This ain’t a eulogy nor a thank-you note but just a few words from the unending repertoire, that can be used to describe this man in my life i.e. my Dad and yet I feel I may have fallen short in doing so. I don’t think a 1000-word blog can do his personality and persona any justice, but this could be as important as how any son feels or as banal as how any son feels. Whatever you may think, dear reader, but on this birthday of his I have made up my mind to make a whole-hearted attempt to address Dad’s one persistent complaint from me – “I lack any appreciation for him.”
As proud as I feel to be his son, to this day I still am fascinated by the enigma of knowing very little about him. Euphemistically speaking, remember the signature style of actor Manoj Kumar i.e. the raised left hand covering partially the left side of his face, his ‘iconic signature thinking pose,’ that became a mimic’s dream-come-true-imitation of the actor? Trying to know Dad, for me, has been somewhat like that expression (Lol!) To be more abstract it’s like to marvel about the making of New Delhi’s Rajpath - standing on one side, of India Gate and looking towards the silhouettes of domes on the other end of Raisina Hill’s horizon, with the path of rows of gardens adjacent to water bodies on either side of Rajpath which stretch in almost mirror-like fidelity from one end to the other, and then begin to fathom that how could Lutyen’s even think of such grandiosity in the first place? Or like the movie Inception’s ending scene – Did Saito send Cobb to do an Inception on Fischer or did Prof. Miles (Cobb’s father-in-law) send Ariadne to do inception on Cobb? Go scratch your brains on that one! Who Dad, the person, really is, is like the biggest unsolved mystery of my life? That enigma surrounding his personality has become even more palpable as of today not only with the coming of time but with coming of age as well.
Strangely with time, you get to know more about someone. But the way he responds to life, it’s like being caught off-guard when SRK gives a string of flops and then suddenly bounces back with an unexpected Chak De! India-like performance, making you scratch your head thinking that “Oh, he has the prowess! How come I didn’t see that earlier?” Strangely, with age rigidity becomes prominent in one’s personality but Dad still possesses this uncanny rubber-band like flexibility not only in character but of a ‘world view’ as well ‘coz if sees perspective, he willingly gives way to his old views and adapts rationally or emotionally to a new view as well. Don't know and can't say whether he inculcated these with experience or was inherited with it. Again a mystery.
As Schopenhauer once quoted, “The sheer grit of a man is determined not by his reputation and his achievements instead by his tenacious ability to bring people together.”
Shit! That is why this extraordinariness in him of making people fall in love with him wherever he goes. My friends are more friends with him than they are with me. Okay, that wasn’t Schopenhauer who said that. I just made that up.
Sadly, we’ve had our fair share of father-son tussles, emotional and psychological, like any other father and son, but one thing has been undeniably certain – I have unknowingly either undermined or skipped perceiving his greatness. Where there have been people who have just not bolstered the nascent dreams of their children, he has let me dream, and dream big I must say. Where there have been people who have their ambitions for their children but have superimposed or even imposed them on their children, he’s given me the space to be ambitious, standalone. Where there have been people who have refused their children, he’s gone one step ahead in encouraging me through his unconditional consent, even if he holds an opposing view. Where there have been people who have succumbed to the nuclearity of our familial culture, he’s been perceptively nuclear yet brought and kept people together. Where things have broken down, he’s always acted like a glue stick.
Slideshow: Dad, 'The Social maniac"
Where the parties have died down, he’s brought them back to life with his macho-ly vivacious aura (I’m jealous of that one, big time!). Where things have been taken and taken, he’s only given and given. When things have been taken from him, he has only given and given.
And this makes me wonder “how does he manage to be like that?” (the thinking emoji)
He’s not only tolerated my rebellious stubbornness but also my diametrically opposing idiosyncrasies. He not only helped me stand on my two feet when I was a baby but has helped me stand on my two feet even when I’m forty. As Alfred quoted in The Batman Begins taking from the words of Bruce Wayne’s father, “Why do we fall? so that we can learn to pick ourselves up.” Dad has not only helped me learn to pick myself up from the rubble of a business’s demolition but also has cushioned all the business blows as well. Unperturbed by the impact he still ‘candidly’ claims to all that “These were my dreams, my ambitions, and my decisions.” standing in the forefront like an invisible force-field absorbing any incoming external attack on me. Well, of course, the old man does get cranky at times. Like one day, still reeling from the pressure of this financial mess, over drinks he tells me “Mayur once the lockdown ends and situation improves, maybe hospitality businesses would be available at a discount. Let’s try to explore the possibility of doing due diligence and buying one or two.” I know he said this so that I don’t feel like a failure at anything.
Bewildered in my mind I still think, “Where does he find this strength to even think like that after all that he’s lost?” (the thinking emoji)
Is this what ‘Dad’-ing is all about? I mean, is this what being a father is all about? If so, then being a father myself, I am leagues and leagues off it. Well does this sound like thank-you note? Hell yeah, it is. Thank you Dad! for being there. I am my papa’s boy, with a sense of pride I might add. I can safely claim that I have been born with a silver spoon and that I am what I am because of him - literally, figuratively, emotionally, financially, socially et al. But deep down I know, that even if I can manage to be one-tenth of who he is, I would realize my fullest potential. My quest has been, is, and will be - to make him proud.
To conclude, I quote a famous dialogue from an equally famous flick for him,
“He’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector, a dark knight.”
A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY DAD!
Slideshow: Dad in the 'Eat, Drink & Be Merry' mode. Stay the same.