Last night I saw a movie and cried myself to sleep. "Everybody's fine" - A Robert de Niro flick. And I have been in love with this man since the longest of time. Like our very own Amitabh Bachchan, some people don't age no matter how many years mark on their faces. He's one such fellow you can't help but warm up to. Those dimples even on his sagging cheeks. Haye. But more on him in another post someday.
Anyway, this movie was about a father who spent all his life coating PVC on electric wires that run around the city, losing his health in the process. Now after his wife's death a few months ago, he tries to reconnect with his four grown up kids in different cities. One by one each one cancels the plan to come and meet him over the weekend that his lonely life had been planning forever and so he decides to visit them himself. And all the children try to put up the facade of a "fine" life, hiding from him how each one struggles in his own way to survive.
Movies like this you can't help but delve into a thought process. Father's love is so underrated that it could break a mother's heart. Here was this man who was asked what were his ambitions in his younger days and all he said was "to be a good father". He sits down to wonder why all his children were for hours on phone with their mother but didn't know what to say beyond a few words when he called on them now. The children defend themselves in their conscience with the argument that it was just that the mother was more around than him. And hence the conversations were easier.
Such are fathers.
There could be actually two broad classifications of fathers:
1. Someone who is there actively involved in your growing process, putting you to bed, taking you to your swimming class, talking to your teachers about your progress, calling everyday to find out what's happening in your life. He's the one children run to in troubles as he carries them over his shoulder, fretting about the dripping ice cream from the cheeks or the mismatched socks with the shoes. Basically a mommy-ier version of a dad.
2. Then there are fathers who go about in their 'earning the bread' work to the best of their abilities, for they think that's the only way they can assure a good life for the children. They aren't there every night to kiss them goodnight or every morning to drop them to school. They won't be vocal about how they care for you but would keep badgering the mother to find out what's wrong because the child's face shows a few lines of worry. They won't probably remember what class you're in but they would glow by just an occasional hug that the mother is otherwise showered with all day from the kids. They aren't the vocal performers per se but the silent, conscientious spectators. They're very watchful though not involved. They don't have the time to pursue the gym or nurture a hobby or indulge each night in revelries for they obsess about being a hundred percent next morning, to give a hundred percent at work, to ensure a hundred percent harmony at home eventually.
Such is my father. And such is my G. People who wouldn't be holding the finger of the child all through the way, but silently never let go off their eyes on them. A father who would rarely tell you all the places where you're right but would make sure to point your wrongs, for he wants you to have a smooth life. A father who won't be so hassled by the trouble falling on himself but could cry like a baby at the first hint of a problem over his child.
I've seen my father bawl like that for the slightest tear trickling down my eye in an emotional moment and later having forgotten about it. But he having lost his sleep for many a nights over it. He'd never come and ask me what is wrong. Because he feels perhaps less exposed in making mommy his mouthpiece. Happy in small joys, content in little risks, unbothered by the need to appear strong or unscathed by burning ambition. Just another regular guy next door. They never ask for much but they give you their all. The children become the focal point and things silently but surely go about revolving round them.
They would never manipulate their children. They would never seek comfort of their own over the slightest unease of their child. They would never say they're on your side but never ever not be there. You'd feel an invisible layer of comfort and safety you'd be blanketed in just by his presence.
If you feel it's tough seeing your mother age, you haven't seen your father soften with the passing years. It warms and kills your heart at the same time. My father is no super hero. He doesn't know all my questions. But he would have all the answers. He's not slaying my demons. But he's hushing them for me in his own conspicuous ways. Unlike mommy, he won't always tell me that I'm wrong just so there is harmony around, when I'm feeling tied down. He'd tell her to let me decide what I want. Something that he handed to me gradually for he realised I can now handle it well.
And today on his special day, I just want to say thank you and I'm so so proud of you papa. And I love you.