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#2 Happy Birthday Papa

Updated: Jan 17, 2021

Pam Brown said, 'Dad's are most ordinary men turned by love into heroes, adventurers, story-tellers, and singers of songs'. In my case, add 'a man dressed up as a woman to be the guest in my pretend tea-parties' and it would be an almost perfect description of Papa.

My father was an oddball as a young boy with revolutionary ideas in a quaint UP village. Nothing much has changed since then. Unrelenting under familial pressures and challenging societal norms at every step of the way, I have always seen him as a warrior; be it for his family, his patients or his country.

He always relished his duties, be it that of an army man or a father. As I grew up, I have seen him make sacrifices as all men in the defence forces do, missed birthdays, vacations, PTAs etc. or simply those moments of nothingness which one cherishes with their family. He missed a lot of it but more than made up for it by doubling his efforts when he was around. Be it ignoring golf to accompany me on morning walks or giving army parties a miss to spend the evenings with me reading books, watching TV and discussing the world; he did it all in his way when he was given the time.

A man with complete irreverence for ranks or authority, he treats everyone the same. The world is effortless for him, its either right or wrong, black or white. While I disagree with that approach, I respect his unwavering commitment to simplicity in life. A man who commands respect rather than demand it. He is also a man of very few needs. Never one to spend a lot of money, he lets his mind do the talking for him. Anything fancy never caught his attention, but intelligence and personality did.

I never had to learn work ethic because I had a father who was a living embodiment of hard work, commitment and ethics. Patience, silent strength, humility and dependability are the traits that I have picked up from him. A champion for women, even before being a feminist was a thing; I am blessed with the best father any girl could ask for. And sentimental, never one to hide his tears, be it while leaving for the border or merely crying in a good movie.

He is first a doctor, then an army officer and then a sportsperson to the world. To me, he is and will always be my father first. My partner in rhyme and crime, my tickle monster, my secret keeper, my dance partner, and my buddy. He exposed me to things that Ma would have been too scared to experiment with. He makes me laugh in a way Ma forgot to. He opened up the world to me. From experimenting with different cuisines to cultures to languages, he always lead the way and I simply followed. Witty, a mean card player and golfer, an excellent doctor but an even better husband and the best father. He is the cool dad everyone dreams of.

Every little girl sees a hero in her father. I am no different. The man with the loud voice and definitely the loudest laughter in the room, I hope to annoy him for eternity. Happy birthday Papa.

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