Fathered In Tenderness

Veera is a published Author (‘Endured’ and ‘#LoveBitesLifeHacks’) and Columnist; a passionate Educator and Counsellor; Poet and Philosopher… but most of all, a lover of all things literary. 

It’s ridiculous to always assume that a woman’s maternal instinct kicks in the minute that long harrowing labour is complete. Believe me, there is nothing easy or remotely beautiful about the process of giving birth. I dare you to ask a woman moments after that gruelling experience, chances are you’ll be sporting a black eye or a broken nose… or both, soon after. Oftentimes hubbies are caught completely off-guard, unaware that his wife’s vocabulary was so colourful, leave alone that she was even capable of spitting out a string of these, more profusely than a seasoned sailor – giddy and inebriated! Now those courageous ones, bold enough to have participated in that beautiful moment of giving birth (and not passed out during all that gore, mess and chaos) usually come out  brandishing scars and bites, scratches and marks, with a fantastically dazed reality check, scarred for life – sporting a new evolving respect for all womankind. They often take some time in holding that screaming, scrawling baby, all squished and red, often secretly wondering if those looks will improve or that pair of lungs and those vocal chords would temper down in time. 

Now, men, typically, aren’t naturally equipped for parenthood – they neither have the skill set nor that DNA makeup mother’s do but, all in all, good partners often armed with their manuals of ‘What To Expect When You’re Expecting’ or ‘The Wonders Of Parenting’ are usually fired on all cylinders from that moment of the water breaking. That they contribute largely to the chaos and commotion subsequently is another matter altogether, for we really do know that men are terrible in times of even the slightest stress or panic. You see, it’s called the maternal instinct for a reason, but that is not to say that over long periods of time, abundant patience and a whole lot of training, men would, in turn, not contribute equally and somewhat efficiently as women do. I know my father did, and exceptionally well, too! 

They say Father’s Day was clearly an afterthought on the holiday calendar. Literally tacked on at the last minute… Mother’s Day was officially recognized in 1914, but dads didn’t get their official Day until 1972! For all purposes, Father’s Day is the family slacker of the phony holidays created by greeting card companies. Now, whether this is true or not, I am mighty glad to recognise and agree that fathers across the world are given the credit they truly deserve. Come on, it’s not a competition for god sake. Moms are moms but dads are just cool!

Growing up, my dad was this exceptional superhero and you wouldn’t know it because he didn’t wear a cape. Throughout my growing up years, I was an exceptionally adjusted child for the simple reason that I really had no fears. A bad nightmare is all it took – one look around and I’d see my father looming large, over my bed to know that dragons, demons and wild creatures were blighted almost instantaneously in his presence. There was never a problem that was not solved with ease, nor tears dried with the tenderest care; Not a woe or a wound that was not tended to in the gentlest manner. He was an enigmatic story-teller, a charmer, a walking talking dictionary, a veritable encyclopaedia of knowledge. Growing up, dads are superheroes and ‘If protection is a shield, I think most dads wield it!’

Mothers are, by and large responsible, while Dads are super easy. I mean come on, haven’t you experienced that perfectly laid out table always sporting that French lace and shining, polished, sterling cutlery laid out for every damn meal… you’d think royalty was visiting for every single one of them! Minding your manners and your mouthfuls under her discerning eye, she could make each meal a concert in etiquette! And, on those rare occasion of her absence, a movie night or those girls’ night out, long awaited! Then, we’d have ourselves an easy, laid back, daddy time, feasting on pizzas, burgers and fries – eaten straight out of the boxes – no fuss, no frills, lounging on sofas, greedily devouring those, along with a medley of wildly scary and restricted movies – neither permitted nor warranted for children by mothers and censor boards alike! Oh dads are insanely cool and fun to hang out with – that’s for sure!

Having a great Dad is making sure that every kid turns out to be a Rockstar in his/her own right! Have you experienced your local neighbourhood parks and playgrounds turning into those wild rodeos with strange young boys and girls, scuttling, screaming, bullying and fighting, the rules much the same for youngsters as adults… it’s survival of the fittest, quickest and mightiest. Kids will be kids, and knowing your son got into a scuffle with the local bully to claim his place on the swing-set, will have mothers chastising their sons on rude and rowdy behaviour, with dads nodding in tow. But as soon as that female influence is out of earshot, the only inquiry will be, “Did you manage to knock him down?” To which, you hesitantly nod and then with pride in his eyes and a smug grin he asks, “How hard?” Alright then! You can surely believe that all dads want their kids to grow up into tough cookies – ready to face the world’s challenges head-on and secretly harbouring ambitions of their sons flexing muscles and skills at some heavy weight championships of some other notoriously combative sport, which involves enough diving and histrionics to entertain the world!

 Having your parents on Sports Day or for that football match is all about getting an earful from your dad about a suggested link between soccer’s fiery footwork and the leg dexterity underlying an effective game… While all through, hearing disgruntled murmurs from mom, about how Ronnie’s mom is a veritable Fashionista, always sporting a new pair of sunglasses and wide-brimmed hats, while she has to make do with whatever few possessions she has to hold her in good stead. Oh yes! They do have different perspectives on almost everything!!

If you’re a girl and you have an awesome dad, chances are, you’re gonna turn out to be a tomboy! You will climb tress and go rock-climbing and sailing. You will grow up with scruffy knees and scraped elbow. You will hang out with boys and never hesitate to go fisticuffs with any. You will ride bicycles and play sports. You will turn out fierce and independent, cause dads just do that – they make their little girls soldiers and tough. He will always be your first and last love. He will spoil you rotten and years later, it will take a unique kind of man to fill the shoes your father wore. No one in this lifetime can ever make a daddy’s little girl feel as secure as her Pappa, even if it means his seeking ‘mommy’s permission’ for just about everything!

And when you’re all grown and flown, he will be the hero of all your childhood adventures, your idol growing up. He will be your friend philosopher and guide and on your graduation day, he will be the one to tell you with pride, “You’re going to do great things,” or “You’re going places, kid!” And in his words will be cemented your belief, hopes, confidence and aspirations for your life!

Veera Shroff Sanjana
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