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I want to congratulate you on your successful completion of services to Indian Government. I am so happy that those long hours of working would not affect your health now. I am also relieved that you won't have to drive everyday to work as it always leaves us worrying for you. I love the idea that now you will have time to invest in your hobby of gardening, reading and social service. All that stress, that monotony, those late working hours, those public holiday screw ups would not affect your mood and vis-a-vis the environment in our home. I am really happy for you Dad but I need to ask you, can you please tell me when is my mom getting retired?
Dad you have given 35 years of services to our government and in return the government has honoured you with a Pension, so that you do not have to work at the dawn of your life, so that you can live a comfortable and respectful life without having to work and without being dependent on anyone. You always say that you've earned your pension, so I want to ask when is my mother going to earn hers. She got married to you at the age of 20, she took care of your family, your mother, father, brothers, sisters, nephews, nieces and even the close as family neighbours. She bore you kids, and where you only economically helped her raise your kids, she took active part in your kids life and worked hard to make sure that the those kids turned into responsible and sensible adults. Where your concern was primarily good grades, hers included good behaviour as well.
You remember dad when we planned any trip during holidays to any of uncle's or aunt's house, so that we can all get together and spend some quality time with each other. We usually had to catch a bus or train early in the morning around 6 or 7 am. Well dad, while we used to complain after getting up at 5:00 am about being it so early, my mother was done with cleaning of the house, washing of the clothes, cooking of the breakfast and packing of lunch for the travel. She was also the one who packed our luggage and made sure we were ready on time so that we won't have to face your wrath. Don't you think dad that if we all got up at 4:00 and helped her she would not have had to get up at 2:00 am in the morning and finish everything on her own. But we didn't dad, did we? And those holidays dad!! they were never a holiday for her, she was equally absorbed in kitchen, husband and kids at that new house as she was at her own house. The only difference was that here there were more people to be taken care of, more people to be cooked for and more people ordering her around in the house. Don't you think dad, a small vacation where no body knew you or her, where she didn't had to cook or clean, where she could just open a book and read it until the dusk would have been better for her, or at-least it would have been a "vacation" for her. I am not saying she didn't had vacation, every year she would travel to her maternal place, the ultimate vacation house for married Indian female, but you would make sure your offsprings accompany her so that you don't have to be responsible for those tiny human in your house. Guess what dad, we made sure she was equally occupied by creating a chaos in the name of "our vacation" and now when I am 30 I wish I knew better.
Dad, you always enjoyed your weekly holiday from work and we from school, but she never had that weekly off. We also had those public holidays called festivals, and guess what dad, they were her extra work load days. The festival food, the guest, the hourly demand of being fed, tea, snacks and meanwhile she constantly had to keep the house clean for the upcoming guest, remind us that we have to finish our home work before holidays end, clock our TV time and make sure that you are in good mood so that it does not affect the holiday spirit in her house.
Dad, I love you both as parents, We were lucky to have you. Mom and you were the perfect team, perfect good cop-bad cop combination that always kept us on track, that made us who we are, and trust me on this dad, when you tell your friends that you're proud of us, it fills us with happiness and pride that we cannot express in words. But dad, why don't you ever tell your friends that you're proud of "her kids" or "our kids", why is that we are always your kids and not hers or both of you together. You remember your friends Dad? Sharma Uncle, Mishra Uncle, Mehta Uncle, Verma Uncle? I do dad, I remember all your friends, they were always so nice to us, but do you remember mom's friend dad? I don't. Her friends were Sharma aunty, Mishra aunty, Mehta aunty and Verma aunty or basically wife of your friends. You know why? because it is impossible to keep in touch with your friends when you're barely in touch with your self, when you move from one family to other, one city to another. Do you know dad mom likes to read novels, and it is from her that I have inherited this reading and writing habit you're so fond of. Do you know dad that mom's favourite vegetable is Elephant yam, and because none of us liked it she never cooked it. Never dad, not even once a year.
Dad, I understand that you were a busy man. You had responsibilities on your shoulder and a family to provide for. You wanted to give us the world and you did dad, you gave us everything we needed and wanted, and honestly I have no idea how did you manage it for so long without complaining and giving up on us. But dad, mom too have given everything she had to this house and relationships she built inside this perimeter. And like you she too deserves the retirement. Now that you're retired you are absolutely free to do whatever pleases your fancy. Your kids are settled and you have plenty of time to kill and you spent it doing anything but helping her. When you were working outside the home bringing money, she was working inside home making sure that this house runs smooth, and now that you don't have to go out to bring that money isn't obvious for you to try to be a little bit more helpful in daily house hold chores instead of you making appearances on dining table three time a day, sending verbal command for her to fetch water or medicine, asking her to bring tea or coffee at the two floors up where you're just busy petting your roof garden, Or asking her to stay quite when you're busy reading your favourite book or watching your favourite TV show. You always tell me that life has turned out well for you, and you're happy and contended in your life. But dad, my mom is still on the clock, working same number of hours a day. If you both have to go together somewhere, she still gets up a lot before than you to be prepared in advance. She still is responsible for cooking three meals a day, clean house, washed and ironed clothes, welcoming guests, maintaining cordial relationships with all your relatives and friends, take care of the garden you so fondly call yours and basically everything that goes in and on your house. It's time that you take part in her life like she took in yours. You let her feel that she is not just a facilitator but your life partner, and partners share everything dad. They talk, they listen and they understand. Listen to her dad, help her, make her happy. You have given her money, now give her your time. For she deserves it the most.
With lots of love
Your married daughter.
PC - www.myhindiheart.com