

My father never ever did those things with me, it was always us gathering our books and pretending to study when we heard him coming in the night, after work.

Weekends were always about him going through our schoolwork and scolding us for not doing well. We could never go to him with complaints, nor counter him or back answer him. Having such a strict parent even taught me how to lie on my feet. Yes, I know those times were different, but was it like this for everyone then?

Today at 90 I am his confidante. But I cannot tell him about my single malt sessions or crib about my hubby!

Now our bond is one of openness and respect. Der aaye durust aaye (this came late, but just as well). I am his confidante, although he is definitely not mine. How do I whine to him about my husband and kids, he is way too conservative in his thinking, unlike my mom, whose perception sometimes seems ahead of us.

If he ever gets to know about my wine and single malt sessions, he will choke and murmur Ram Ram mera sabse samajhdar baccha kya nikla (Ram Ram my most sensible child has turned out like this) .

I remember before I got married more than three decades back, my dad caught me reading a book on Elvis Presley and he said, “Isn’t he that singer who ruined his life abusing drugs? Ye ladki zaroor mera naam badnam karegi (This girl will ruin my reputation/embarrass me).  He chucked that book in the bin.

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Donna Summers was the rage those days, and I bought her record and hid it from my dad. When he accidently came across it and heard ‘I love to love you baby’, he threw a fit. He didn’t know what hit him, he was so livid! I’m sure he never knew such things existed. 

I crave to be with my father!

As a kid I always felt that our next-door neighbour friend had so much fun. Her father didn’t have much resources, so he would pack up the family in his small car and explore the world outside. Here we had no financial limitations, but my dad didn’t have the time nor the inclination for vacations, short or long.

Now at 90, he still wakes up at 4 am making noises as he goes about his routine. My mom imitates him to the T, and he also loves tutting about her to us. Most of the time he would mouth some Vedic mantra or the other and I would sometimes retaliate with Ghalib or Faiz two liners.

Once when I quoted ‘Bol ke lab azad hai tere’ he said-‘why do we need to speak every time and be dramatic, be normal and keep peace’. This had been inbred in me totally, but I would still romanticize revolutionary poetry.

However, the situation now is such that, in my head I hear him say “Ungli pakkad ke tu ab, chalna saath yaara, Unchi hai dehleez, paar kara de. (hold my hand and walk with me. The threshold is high, help me pass it). 

And I crave to be with him.

Image source: Still from Piku

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