Dear Dad

Dad wanted another son. Mom wanted a daughter. That is what they told the doctor, when my mother was going into labor. But the minute  second he looked at me, we just clicked. My father adores me. In fact adore is too small a word to be commensurate of his affection for me. From one of my earliest memories, I remember him putting aside his work to play with me. We are not rich but I have had everything without having to ask for it. How do I know that? Because I have great difficulty in asking for things. I make a mental blue print to approach another individual for addressing a need. Since I do not recall myself doing the same for any of my doll houses, kitchen sets, board games, pink frocks, story books, crackers, school trips or birthday parties, I know that I am blessed. At the age of five, I decided upon a daily allowance of rupees ten and he obliged. Why? Because I wanted to have mini bank where I could deposit my money and then loan sums out of it on interest. He laughed at the idea but never forgot to do his bit for the bank.

He had one dream for my future, That I become a lawyer. Since a young age, I had exhibited proficiency at managing his paperwork and politeness at taking official calls. So it was only natural for him to assume that I shall succeed him in his office. However given my ineptitude at the subject, I had different plans for my career. We had an emotional episode three years ago because he wanted me to take the Common Law Admission Test. Eventually I agreed and appeared for the exam only for him to have his way. But I still went to a different college, to pursue a subject I chose myself. Did my decision hurt him immensely? Did he stop talking to me? Did it alter his love for me?

Why am I touching this tangent? Because there is a new show on television called Everest. A twenty one year old girl sets out on a journey to climb Mount Everest to win her father’s love. A father who wanted to have a son to see him serve in the Indian army like himself. A father who never looked at his daughter, said a kind word to her or celebrated her little victories in life. She reminded him of his failure to produce a son.  Mounting the Indian flag on Everest’s peak was his second dream which remains unrequited on account of an injury suffered in the Kargil war. The daughter believes that a triumph on Everest will be a triumph on her father’s heart.

Will he come to love her? He may take pride in her resolve. He may be moved to see the lengths that she had gone to, in the pursuit of his love. But will it stir his conscience to admit the injustice that the poor girl had suffered at his hands? Will he be remorseful? What if he comes up with another dream or sets another goal for her? What if, he asks her to oblige to his whim of getting her married at twenty two?

I don’t think that he will truly love her. Here is a man who ignored a beautiful child in front of him. He could not love her for her innocence. He could not love her when she fought her way into a male dominated local basketball team. He could not love her for being the State topper in English honors. He could not love her for being a gold medalist in Literature. He did not even approve of a blue cup that she picked to serve him tea.

Assuming that her endeavor manages to endear the father towards her, will he love her for her own individuality? Or will it be love for the picture of a perfect child that he had imagined?

I am not going to law school. But my father still adores me. We still fight over the music that will play in the car. We make silly bets on what will happen next in a television show. He comes to me with his courtroom stories. We make jokes over the mayhem around us when we are stuck in a traffic jam. We go on drives to eat gol gappe or have a glass of Pepsi mixed with soda.

How does this happen? Because our endearment is not contingent on his expectations of me. It is unconditional.

It is incorrect to show on TV that a father will admire his daughter only if she fulfill his dreams. Its akin to putting a price tag on affection. Its crude to depict that a daughter has to be a dream execution machine. That she will have to endure adversities to justify her existence.

Dear Dads, life is too short to not love your daughter, to subdue her unique spirit in want of a son.

18 thoughts on “Dear Dad

  1. Pratik Akkawar says:

    Absolutely correct!!! And I was wondering how can they do marketing and promotion with such pride even after having ridiculous thinking base behind the script. I have laughed at that man several times who has set conditions over his love and I’ve laughed at that girl too who makes herself ready to climb Everest to earn his love. Ashutosh Gowariker se ye ummid nahi thi, lekiin kya kare star walo ki to khasiyat hi yahi hai… unka life ki taaf dekhne ka najariya hi alag hai!!!

    • Palak says:

      Exactly, they have gone overboard with the promotions. The show is being shoved in your face in every ad break. While there is nothing feminist or empowering or progressive about it. More than the girl I was intrigued by the male lead’s story. But since it is a female centric show they could not resist cashing in on the gender bias angle.
      Star Plus ka nazariya unhe hi mubarak ho.
      Thanks so much for reading 🙂

  2. A regular Indian girl! says:

    Couldn’t agree more!!! I hated this idea also when Main Hoon Na had come out and Amrita tried to be tom-boyish to impress her dad because her dad wanted a son who could join the army!!! This new tv-soap also irritated me!

    I mean parents are supposed to let the children have and follow their own dreams right?

    Nice post!

    • Palak says:

      Oh yes, Main Hoon Na had the same standpoint on the soldier dad. I think Amrita’s character was very weak. First she is this boisterous renegade. As the story moves on, she conveniently transforms into this feminine diva to woo Zayed Khan. Where is her individuality?
      It’s appalling to see characters willing to compromise their identities to earn acceptance.
      Thanks for reading 🙂

  3. Miss Maqsood says:

    I totally agree with you. Our television has been creating some stupid standards for a while now.
    Parents accept us for what we are, they love us for the person we are. Their love for us doesnt require to fulfill prerequistes ke beta tum doctor banogi toh hi meri beti kehlaogi! We need to change our mindsets and I dont think its gonna happen anytime soon as long as such tv serials are present.
    For someone to love you dont haveto change; be it your lover or parents, they love you coz you are you. I have failed my parents but that didnt change our relationship, like how they show in serials ek ghalti n then you live your entire life in sanyaas boycotting your family cz you are not good enough or worst you commit suicide and I think this a major reason behind young suicides in our country.

    • Palak says:

      Television is atrocious when it comes to setting standards for women. Because you are this godly women willing to commit colossal sacrifices for others. Someone who will take every bit of nasty ridicule thrown at her, be it branding her as a whore, accusing her of infidelity or calling her infertile. She silently smiles and upholds her dignity. This needs to go away.
      I agree with you that expectations when stretched beyond a certain extent bring people to the brink of committing suicides. Showing on television that it is justified for someone to set an unworldly yardstick for you gives people the impression that it is mandatory to uphold these standards. Its a matter of life and death. But in fact it is not. Sadly, very few realize this.
      Thank you for reading 🙂

  4. shreya says:

    Every child is a blessing to their parents and no negative vibes should be communicated among the teenagers via TV serials….I LOVE MY DAD AND HE TOO DOES THE SAME MUCH MORE I DO….

  5. The Reluctant Writer says:

    Reblogged this on The Reluctant Writer and commented:
    Very well said, ever since i saw that promo, something within me was burning. But, it would be foolish to think “it” doesn’t happen.. Desiring a male child over female one.. A female trying to be a male just to please the ppl arnd her… Ah! This is no fiction.. But a bloody reality.. Sad reality!

  6. Phil Taylor says:

    As a father of three boys I often feel as if I missed out on the joy of being the father of a girl. Girls are different to dads than boys. They’ll always be your little princess even when they grow up. Its nice to here of your wonderful relationship with your father.

  7. kanika10 says:

    Just came across this and I adore your writing dear and since childhood we had been the princess in our family. All this TV drama is crap. There are no parents in this world who don’t love their child. If you kill someone also and turn behind you will find your parents. Very well written.

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