Sunday, 9 August 2009

Fatherhood and my Father.

Note:I was checking my Hard disk storage device for some old files and chanced upon this story, which I wrote on 20th Feb 2009, the day my daughter was born.I felt a sense of wistful nostalgia. I remember the day, when my Father-in-law called in the morning to break the news and i was absolutely baffled. I was having breakfast, immediately lost all the appetite for the day. It was a sense of utter bewilderment. I was like a caged lion, confused whether to sit, stand, lie down, eat, and be awake or to sleep. I wrote this story on that day to ease my tension a bit.

Travelling back home after 5 months , he was too excited to sleep through the night. He disliked the plane journey, the long still night, waiting for the dawn and suddenly night felt like one long stretch of timeline, almost infinite in its duration.

A pretty airhostess served the diner and the lights were dimmed. Everyone around him looked deep in sleep, but Arun’s mind slipped into deep thoughts, and he slithered through various timelines of his life. Very strong emotions clutched his muscles and he felt extraordinarily stiff, developing into a strong headache and he tried hard to focus. Slowly he breathed, methodically to control his mind and emotions, but ineffective and bringing no end to the profound thoughts.

Years ago his mother abandoned him, killed herself without any clue as to why. Later on, after almost a decade, he knew about her depression. His father did nothing to stop her, his hatred for him started with that. Then started a string of deeds which incessantly increased his revulsion for him. His second marriage, sending his only son to a hostel; the strict disciplined life for the most sloppy of all boys. Arun remembered how he hated to come home for vacations; his father would pull him out of the bed and bark, ‘I tell you, I have not seen a lazier boy in my life. Get up and go get milk from the booth’. Scared of being spanked he would run towards the bathroom, brush his teeth and hurry to get the milk, all mutely, shivering in the morning chill.

He loved Shalini, his wife of 3 years and love of 5; more so since he thought he had no other vent to release his love. Who else could he call his; he didn’t have an answer and now he was going to be a father. He would love his son/daughter like the way he loved his wife and not how his father loved him .He made a stern resolve.

When he watched TV, father would come running and switch it off, saying, “ Nothing else to do? Go study, You Idiot”. He would go to his room with a heavy heart and wish for his mother. That was when he hated even his mother.

Shalini came as a fresh waft; life, for no reason appeared so good earlier. He had difficulty behaving with her love, almost alien it felt. Her parents behaved like they were his own. Her mother would take pain in making his favourite food; he didn’t know what his favourite was until Shalini came.

She would ask him, “ Arun, you should share whatever hurt you have, I would make it go away from your life.Ok?” he would nod.

She would say, “ I cant believe what you say about your father. He loves me like his own daughter. I can see it in his eyes. That glimmer of love.”

His distance with his father grew and it reached a face when he hardly spoke to him. His step mother was gravely ill few years ago, and he just called 2 or 3 times during the 2 months she was in the hospital. Her death didn’t have any jolt on him, He felt strangely unemotional hearing it.

Soon, it was dawn and the plane landed. His father was at the airport to receive him and also was His Father-in-law. He wondered if he should go to his father or Father-In-Law. He opted his father-in-law and sent his father back, promising him to visit in few days. Shalini was at her house and he wished to be with her soon. The doctors had presumed the child delivery by 27th, , which was just 3 days further on.

On 26th night, the pain starts; a curious warmth in the beginning, spreading to her abdomen and then the tightening sensation. She calls her husband and is rushed to the hospital. After several hours of labour; then the shrill cry of the baby, the instantaneous spread of thunderous joy.

Arun First lays his soaked eyes on the baby almost minutes after she was born. He felt a sudden rush of blood to his face; he blushes and his face turns pink when he holds the little Ananya in his hands. He kisses her on her forehead; so delicate her skin felt. So tiny she appeared. So angelic her facial expression was.

The baby is passed on to his father-in- law and then to his father. He watches the vindictive man turning into a saint, or his vindictive demeanour giving way to a pious suppleness.

His hatred for his father coming back to him instantly. He stares deep into his eyes; the frightful eyes of terror , now a pale reflection of the yesteryears. Ananya passes hands of his mother- in- law and then back to the waiting nurse.

