It was a lazy Sunday afternoon he was lying on bed with laptop on his belly (his permanent baby bump as she used to call it). He was going through the baby shower pictures. She has just reminded him (again!) to short list few for their ‘baby is here news’ as it could be at any day now. And there he was following her word so what if she is at her mom’s place, her word is the rule no matter what!!
He came across a picture where she is holding a placard “Mom to Be”. He couldn’t help but to zoom in and out to check her glowing contented face as if she’ll pop out of the picture and will bring back home the liveliness. Then he zoomed at his picture holding placard “Dad to Be” he was as happy as he ever could be !! Unlike most of his friends who were not ready for fatherhood, he knew he was ready to be one, though with jitters.
Ever since the news was out, he has been on cloud nine, re-running future plans in his head. And she has been the center of attention for family and friends as if she was the only one who is going to have the child!! Agree she needed more pampering and care as she was going through emotional phase and carrying their baby! So was he!! He was also going through an emotional upheaval and carrying him in his heart. Yes, ‘him’ … he wanted a boy. Breaking all the stereotypes of current days- fathers wanting daughters. He wanted a son. Not that having a daughter would disappoint him; he would love, care, and support her equally. Just like some people would want daughters he wanted a son, simple! Not because of some orthodox thoughts that a son will continue his lineage but because he wanted to recreate the bond that he had with his father, with his son.
He shared a special bond with his Baba(dad). When other dads were putting in late office hours, or with social circles; his dad always manged to have time for him. Be it studies, sports, outing, Baba was always with him. Baba was his first go-to person. As a child he used to enjoy their scooter rides in city outskirts where Baba shared his dreams- some came true, some yet to be and few crashed ones too!!
There were many memories of his father that he has treasured since childhood. One of them was their vacations together. Once in a year during summer holidays Baba used to plan a travel for them. There was nothing fancy about it though,still that simple memory of their train journey was priceless;he taking up window seat watching trees , clouds moving with curious eyes, Baba patiently answering his unending questions and Aai (mom) smiling at them peeping through her magazine.
As he grew… from his first cycle ride to his first bike ride, from gully cricket to playing for his college’s team, from school studies to office stress, from first heartbreak as a teenager to a groom to be; their equation became even stronger. They shared a unique relation where he and Baba could switch roles to be a ‘father-son’ and to be ‘friends’. They had their fair share of arguments too. But his father never treated him as dumb, always believed in him and there was an assurance no matter what Baba will be there for him.
When he took up an opportunity of working abroad Aai tried to convince him not to go using her emotional tactics but Baba smilingly said –go get your dreams. Dad never tried to impose his dreams on him. He always used to say- ‘go where your heart takes you, very few can do it and I’ll support you in whatever way I can’. That’s why after couple of years when he decided to come back his Baba’s words were- if that is what you truly want then welcome back– no ego, no ‘told you so attitude’ nothing just a warm hug.
There was one more thing about his father that he admired, Baba taught him by example what manhood really is. His mom was a homemaker, still dad equally shared the household chores with her so that she could pursue her hobbies. He learnt from Baba how equal partnership works in marriage. He learnt how a gentleman should be by following Baba’s footsteps. Baba never hesitated expressing emotions. He still recalls his first day of playschool when other parents were telling – boys don’t cry; Baba comforted him saying ‘it’s okay to cry for a while as you feel you’ll be away from home but think about new friends that you’ll make here’. At many stages of life Baba showed him emotions are not man’s weakness moreover they make him the person that he is. May be that’s why when Baba left him a year ago and relatives expected him to stay strong for his mom and family, he could hear a voice within ‘it is okay to cry’. And that night he cried holding Baba’s belongings and thereafter whenever his memory comes to him, he allows his heart to engulf a little.
Now, when he is about to be a father, he missed his. How he had wished to have a picture capturing three generations. He wanted his father by his side now the most, to help him be a father as amazing as Baba was. He felt somewhat lost without his father, he looked for Baba’s photo in the living room – smiling as always and he could hear that assuring voice again ‘everything is going to be fine, you’ll be a great father and you’ll know what and how the moment you’ll hold your baby – just like I did’ a feeling of calmness run through him… and the phone rang … it was from her Mom calling…it was ‘the time’; they were taking her to the hospital.
Read a quote somewhere “Between dreams and fixed deposits a father always knew what should be broken” personally couldn’t agree more to this.
On the occasion of Father’s Day… remembering countless moments with my father my Baba who is my strongest support, who always believes in me; hope it’ll help you unravel yours…
Disclaimer- all the characters in this story are fictional ; content copyrights are with the author and Soulसंवाद and picture source is internet/web.