Billu ki Billi…..
Every healthy man has sperms to put into a female body, but how many of them really deserves to be a father? A father is not just a reproductive man in action, he is the one who contributed in making of a human and pledges to give him/her the best he can. A mother gets credit all her life and should get as well, but a father works without any credit to his name. He is the one who fulfilled all your mother’s cravings during pregnancy, he worked extra hours at home so that his wife could get some rest, he is the one who plans investments and policies during this time, because he doesn’t want to even imagine a distressed hour on his family in his absence. When the feet of his pregnant wife gets swollen up, he reads online the remedies for the same, when there is too much puking around him, he advices the mother-in-process to smell something nice, he is the one who learns to tie the diaper around the little waist and what does he ask in return? Nothing…. The way his wife works endlessly at home, makes the house a place with emotions to live in, a man works outside of his favourite place to feed the mouths that look upto him. Does he have a choice? In conditions that are majorly hard to survive, with people who are drenched in politics of ugly nature, under bosses who are after his life for no good reason, he strives to bring the best to the table. It is because of him that the necessities are fulfilled, luxuries are taken care of and holidays are planned to your favorite destination.
He does it all but still misses the first walk of his child because he is in a meeting away from home, he misses the afternoon tea with his wife just so that the smile on her face is not temporary, he takes all the anger from the boss all the day and faces the cold taunts of his family because he was late on an important date back home. Trust me, he wasn’t partying all this while on that limp chair in office. His deadlines were not decided by his own free will and so all he wants is cooperation and love from the people he calls his loved ones.
So I can say that my father deserved to be a father every dime. There are many who don’t, be he sure did! I have seen fathers having the best they can for themselves, the most expensive laptop, the exclusive watch, etc. but as I said earlier, my father has been different. He bought me my first jacket from Punjab where he was sleeping on floor with rats on a cold January night. After numerous attempts, he failed to have a fruitful work set-up and so was in a job hunting phase. A relative from Punjab called to offer him a job at a reputed university. We all were happy because we saw him happy. He had to leave us in Kolkata and go ahead to earn the bread and butter. I saw a flickering spark in his eyes which kept me confuse. I never knew what the work was but I knew he wanted a job desperately and that he was getting one. So I was happy for him. He lived far apart in an age where STDs were to be made from a booth and the ticking clock would mean a higher cost to him, so we barely could talk and mostly maa got the opportunity (which was fair).
6 months of distance, when I saw him home for the first time, tears wouldn’t just stop. While I hugged him and brimmed him up as well, I noticed his torn shirt. It was not just a normal tear, it was a weird roughing up of the edges as well. I asked him and he just kissed me and hugged me again. Days in and days out, I kept asking about the job but never got a satisfactory answer. I was stubborn with my questions and he was gentle with me like ever. On an evening walk, I asked him if he was happy there? He said an unconvincing yes and thus I dug deeper. To my shock, the tear on his shirt was a rat eating up his shirt while he was asleep. On further investigation and probe I got to know that he was a Canteen Head there but while talking about it, I never saw a spark in his eyes which was very important to me. You guys have no idea how important eyes are to me. First my father was really bad at lying, he would himself end up smiling, second, all this story was seemingly fake to me and thirdly and most importantly, the spark in his eyes were missing. Somehow, things were not adding up.
And there comes kasam! Kasam was my “RAM-BAAN” ilaaj for everything. He is a man who keeps his promise no matter what. I remember waking him up in the middle of the night and giving him kasam to stand on the bed and dance with me because I had heard a new Punjabi song on radio. He not only danced with me half-asleep, he aced it with his thumkaas! So I gave him my kasam and asked him questions till my heart could bear. He worked as a canteen staff, taking care of the kitchen workers, cleaning the soiled benches and utensils sometimes. In the extreme cold of Punjab, he was sleeping on floor with rats around him, which sometimes bit him on the thumb and sometimes his ears. He would bathe at around 5 in the morning with ice cold water before reporting at work and hence his back ached almost everyday since he had come back around a month ago. I hugged him because his chatterbox could not say anything at that moment. He still smiled everyday over the phone whenever I got a chance to talk to him. He was a pampered child himself who hadn’t cleaned a single dish at home ever in his life. You cannot even imagine what it would be to him to work there and smile here. I still imagine! But he came back with a jacket for me from the savings he did. No one else but I got a gift from his very very very hard earned money! I am a miser, I guess you would also become one, if you had seen the scratches on your father’s back after the hard work he did.
He is the reason I smile after a hard day at work. That is one thing which was there all throughout. Smile! He would dance with me on the stupidest songs you could have ever heard. He winked at my maa and called her names no one could ever imagine. A man who had never filled up a glass of water all his life, made tea for my maa when she came home after teaching tuition to children. He would cook for her and ask her how was her day. Day after day, he took care of me more than my maa ever did (it’s not that maa was any less). When I was studying all night, he came to my room at around 3 without a miss with a glass full of milk. He would call me Billi because I drank milk but I received it as a compliment because his name is Billu and I was lucky to get a resemblance in any which way he offered.
But he has been a bad father as well!
He has set the standards so high for others in my life that I am not content with anyone ever! My husband, my brother and even my maa gets taunts from me every now and then for they cannot match his behaviour in any way, or even get close to what he means to me. Words will not be enough anyday, so let me not even try!