Today, as I lay down for my nap, I let my mind drift before sleep overcame my senses. The chores, the pleasant talks and the unpleasant danced around in my head and then I saw clearly a vision. I saw dad lowering himself on a jute bed, his head finally resting on a beige inflatable pillow.
This must have happened some 30 years ago. I was startled because this had nothing to do with my present reality yet I could see the scene clearly. This was the time dad was constructing our house and we would go and check on the progress every weekend, spending the morning and the afternoon there. I could feel the mild heat, see the uncemented brick walls and the workers getting on with the work. It was not a huge house; the first floor of the house seemed almost claustrophobic even to my young and carefree self. I could see the walls encroaching on the open space and water storage tanks being put in. Those were the days of concrete tanks, the ubiquitous black plastic tanks were yet to make an appearance and when they did I was mesmerised by the black cylindrical structures that sat atop all roofs. For the moment though – the moment of the inflatable pillow, I liked those tanks. We put rusted cans on the bottom and jumped in; standing atop the cans and enjoying a dip. It was all done when mom was not around because that would have meant behaving in the most ladylike manner.
So, I saw dad in the unfinished house-the house that is all furnished and cared for and in which he lives now. I did not call him today to wish a happy father’s day because that is not what our relationship is like. We don’t believe in days that celebrate a relationship. We believe in being father and daughter. We are not chums- not the high fiving, backslapping friends. For me he is just dad. To be obeyed, respected, loved but not in an open, brash manner. He is just always there, like a rock, like a foundation on which I stand, like a vision I draw my identity from. He is doing all that a father is supposed to do. And I hope that he sees some of the things in me that he wanted in a daughter of his.