The short vacation is further cut short by Little Ananya; the time spent watching her move, blink her little eyes, Shalini breast feeding her. He wished he had more time and wondered how the next three months would pass. Shalini could travel with little Ananya only after 3 months, and those 3 months would be the longest in his life.

The heavy heartedness starts 2 days before the date of journey. He felt he would never get enough of watching Ananya. Shalini understanding her husbands anguish, comes and sits next to him. She runs her hand over his hair and stare into his eyes. And she says, “what da, you and Ananya, i wonder who is the baby”.

The moment of departure was the toughest Arun ever experienced. Departing Ananya and Shalini was absolute heart break, he cries, not giving-a -damn to the watching crowd.

Sitting in his seat and after the diner was served by yet another pretty airhostess, he closes his eyes in an attempt to sleep. Several images of the past month unfolds before his eyes and the kaleidoscopic images stops, at once, at his father.

“The old man of sixty five, a speck of his old self, the dreadful bloodshot eyes and then the way he appeared with Ananya in his hands. His vindictive demeanour giving way to a pious suppleness, A saintly tenderness; was that a figment of his Imagination?”

He wondered if he would ever know. He wondered what Ananya would perceive about her Father.

He decides to call his father as soon as he lands.

P.S:I wish Myself a great fatherhood.


Gayathri said...

me first!!!!!

Gayathri said...

Arun again!!!Tell no,is that ur real name??i'm being increasingly curious :D..
I guess,or wish,or hope,the post aint totally autobiographical..It's hard to visualize u having a bad childhood,or that's the kind of image you've given..
Anyway,the kid looks b.u.t.ful!!!

ZB said...

@Gaythri: As Shakespeare famously said "whats in a name" , does it matter so much if the charecter name is Arun?. I might as well put someother name, like Arnold swatznegger, or George clooney. Arun is not my real name, its an alter ego, not in its true sense though.

And the story is not completely autobiographic. As i mentioned in the end, my perceptions and *figment of imagination* with relation to my Dad is real. And my perception has nothing to do with reality.


Aparna said...

Ananya is a lovely name. And she is a very pretty baby.

So much that we perceive to be true in our childhood actually is not. Our young minds a lot of times are unable to comprehend adult emotion and love. I am sure Arun's father loved his boy in his own way. He probably harboured his own fears and insecurities. Who knew what went through his mind when he saw his first born son.

My best wishes to you. I hope you will have the best relation possible with your daughter. Mind you, they turn into aliens when they hit their teens. So don't say nobody warned you.

sujata said...

I am sure you are a great dad and will remain so forever to little Ananya. Parents, however harsh on us, are rarely so with their grandchildren and it really irks me sometimes, things that i got punished for in my childhood are blatantly overlooked in my children by my mom and i at times am still scolded for being to harsh on my kids by her, I think the relation between a child and the grandparents is unique..

Anonymous said...

Don't know what to say. Ananya is cute. And she has a wonderful father who is so caring that he can't stop thinking of her.

Like Aparna said, its difficult for kids to understand why grown ups do what they do. Everybody has their set of insecurities. If you are able to explain to your kids why you do what you do, I think they will understand. We just don't give them enough credit.

Autobiography or fiction, whatever it maybe, I hope Arun made that call...

The Panorama said...

Nice story, ZB.
When one becomes a parent, it leads to a lot of introspection. I think that is a bit natural.
But the one thing we must remember is that our children have their own childhood, and it is far removed from our own.
Am sure you will make a doting loving father.
Your father sounds like mine. Their generation was strict disciplinarians and they didn'y show emotions easily but am sure he loves you a lot.

Enjoyed reading the story:)

HaRy!! said...

Well, the way yu finished the story ..ho boy it was soo cute.." I myself am a good fatherhood" , that sounds so good..hope yur kid reads this one day to be proud of her father . As for the story... V never realise until we go thru it..Was totally moved by the thought as Arun bid adieu to Shalini and Ananya! ..tak care ZB...looks like yu too busy lately?

H a R y

R. Ramesh said...

buddy start a hotel fast yaar..i have this bad habit of getting hungry all the time..imagine my good friend's hotel waiting to receive me...hey hey where r u running away?

Rahul Anand said...

I am sure Ananya would have good things to perceive of her father.

Gymnast said...

I cant relate ZB. My parents have always been great and have not imposed anything at all one me.

