I Get Dad

I don’t get any of my qualities from my dad.

I am self-made. After all, first, my dad stayed away from us (mom, brother and I) for a long time, and then I have stayed away from them for an equally long time. I make my own decisions – and bear their consequences, good or bad, without blaming anyone else. Yes, I am very much self-made.

And then, I went to live with my parents for a few years. And found that…

Hey, my dad is quite creative too. The word-plays in his WA messages are as good as those on my FB posts. He has come up with some really neat brand names for many of the products he has conceived (and some launched) over the years. And what’s this I see on the wall adjacent to the landing leading up to his office? Logos of the four divisions his company has. All conceived by him. So, do I get my creativity from him?

Well, I seem to at least get my short-temperedness from him. I still remember the time he hurled his suitcase onto the ground arguing with an overcharging cab-driver when we were about to set off on a holiday to Darjeeling (over 30 years ago). The suitcase developed a crack. My dad became red. The cab-driver remained unrelenting. At a movie ticket counter in Bombay, seething at the guy who casually came up from behind and placed his money through the window even while I was deciding on my seat, I grabbed his money from the counter and thrust it back at him. Short-temperedness? Or just a desire for things to happen the right way?

Wandering feet, too. My dad has lived and worked in Madras / Chennai, Bangalore / Bengaluru, Nagpur, Calcutta / Kolkata, Gauhati / Guwahati and Bombay / Mumbai. (See, so long that most of those names changed.) Apart from Guwahati and Bangalore, so have I (though we would visit him in Guwahati and I have had two work stints in Bangalore). He has finally paused with Chennai. And I with Bombay. (Hopefully.)

With wandering feet, come, or rather, go your loved ones. As I already said, my dad has stayed away from all, two or one of mom, brother and I for a number of years. And despite my two attempts to stay with them after they left Bombay for Chennai, I live away from them now. The heart though continues to wander back and forth them.

Such feet, and such a life, unsurprisingly, come with challenges. My dad had to constantly deal with hard-line regionalists during his 11 years in the North-East. With the various blasts and terror attacks in Bombay over the years, I have had to live with the furrowed brows and fearful eyes people exhibit on encountering anyone with an Islamic name. And hell, my initials are IS. And well, so are my dad’s.

Through it all, my dad says he did two things. “Main girtaa gayaa, utthtaa gayaa…” (I would keep falling, I would keep rising…) “I converted every threat into an opportunity.” Ok, here’s where I am not entirely my dad. I am yet to do the second thing.

So, I guess I haven’t got all of my qualities from my dad. But I guess, I still have about 33 years for dad… er, that.

Happy 77, Papa!

This is the way I presented this message to him. Screenshot of this post / message the way I presented it to my dad

And this is him (on a holiday from a few years ago). My dad dressed to the chill during a holiday from three years ago

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