Happy Father’s Day to Baba

Growing up in a small town in India during the 70s and the 80s, I did not have arguments with my parents because I never knew that was an option. Both my brother and I were expected to obey our parents. Not arguing was particularly difficult with Ma because she was a strict disciplinarian and I had a curious mind. Not surprisingly, despite our many good and loving moments, Ma and I sometimes collided in our ways of thinking and I, not allowed to protest verbally, became upset with her more often than not. Ma never asked what was wrong because she believed in giving me time to cool down.

Baba, on the other hand, simply could not stay away when I was distressed. He lingered around me just to start a conversation. Sometimes it worked, and I started talking to him. And sometimes it didn’t. One of those times, I was lying down with my face covered, and he started to pat my back affectionately, which made me more annoyed. I told him “I don’t want to talk to either you or Ma. So don’t touch me.” He did not stop caressing and calmly said, “I am not touching you. I am patting my daughter.”

We did not observe Father’s Day in India the way most families do now. In fact, I learnt about Father’s Day after I came to America. I wish there was a day called ‘Father’s Day’ back then so that I could have told him, “Thank you for your unwavering love, unyielding support and unbelievable patience. They made a world of difference in my life.” I did not get a chance to tell him then, so I am telling him today, “Happy Father’s Day, Baba!”

Sharmistha’s Book