Lunches with Daddy


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Every little girl is her Daddy’s little princess and her Daddy will always be her one and only Real Hero!





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Recently, my mother left for Kerala to meet her sister. She was having withdrawal symptoms, not having seen her in nearly two years. The plan would have materialized earlier had my father agreed to accompany her. He refused. My father does not like travelling too much anymore. It is only when I relocated to the same city that Ma had this golden opportunity for I could look after father, while she would enjoy her break from the kitchen and mundane activities without guilt.

 Try as we might, we could not convince Daddy to stay with us but with great difficulty I made him promise to have lunch with me every day. “I don’t like being bulldozed this way. I’ll come when I want to. I don’t need an invitation to come to my daughter’s house” and much more happened before he said okay. After all, I take after him and won’t take a “No” all that easily!!

Daddy was in a series of foul moods before Ma left, hoping she might change her plan and knowing that she wouldn’t! On D Day, he gave up grumbling and went all the way to drop her at the airport. He has to ensure everything is smooth for Ma at all times. My mother, a regal lioness (every bit the Leo that she is) gives off an arrogant air; is usually a bag of nerves on the inside and has also been spoilt rotten by her Scorpio husband of nearly 50 years. And so he saw her off…

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Then Daddy made it to lunch. What’s there to write about a week of lunch dates with one’s father, you might wonder! Well, it meant the world to me. I would go out of my way to make something he liked though the lunch in itself was very frugal since he went to play golf afterwards except for one no-golf day where he ate to his heart’s content. One Sunday, the four of us went over to Dad’s home and we ordered in. He was thrilled that we did not take him out and decided to stay in instead, especially since the cricket match was on. When we reached he had already laid out the table to perfection and my heart warmed up to him. It was a relaxed afternoon and all of us were in great spirits.

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Coming back to the lunches on the other days, it was novelty for the two of us, since we are known to eat our lunches alone devoid of company. Not that we like it that way, but nobody else eats when we do. Daddy eats at noon or half an hour later and I usually eat half an hour post noon to an hour. I used to lay the table and get everything ready and since he is punctual, I could time the hot chapatis perfectly. We would talk over our meal about something or the other and laugh happily without a care in the world. Post lunch, he would watch TV, while I cleared up (an effort again to stop him from helping me) and then we would chat and snooze for a while till it was time for him to leave. He normally waited for a glimpse of his grandchildren before leaving.

My father has an elephantine memory and he loves reminiscing his past. I would get to hear anecdotes from his childhood to his younger days as a Pilot Officer in the IAF. Sometimes, the conversation would steer to politics but he kept these brief knowing it would soon fall on deaf ears as I just don’t follow it. Had it been my brother, things would have been different!

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I would just look at my Dad fondly as he sat watching TV or got engrossed in food and my heart would overflow with love for this simple person behind the stern exterior. It takes very little to make him happy. He loves his family around him, good food on the table, the knowledge that his loved ones are safe and working hard without shamming. For those who don’t know him, don’t paint a picture of a timid old man- he has a quick temper and his deep voice and penetrating eyes can unsettle you if you rub him the wrong way and he never forgets. He is brutally honest, never sugar coats anything, calls a spade a spade, never backs out in a situation that needs his help/service, extremely humanitarian with a heart of pure gold and is loyal to a fault.


There is a snap I have of my four year old brother holding me in his lap, my eyes barely open under the Sun and a pair of hands, underneath…unmistakably my father’s, with the trademark Rolex watch on his wrist, gifted by his father to him once upon a time. Those hands and the man whom they belong to, have been my constant assurance and reassurance that all is well in the world and that I am taken care of. 

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Another photograph I hold dear is of my wedding day, where my father gives my hand to my husband and the look he shot up at him was priceless “mess with her and watch out…” I love the photographer for capturing that moment. It was my brother who laughingly brought the snap to our notice with a “Don’t miss Bichoo’s warning look…ready to strike if required” (Bichoo as in Scorpion for Daddy is a Scorpio, as I mentioned earlier). Having said that, today, my husband is a Son not a son-in-law and they have a great rapport which I am grateful for ( for his own course mates and friends had said to me, he will get along with his daughter-in-law but never his son-in-law, so you be careful).

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My father has been a major influence in my life along with my Mom. Daddy and I have fought for as long as I remember, with him winning every argument. He actually managed to give me a card on my eighteenth birthday which said “You are eighteen today and from now on we are friends” and I was sentimental as I opened the card to read “Just remember I am the friend who is always right”. I started laughing knowing that some things would never change!! 

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Whether it was washing my hands in the frothy lather of soap between his palms or stopping my narcissistic tendencies; teaching me to use a dictionary and an atlas or unsuccessfully trying to make me enjoy mathematics; forcefully making me watch the news or taking away the pleasure of watching “Chitrahaar”; making me run up to the guardroom every morning and afternoon and then making sure we had chocolates aplenty; leading by example when he would stop the car to help an accident victim when it was convenient to leave it to the mob or when he taught us the happiness in giving was far more than in taking, my father has been my inspiration, my lighthouse, my guide- My Hero and it has been my constant effort to try and be as fearless and bold, honest and upright as him and to try to not follow “the path of least resistance” as he used to say I did, whenever I tried to cut corners with my studies! 

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Our parents look after us from the moment we are born, or even before that, and bring us up in the best possible manner that they can, only to find us irritated as we grow up and blaming them for something that didn’t go right. They take it in their stride, put on a brave front and constantly assist us in any way they can, telling us, lecturing us and still chiding us but somewhere during all this they grow old and we grow irresponsible towards them for our attention is now towards our children. If we slowed down a bit and gave them some quality time, they would be happy but it is us who would come out richer. 

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Please watch this space for a blog dedicated to my mother for this will surely elicit responses like “I know you love your father more”…for the record, I love them both equally!! 
                                            

Comments

  1. Wow...beautifully written...😍😘

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  2. Such an endearing account of Dad (read that as Sir) 😊 Simple, Sweet, Straight from the heart... Nice to know about the SWTSE (read that as.. Softie Within The Stern Exterior). Do give him a hug from me at some point... when I meet him personally though.. I will stick to a firm handshake! ☺️☺️☺️
    Looking forward to the blog on Mrs. N now 😊

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    1. Thank you JK :) ... yes, that blog better come!! :D

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  3. Every word of it takes me home to my dad... With mom and dad around I feel so secure and strong.. Long love our parents.. I love this

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    1. Thank you...I know every daughter feels this way and more...Long live our parents indeed! :)

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  4. Loved what you wrote. A lunch with our parents can rekindle such warmth and love in us. Many more such pleasures to you dear.

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    1. Thank you so much...oh yes! Battery charging I cannot do without :)

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  5. Simple, sweet... Straight from d heart.....dad and daughter moment is always very special.be at any age dads always make their daughter feel special.

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  6. Beautiful blog!!! Loved it... made me feel nostalgic...

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  7. I can picture how these moments feel!!! Good job Nu. Awaiting Next one in the series!!!

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  8. Lovely, Anu.
    Brought back memories of my own father..

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