I always used to think me getting married and having kids are all distant events..But i see my classmates getting married , engaged..and campus relationships breaking..Adult life is not too far away.

And when i have a kid , maybe then i'll be able to empathise with the emotion you have for your baby.

ZB said...

@Aparna: Thanks, I know what you mean *they turn into aliens when they hit their teens*, i myself was this xtra terrestrial specimen from outer space, soon after my initiation into TEENS. I relate. I was total rebel. I was this Cheguera like rebel who fought against my dad, as if fighting for a cause. Now i realize how STOOPID i was.

ZB said...

@Sujata: you are right. I can feel that difference in my Dad. He turns a baby before my Daughter. hehe, Thanks:))

@Jyothi: Fiction, My dad was a superb DAD, though he too had few bad instances of temper gone loose.Its a story.

ZB said...

@panorama: i agree. There is a generation difference in how the parents treat their kids. See myself. I play around and fool around wirth my daughter as if we are both the same age. But my father was REAL father. Like you see in movies? like that, strict and authoritarian. But yet affectionate in a different way. :))

Hary: Thanks buddy, yea a bit busy of late, but fine now. Thanks:))

numerounity said...

Hey me too engrossed in watching the baby' picture that couldn't read the blog...will do later!!

Baby is soooooooooo cute!!

ZB said...

@Ramesh: Thanks:))

@Rahul: thanks hope so. :))

@Gymnast: I too had a very loving parents. My father, though a bit strict but was very nice to me. Especially after the lose of mother. He has taken so much pain to bring me up, especially being ultra rebellious and mischievous natured me.

Having a child has changed my thinking, but need not be the same for all. I have completely stopped drinking or smoking. I think of her future and my duties as a father to get her a quality life.

You can empathise even now. Its like you are riding a bike and have a pillion rider with you. If you are riding alone, you dare to risk, but when you have a pillion you have the responsibilities of the pillion and his life is in your hands. Same is the case, i feel a sense of responsibility towards my daughter.

Swatantra said...

Nice pictures!! I was missing it. she looks more sweet in the second photo..

I wish you a great fatherhood and your wife together a great parenting.. bachee jaldi bade ho jate hai..

When i see a new born kid i cannot even imagine Siddharth at that age..

Enjoy every moment with them..

Babli said...

I liked your daughter's name - Ananya. She is very lucky that she got such a nice,loving,caring,talented and genius father and definitely she will follow the steps of her father to become successful in life. Convey my lots of love to Ananya.

Neha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Neha said...

very well narrated know, of all the blogs I have come across so far, nobody handles emotions so well as you put a life in your character...I don't know whether your stories are fictions, true stories or anecdotes, but I find them very close to life...

and for ur PS: AMEN.. :)

R. Ramesh said...

thanks buddy...

Afaq said...

Good Narration

extremity said...

i think this is my most favourite of all ur write ups..and Ananya sure a lucky daughter :)

but..but..u wrote the story to ease your tension..?? the very day ur daughter was born..strange way of easing one..ayyo !!

ZB said...

@All: thanks a ton to all. :))

@Neha: Thanks buddy, your comments always overwhelm me. I may be conveying emotions bcoz I write simple and plain. I don’t use intricate synonyms, which I very well can, thanks to MS Word.

As Churchill has famously said ** The short words are the best, and the old words when they are short, are the best of all**….thanks, TC:))

anamika said...

Nice post ZB.what one goes through when let out in words a small amount of satisfaction is received in one form or another.Some where in our writing we do let out our experience without the world letting it know completely.
It was indeed a touching story weather fiction or autobiographical.

Also about Aparna comment its true daughter completely turns alien when they r in there teens and so did me but one when they get married there love and affection increases many fold for the same people.

ZB said...

@Thanks Anamika. :)

Kaddu said...

Yeah... even I want to know ur real name! Although it's obviously not Arun, 'coz u did tag on 'M'.

Btw, I really admire the way u are able to fit in little snapshots from the mind of a boy who grew up in a troubled environment... the confused emotions carried forward in his later years...

The old display pic was better though... this one looks like it had been clicked for some lengthy government forms! :p ;)

The abstract scientist said...

Hey ZB,
Wonderfully written again. You divulge a lot about your personal life through your writings. I wonder if it is right or wrong though most of us do that including myself. TC.