It is a personal note which I thought of sharing, in memory of my deceased father, I hope it makes some sense for all of us.
My father and I were never close, at least that’s what I thought. Now, what does closeness/friendliness to your parent mean? Probably it means that you can share/discuss anything and respect one’s value addition to the other’s life decisions. I remember always fighting/debating with him over matters like which field of study should I chose, what political party should vote for, which politicians are worth our trust, how should I behave with a particular person even if I dislike him/her, when should I express my opinion and when not. While he was never a typical chauvinist, but his attitude towards my mother often seemed like one, but his female friends/colleague were gung-ho about the helpful and open-minded person he was. One of our most significant issues was his indulgence towards my younger sibling, I was always of the opinion that he should be stricter towards her for her good, but he would be biased and overlook every mistake she did. He was a simple, peaceful person who would generally not prefer to be part of any disagreement, but he was a person of opinion, especially about things that concerned him, or people close him. Was he a loving and doting father? No, his expressions would never say so, he was an idealist busy in his world of thoughts. He was someone who would smile only when his friends/colleagues were around. He was not an ideal father we read in books or see in movies. Did all of these make him a bad father? Now, what is the definition of a good parent? I believe there is no definition or pattern. I wouldn’t have the capability or courage of doing what I did with my life or the decisions I took if he was. He was a person who never made us feel that every Indian family needs a son. His daughters were more than enough. He wanted his children to be girls because he believed women have better compassion than men and that they were emotionally more powerful. He taught me to read books and watch movies without inhibitions and encouraged that I have my opinion about everything I see or learn, but I need not be getting into an argument to prove my point, I must choose my battles carefully. He never tried to become my teacher; he would talk about things randomly like a friend and encourage me to pay attention and remember/learn them for life. He was the most honest person I have ever seen in life; he would never ask for favours, won’t take gifts from clients and help them in every possible problem they had, and most of the times going beyond his way. He was a food enthusiast who hated spending money in restaurants but wanted my mother to cook all things possible at home, and he would read and talk about food/recipes from across the globe. He became so sickly before his demise that everyone thought it would be only fair to him to rest in peace, but I fiercely wanted him to stay, and he knew that. I never thought I would be, so grief-stricken after he was gone because we never had an apparent loving relation. Most of the time, I would be angry with him for not being fair to me or not listening to me for innumerable reasons. I wanted the grief to go away, but my every such attempt would push me to a fresh episode of depression. After almost a year of internal fighting, reasoning I realised, it is not possible to get rid of the grief of losing a parent because whether I want to admit it or not, I loved him, and he loved me too but in his unconventional ways. In many ways, I became the person he taught me to be, I inherited his emotions, his integrity, his intellectuality. We don’t get to choose our parents but whether we like it or not we become the product of our parent’s behaviour/nature and education. Like every child is not the same, and they need the upbringing suiting their specific needs, in the same extent, every parent isn’t the same. Like our parents give the effort to make us better, worthier similarly we also must invest in understanding our parents. I wish there shouldn’t anyone out there who understood the feelings for her father after he was gone. In my defence, while most of my life, I kept fighting/debating/arguing with my father over various matters I did protect him like my son. I lost my emotional intelligence after he was gone and still struggling to get my composure back, but one of my life’s most important lesson that it is crucial to emotionally invest in knowing your parents better otherwise we may have to lament for a lifetime. It took me almost two years (after his death) to pen down a memoir like this but, belatedly I did it defeating my ego to accept the biggest fallacy of my life. I thought it was essential to share because many from our generation would have similar differences with their parents without even being cognisant about the same.