Thursday, 13 November 2014
THE DAY I BECOME A FATHER
Let’s roll out the list of disclaimers right away.
1. This article is by no way an indication of my impending marriage. I still have some years to go before I decide to embrace martyrdom.
2. This article is by no way an indication of my impending fatherhood. I still prefer to remain the child in my house.
3. Step 1 need not precede Step 2.
Children, they say are an extension of their parents’ soul. Parents often make an endeavour to live their dreams through their kids. In some cases, the child has to become a doctor, because "hey! I am a doctor, and hey so was my father, and his father, and his father, and his father. Too bad he aspires to be the next Sachin Tendulkar!” My father, too wanted me to become an engineer. He is not one and neither was any of his predecessors. So, I could never comprehend why he wanted his son to become the first engineer from the clan (and I grew up in an era where you thought you had arrived in life, if a day went by without you getting spanked by your dad). So, naturally, I never asked. So, my managing a forceful 15/100 in my Class 10 pre-boards in Physics, or a mysterious 5/100 in Chemistry was not a deterrence as far as his resolve to make an engineer out of me was concerned. So, naturally, when I took up Commerce in my plus 2, I had waged a bitter battle against him. And then when he thought that may be I’d do my B.Com and become a C.A. (still a respectable profession among the Bongs), I chose BBA. And, then when he thought that I’d probably finish my MBA (still a respectable degree among the Bongs), and will choose a white-collar job, I opted for Journalism. And today, I am engaged in a profession, that I can’t explain to my parents or my 85 year old grandmother (who thinks I am an actor) or for that matter to any of my relatives or those who are not connected with the media. I AM A NEWS PRODUCER, and no neither do I finance my channel, nor do I appear on TV.
Sorry, for taking a detour and exploring into the darkest pits of my academic career, but I always wondered what was it that gave me the ‘balls’ to choose a steam slash degree slash profession that didn’t have the parents’ stamp of approval. Was it courage/endless desire to follow your heart? Or was it the neatly scripted strategy of staying away from books and lectures? Frankly, it was neither or may be both. And, as a 27 year old single man, who has been attending a wedding every four months for the last two years, and has been getting more wedding invitations than friend requests , I must admit, these days the thought of fathering a child some day and making a foray into Parenthood some years down the line is a fascinating dream which I can’t wait to be realised. Frankly, fatherhood is more than a ‘Michael Phelps’ of a sperm making it to the finishing line. It’s about instilling in your child the confidence that he/she can live in this world on their own terms, make their own mistakes, learn their own lessons, choose their own goals, chase their own dreams, make their own pegs, and worship their own God. Probably, for someone(yours truly), who still depends on his Maa to discover his pair of socks every morning, a lecture on Fatherhood may sound like a pontification, but trust me, this basic question will come to haunt you one day: What kind of a parent would you be to your child?
We live in an intolerant society. We don’t have the slightest patience for someone who doesn’t subscribe to our views. The Lefts think that the Rights are communalising the environment. The Rights think that the Lefts are too Bourgeoisie for their own good. The ‘Nationalists’ think the ‘Pseudo-Secularists’ are pushing the nation back. This vicious cycle of hatred goes on spinning endlessly. Our opinions are no more our views, it’s a poisonous tonic that we wish to thrust down someone else’s throat, against their wish or consent. Well, I am no cynic (I am still hopeful that Salman would get married eventually and SRK would start making more sensible films). But, I sometimes wonder how can we, who stereotype people on the basis of their opinion/ideology/choices, choosing to like or dislike them depending on the side of the axis we ourselves are on, give our children a world they believe can exist. BUT, while, I have no crystal ball to foresee the future and make an accurate prediction of what the future holds for me, I am pretty certain about the Father, I am going to become to my child. I am henceforth going to refer to my future child as a She, from here on (I don’t want any sexist tirade coming my way, at least for this blog post)
1. My kid can choose her own dreams, and chase them on her own terms. As a father, I’d never stop my kid from falling, but pick my child up and put her back on the the path of her dreams. She can choose to be a painter, singer, lawyer, teacher, actor, environmentalist, activist whatever she wishes to become. I’d always be proud of her.
2. My kid can choose to follow/unfollow my religion or any religion for that matter. I never knew I was a Hindu, until my mom told me I was. I believe I wouldn’t have been a tad different had I been a Jew, Muslim, Sikh, Catholic or for that matter an Atheist.
3. My kid is not my fixed deposit, who I shall wait to mature. She will be independent to fly on her own wings, and I’d be the air beneath her wings and not a cog in her wheel.
4. She will be free to love the person she wishes to, go on dates, marry the person she wants to. As a teenager, I mostly went to weddings where the groom and the bride were not only Bongs, but also happened to be from the same community, same gotra (I have no clue what that means), and at times even shared the same surnames. I don’t know how this blends into this pluralist society of ours, that we claim to be a part of.
5. Our kids would grow up in a world way different than the ones we grew up in. But, they’d still be children. And as parents, we need to ensure that the advent of technology and commercialisation and internet and Whatsapp, do not rob them of their innocence. And though, there would be times when we’d fail to see logic in their views, we’d have to accept them and move on. Remember, our parents never understood us either, and their parents didn’t understand them.
6. I’d never want my kid to be a reflection of me. She’s d be her own reflection, her own shadow, her own portrait. I’d actually be cool if she prefers Vodka over Whiskey or Breezer over Beer. Hmmm, actually, I’d want her to love whiskey the same way as I do!
And maybe one day, when I have turned old (but still young at heart), and while the Mrs. Is at the parlour, my child and I can sit down with a print out of this blog, and do a performance analysis of my role as a father. I hope I can pass with flying colours.