Last night when my father hung up the phone post our conversation, he said, “ok bye-bye beta, have a nice day.” Wow! That was the first time in my life my father ever said that to me. He usually hangs up with a “take care” but this one was new. Papa was always the conservative one between him and my mom, and sometimes during my growing years I used to be very upset with him. Usually called ‘Cinderella’ – due to strict time curfew to reach home and ‘kiddo’ – because of the countless restrictions and things I couldn’t do with them; my friends often laughed at me, but never to ridicule me. They did take care that I wouldn’t be grounded at home and were always there for me, understood my issues; and for that I am forever grateful. But what I couldn’t ever understand was why I was the chosen one with such a strict father.It's a delight to see parents evolving and changing with the changing times. #relationships Click To Tweet
It’s rather ridiculous, but at first he was quite apprehensive about me even taking up a job. I had to literally blackmail my way to a job ad he relented only when I landed up with a job in an MNC bank. In those days a bank job, that too in a Multinational one was supposed to be safe and secure especially for the fairer sex. So that’s how I started my corporate career. But things didn’t change much at home. The curfew timings became relatively mild, but the curfew continued nonetheless. As time passed I realised one very strong attribute in me – I never wanted to upset my father. I wasn’t scared of him, but I respected him too much for him to ever let the thought that ‘I wasn’t an obedient child’ creep into his head. In fact it is not so much about respect as it is about the weight his opinion about me carried. I was always his blue eyed child and I wanted it to be that way forever.
Much that he was strict; we shared a very close bond. I would literally vomit out whatever happened during the day to him and he would patiently listen. It was fun. Whenever I was stuck he was my saviour. It would just be a matter of discussing my issues with him and the solution popped into my own head merely with the questions that he asked me. But one thing I never understood was why he was so orthodox! I just wouldn’t be able to swallow and digest that fact about him. I hated lying to him and honestly it was so much easier to deal with my mother in a lot of things. There were often times when I dreaded him knowing something, despite our closeness and openness in discussing anything.
But in time I realised that the orthodox nature wasn’t that – he was just conservative and a low risk taker. He had seen too much in his life, had a lot of responsibilities to take care of (in fact even to date it’s nothing new), that being overly optimistic and carefree wasn’t in his nature. He was over protective about his children – yes all of them – didn’t matter whether boy or girl. He was just a very protective father. I remember my brothers had curfews too and he would be very upset if we went to watch a late night movie or something after we started driving ourselves. This one time when I got promoted during my early corporate days and I had to go for a two-week long training to prepare for the new role, he simply refused to let me go. I had to make up a story that those who didn’t attend the training would be thrown out of their jobs just to hear an affirmative answer from him. And even then, he did not relent and sent my mother and siblings to meet me at the resort in another city where the training was. It’s not that he didn’t trust me; it was his need to know that I was safe. This ofcourse I realised very late in life because as kids all we want to do is rebel and get upset about everything. Though I wasn’t much of a rebel, I did get upset about a lot of restrictions laid on me.
Times changed, and I had to start traveling in my job, especially long trips abroad. A part of me sometimes tells me I took up those assignments to ensure that I could do all those things that I couldn’t do during school and college. Talk about not being a rebel. My first month-long US trip was the most difficult for him. I have no idea how he said yes, but figured that he didn’t want to come in the way of my career and he knew I was a go-getter. He loved to see me successful. In fact he was always a proud father of a star child who never let him down. I think perhaps that is what didn’t make him stop me. There were rules always for everything. And for travel outside my city and country, the rule was to make two calls back at home every day – morning, evening. That was okay with me. 🙂
Times changed further and I saw dad started being more ‘lenient’ and more relaxed. He was thoroughly enjoying my success at work and in other activities. But not just that, he was changing as a person. He hated change and yet the way he was embracing change was a very pretty sight for all of us. I began to think that he laughed much more too. I can’t express what a delight it was. I could never imagine the father who wouldn’t allow me to take a phone call without knowing who was on the line, allowed me to travel at my whim, wanted to know more about Facebook and get his own account and wanted to start chatting with all of us on Whatsapp. He was always a well-read person, exceptionally well read in fact; with his favourite topics ranging from the US President to the best war missiles and airplanes, to the latest entrants in Bollywood and Indian politics to religion and spirituality. There was never a topic he wouldn’t be able to talk about. My friends would love to speak with him and sometimes I would wonder whether he was the same strict man who would speak with so much ease with all my friends – man and woman alike. After meeting him, each one of my friends simply loved him and landed up blaming me instead about putting him in bad light about the curfews etc., HUH?
Yet, he was always the conservative man in my eyes. Ofcourse, as I mentioned earlier, conservative changed to protective over the years and then to leniently protective. And that suited me perfectly well. Mom was the one who changed with the changing times and was always a quick learner. The daughter in me thinks in a lot of ways she is the one responsible for the changes we have seen in dad over the years. Well, times change and people change, so I know changes in him were inevitable. But last night was the killer. I was overwhelmed to hear him say ‘Have a nice day’. I could hear his laughter and see his smiling countenance in his words. He is quite a looker and I think just like wine he has bettered with age… and with his ever-evolving self, dad is surely the most sought after dad every little girl wants!
In this world, where everyone is in a rat race and has no time for others, to have parents who are protective is a boon. It’s better to go with the flow because many a times they see things that we do not and we realise them much later. With time, everyone evolves; however tough they may be and delightfully so. Like my beloved father – he is stuck with his smartphone for hours these days and we enjoy seeing him now doing what we’ve been doing for years – having fun!
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