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“Ma, why didn’t you get a gift for nanaji?”
“Why do you ask?”
“Father’s Day passed by, but you didn’t get him a gift.”
“So, why didn’t you? Don’t you want to let him know that you love him and that he is important to you?”
This was reason enough to venture into a lengthy conversation with sonny about people, their value in our lives, how and why we celebrate them and if we need specific days to mark the importance of a dear one in our lives.
My dad has been my hero ever since I have known. He has been the epitome of sincerity, dedication, honesty, righteousness, truthfulness…the list is endless, but I guess you get the essence of what I am trying to say. He has been my idol, my friend, philosopher and guide. I have always looked to him for advice and have looked up to him all my life. I thank the Almighty for him every single day. So, do I really need a day…’just one day'…to celebrate him and tell him that he is important to me, that what I am today is because of him and mom, or that I love him dearly and will stand by him, no matter what, like he has always stood by me…no matter what?
Not to my heart and mind…No! One day does not justify what he means to me. I can’t thank him on one particular day by getting him a gift and saying ‘Happy Father’s Day’ and feel that is enough.
I am not saying that I did not fall prey to this now world-wide phenomenon of Father’s Day celebrations. I have been there, done that! I have been guilty of bringing him gifts on Father’s Day, usually books or shirts…those have been his favourite gifts to get, with a lovely father’s day note telling him what he meant to me. And it felt right then.
This was the time when I was in college, and followed through when I started to work. Like I said, it just felt like the right thing to do then. Dad never forgot to thank me for the ‘lovely gifts’, and at the same time say that he was my father 365 days a year, so why this sudden burst of expression only on Father’s Day, ‘one should express more often’ he would say. However, he was gracious enough to accept the gifts and tell me that he valued those notes more than anything else and that I should write more often. That was his way of encouraging me even on a day when we were supposed to be celebrating him. At that time I was blind to the two messages that he was sending my way subtly, one being that gifts are not really as valuable as the sentiments expressed in the note. Two, you can’t really celebrate a relationship one day a year…you celebrate it each day of the year.
Today, almost 20 years down the line, I know exactly what he meant. Sonny and I write notes to each other practically everyday on a whiteboard that we have. It is our way of conveying our thoughts and sentiments to each other. Sometimes, in the rush of life, a few days go by without a note from either of us. That blank whiteboard staring at us in despair sends us a deep message…waiting for you to express…missed it today!
I have understood the meaning of relationships. I have learnt that if you value a person or a relationship, you should celebrate them each day. That certainly does not mean gifts and notes everyday…well the notes would not be such a bad idea really! But no, that is not what I mean. I mean that we are true to the relationship, we value it and we stand by it till the very end. I have learnt from my father what it is to give unflinching support to the ones you hold dear. He always stood beside us, even if it was against the tide…he was there…always…even today. I can’t thank him enough for all that he has done for us as a father, all that he has taught us, all the times when we were scolded for being indisciplined or not following the routine, for telling us that there is no shortcut to success, for encouraging us every step of the way, for being a role-model, for being who he is, and for always being there. No, one day certainly does not live up to the person and the persona that my dad is for me. And so, I celebrate him today, the day after, the day after that, the day after that…well let’s just say…’everyday’.
Love you dad!