Ever since I remember I have always had stars in my eyes for my dad.
My very own HERO past,present,future.
I know it sounds clichéd…. nevertheless the fact remains so true .
I grew up as the lamb in the rhyme,”Mary had a little lamb…”
Yes, I was the little lamb following the Big Man everywhere, in and around the house all the time, other than the school hours of course.
In the Garden, I was at hand, to hand him the nails, the planks, when he made the most beautiful picket fence for our Garden at Pune.
I was like a sponge absorbing ,watching and following every move of his like a shadow. The way he dug the soil, made a pit, manured it watered it ,layered it then carefully planted each of the rose cuttings , putting a dung ball at the ends. What a pleasure it was to see the growth of tiny leaves sprout on the rose cuttings with every passing day. The way my dad interbred the branches ,for different colour combination of roses.Ahhh an education which cannot be had even in the best of science labs . The real movement of the earthworms, and how they made tunnels and why they are considered to be farmers’ friends . Most of all the emotional bonding with each sapling in the garden as if it were a personal friend, cannot be expressed in words. All this remains a part of my cherished childhood.
Tailoring has been dad’s hobby. Dad could be seen at the sewing machine when not in the garden , and yes as long as he was at it, I would be there as his assistant handing him the pencil, tape, scissors, holding the cloth and whatever an assistant is required to do. On the way an invaluable skill gets imbibed in the little girl and she grows up learning to sew perfectly without attending any class a single day.
Dad has always been a great foodie. He seems to pick recepies from friends, colleagues, streets, restaurants and where not and then invade mamaz zone to try them out. And this has resulted in Titanic clashes between the king and the queen of the house.
Nevertheless the resultant dishes have always delighted us, and of course the post meal clean ups continue to remain a bone of contention. The queen has learnt to relinquish her power in the kitchen to enjoy the kings culinary skills . The most amazing discussions with dad have been during these sessions, with mom out of the way , and while dad rolling out the rotis gives lessons of life to his young impressionable daughter.
Dad has always been a great mechanic,naturally and professionally being a mechanical engineer. We had a centuries old iron box , dad would remove every part and put it back one by one in a sequence and then tie it up and begin ironing the clothes. The bicycle too enjoyed every bit of dad’s love , being cleaned with a soft cloth, oiled, air filled in tyres with a pump and lovingly parked. Dad never did sell the bicycle and kept it till it met it’s rusty end. That has also made the little lamb technically skilled in fixing up things, from fixing a bulb in the holder to putting a fuse to fixing leaking taps.
Dad’s love for statistics remains unparalleled. Every single detail about every single paisa earned ,spent, or saved went into the records. At the end of every day, the ritual remains to jot down the days statistics. I read about this passion for statistics in one other person , Mahatma Gandhi himself .Unconsciously the value of money…in giving, taking and spending a valuable life skill transferred to the little lamb beside him. The statistics of cricket matches, world records of all kinds found neatly tabled in dad’s diaries.
We owned a Bajaj Chetak and the long long drives around the gated defence colony enjoying the pure cool breeze of the forest ,wow what beautiful drives, I wish the clock could be turned back. I relive those moments by taking my own little lambs for long drives, creating golden memories for eternity. The love for driving, the sheer power of control over a machine is too tempting to resist. Only a dad can teach a daughter ,to ride a bicycle , to drive a four wheeler as no other.
In a world sans technological distractions devoid of even a television, Dad nurtured the innate love of art and books. He never failed to replenish my art material ,or subscribe children’s books even within his limited means. These little things watered our creativity and moulded our characters.
As parents , everyone strives harder for the kids, but I must say, Dad has led by example standing up for others, taking a stand on behalf of lesser privileged, leading from the front. I have often seen him helping out his juniors and their families in whatever way he could , even attending to medical emergencies like pregnancies in the middle of the night. The gratitude of the people effected is heart touching and worth the massive efforts.
Once ,Dad single handedly had the courage to bring the whole counselling to a stand still when I was denied admission on unfair grounds during the 80s , which of course yielded positive results and showed me how a vulnerable man becomes powerful if he wishes to protest and stand up , to bring a change in the system.
The greatest asset of dad remains his vast vast friends circle, the efforts ,the honesty, the sincere love for mankind cannot be expressed. Am proud to have inculcated this and it remains the Kohinoor of all that dad has given me.
Mere holding of my hand when in distress can fill me with strength and positivity that is the power of a DAD. And the same I have learnt to transfer to my near and dear ones…
Every little nuance of the little lamb’s life has been shaped by the most powerful man in her life…her DAD.