Chatting with an old friend a few days back, conversation led to something which made me realize that I have dedicated a large chunk of my life, to copy/ please/ impress my father.
Old friend: Remember how we used to sit at the back of the class and would throw chalks?
Me: Oh yeah! Throwing chalks used to be our goal of life. And I was a helluva aimer. If life was all about throwing chalks, I would be unbeatable. I couldn’t see the blackboard clearly but knew my target :P
O.F: Lolz. You used to see my notebook to write. You never wore specs.
Me: I still don’t wear them.
Me: Yea. You know father doesn’t let me.
O.F: Oh yea. Your father thinks your eyes are too pretty for specs.
Me: You are still bad at sarcasm.
O.F: You still do what your father likes, even at this age.
Me: No. That’s not true.
That WAS true. In my heart, I knew, that was true. I have always tried hard to do to everything my father does/says/likes/approves.
I still remember, in my childhood when abbu would shave, I used to stand next to him and ask to give some of his shaving gel so that I would shave too. He would always refuse, and I would always quick to take some of the foam from his face and apply on my own. Once, while I was doing so, father said, “Beta, it is not for girls, why do you do it?” I replied, “Beta is for not girls too, why you say it?” He laughed and said to mother, “Look at her age and her answer.” To which mother answered, “Your mother tells similar stories about you too.”
That WAS true. My dadi used to tell that abbu was the most stubborn of all the kids. Whenever any guest would visit their place and dadi would serve them tea, right then, my father would ask for it too, and would keep insisting if asked to wait. Afterwards, my dadi would take the kettle and pour tea directly from it in his mouth. But he never learned his mother’s lesson.
However, dadi tells that he was very particular about learning his school lessons. He was most intelligent of all the kids. You know, like there is always ONE uncle in every family, who had studied under god knows how many street lights, walked miles to reach school and then walk miles back to home, started earning at a very early age, continued studies side by side, got scholarship abroad, designated high post and made it big. A self made man. Yeah the Perfect Memoir Material (PMM).
Well fortunately or unfortunately, in my case, that PMM happened to be my father. So, the minute you open your eyes, you are told father’s story more than that of Cinderella’s. He is the only male figure in the house, so his influence was even heavier on me.
I always wanted to copy him. He loves cricket. His blood pressure is directly proportional to the performance of Pakistan Cricket team. The higher target Pakistan loses the match with, the higher his blood pressure goes. I used to see him, in my childhood, sitting in front of the TV screen and advising the players on which ball to take reverse sweep and on which to straight shot. So, to impress him, I would listen to the commentators more than watching the match, and would memorize all the cricket jargons on the sport page. And now, I can tell when a no ball was supposed to be a Yorker and when a half hearted short on a loose ball could have been a sixer.
He is very passionate about politics, national and international. I personally think that he and Sheikh Rasheed were bros in the last Janam. As he every now and then gives his precious predictions about political scenes. He also happens to know all the inside stories, ranging from Pentagon to NIS to ISI to what not, he knows- it- all. I used to be stupefied by his political sense when kid. I would always make a point to sit with him when 9 bajay ka Khabarnama or Hard talk would be on, listen to what he had to say. He would be happy when the two shows would come, back then. And now, he is always very happy. Yeah, unlike other people, he NEVER complains about the influx of political talk shows, he is in fact the happiest man on the planet to have them. And because of him, now I start to get mood swings, when I don’t get to watch these full of crap and good for nothing political shows.
Once, I saw his photograph reading a book. I inquired if he reads. He said that he used to. And it was then that I decided to gulp as many books as I can, in this lifetime.
He never wore a T shirt or a safari suit, men of his generation like to wear, for that matter, he always wears button downs. So, whenever I would shop, I try to get at least one button down.
He is repulsive about long hair. I never let mine grow below my shoulders.
He once said to me that he doesn’t like make up, as it makes a face more like a pastry than anything else. I never wore any. And tried hard to come to terms with my looks as they are.
He watches WWE because it is for real “rugged” men. I NEVER gave a second look to men who are not rugged.
He was a James Bond fan when young. I watched all bond movies I could get my hands on.
He likes white. I always have my room painted white.
I always would team up with you, when mum, you and I used play cards. And play my cards as per your directions, even if my instinct says otherwise. Avoid mother’s red face with anger and gaze at yours, to catch a hint, if you are pleased with me.
All my life, I have tried to make you happy with me. So, I may have ridiculously failed. But is it elusive to acknowledge my efforts? I mean seriously, if I had put so much effort in my studies, I would have gone places. No kidding. But you never reciprocate. Perhaps, you were busy learning so many other things in life that you didn’t have the time to learn how to take love.
But I have lot of time. And you should know that I am a shameless overtly expressive person. So today, on your birthday, when I wished you birthday and said that I love you, your thank you with half smile response, didn’t disappoint me. Your restrain can never disappoint me. I love you and always will.
Happy Birthday to you, Abbu.
I feel blessed to be raised by you.