Every time I hear a song about a father and daughter, whether it’s Laadki from Coke Studio or Baba from Ventilator or even the Marathi song Damlelya Babachi Kahani, involuntarily there’s a lump in my throat and my eyes well up. Because at some point I’ll move away, I’ll get on with my life maybe, I’ll shift somewhere to get away from the city’s noise but I don’t think I’ll ever be ready to leave you.
I’ve never told you how much I love and respect you for being the solid and unwavering support system of my life. Every time I needed guidance, you were there. Every time I needed someone to vent out my frustration from work, you were there. Every time I needed a reality check, you were there.
We have our differences because of the obvious generation gap, because of the fact that I’m a girl and you can’t understand how different our struggles are. You brought me up differently, you challenged my opinions, you made me think and decide for myself, you recognized my rebellion. You say things that drive me nuts because they come off as sexist or misogynistic but that’s who you were taught to be. I always vocally object to those comments and most of the times, you open your mind and listen. I admire that about you. You have immense patience for all my long, draggy and detailed stories. Even when I’m going on and on about something that annoyed me, you don’t a say a word till I’m done. Thank you for teaching me to listen to learn and not just respond.
When I was a kid, you were always traveling and didn’t seem very involved in the family. I’ve even taunted you for that a couple of times because Aai was always there and blaming her for our shortcomings was unjustified.
You once told me, you thought you could’ve made a career in advertising, and I think you would have killed it because frankly, more than half my projects were fuelled by your ideas. But you didn’t pursue it, you didn’t want to shift careers, you had a family to take care of. Your responsibilities were more important than exploring a new career. Thank you for letting me be liberal with my choices and never burdening me with responsibilities that would take away my freedom to explore.
You got me my first internship which converted to my first job. There was one day where my dream of seeing my father proud of me could’ve come true. When the company’s CEO mentioned my name and appreciated my work as the youngest ever employee during a town hall that I was not allowed to attend due to policy concerns. The fourth generation of our family working for that company won accolades and I was hurt you weren’t there to witness it even if I wasn’t permitted at the event. That evening, I came home to an apology in the form of jalebi and instantly let go of that hurt. Thank you for providing me with the opportunity to make you feel proud of me.
From changing jobs to starting a business of my own and collecting various degrees on my way, you supported every decision. Now that I’m taking writing seriously and trying to make a living out of it, you’re still standing strong. You’re reaching retirement, and instead of seeing me fly away from the nest, you’re supporting me and not complaining. Thank you for understanding my passion and making me feel comfortable about it.
I’ve always found it easier to have a conversation with you than Aai, and there are no topics we haven’t discussed. I get my love for cricket from you, I get my daily dose of world news and politics from you, you’ve even given me relationship advice a couple of times. I remember your words exactly when I told you I had broken up last year, “Breaking up because you can’t get your priorities straight is a weak excuse. You will have to learn to balance things in your life sooner than later.” While I may not have used the advice then, it’s valuable and it’ll stay with me forever.
Our daily arguments and ego clashes may not show much of everything I’ve said, but I want you to know deep down, it’s all there. Whether I had a significant other in life or not, when it came to making a big decision, I’d run to you. Your opinion will always be a priority, despite varying views because you play the devil’s advocate too well.
Thank you for everything, even if it was something that offended me, I learned what I shouldn’t put up with and convey my point calmly. Thank you for being protective of us and looking out always, we may have resisted it at times because it interfered with our liberty but you are meant to be overprotective about your daughters.
As I’ve grown up, I realize I need you the most now. You may not be realizing it, but you’re spectacularly transitioning into a friend to me. So, thank you for not being perfect and for being here.
Your Little Troublemaker.