My Dad and I
I am glad to say that my life’s always spiced up with the many relationships that I have with people ranging from the amusing, eccentric and romantic to the plain business types.
In particular I share a rather interesting relationship with my Appa (dad). No we don’t fit into the typical “father’s favourite is the daughter” or “father+daughter= best friends” category, neither is he the archetypal “strict orthodox father” who expects implicit obedience.
My appa is very unique, which is what makes the smallest moments with him special. With a speedy swagger and tuft of hair reminiscent of Rajnikanth, he’s somewhere between your mad scientist and Tamil hero of the 80s. His hobby is to “learn new stuff and experiment” – it could be anything from a programming language to a new unheard of dish (possibly his own inventions). His fetish for experimentation is so high particularly in the kitchen that it remains to this day the single biggest source of conflict between my amma (mom) and appa. Each morning witnesses a routine mini Mahabharata scene – only this time the war is over the kitchen.
I never realized why my amma found his kitchen exploits so bothersome till recently when I was supposedly in charge of the kitchen while she was travelling. But one has to commend him for his unconventional methods of cooking – his dishes turn out quite yummy at times.
He loves the pure sciences, though he’s spent most of his professional life in banking and finance. Yet this doesn’t stop him from using his scientific temper to explain the tiniest of things – like this one time when he associated his back pain with some famous scientific law. It’s lovely having him explain all the interesting stuff around us which we hardly know about, and adds in some hard to come by humour to our lives.
Though what his knowledge also means is that plumbers, electricians and men who do odd jobs are not to be summoned by any one of us under any circumstances. He believes in doing the fixing himself, the trouble is that by the time the fixing happens – things are too “unfixed” to be fixed. Invariably he has strange teaching methods too – the smallest of math doubts has to be cleared beginning with a history of math and the like. He is too elaborate and at times he takes us a little too deep into a subject – so deep that usually I’d forget the doubt I had in the first place.
My appa has always been very liberal with his children, he has always let us debate with him. I think almost everyday sees us argue over something or the other – these random arguments have gifted me critical thinking and the ability to analyze. He is one of the few and rare adults who are non hierarchical with small children especially toddlers. Its a joy to see him interact and play with children, he has the amazing ability to connect at their wavelength.
Our arguments however haven’t always been friendly, non competitive ones. In my younger days especially, an argument not ending with my final note meant defeat. And when I was six years old it meant, I was just being “scolded” for no reason. So to punish my appa, at that age I would switch off the lights while he was engrossed in reading the newspaper.
As you can see, he is not a typical parent – even when it came to getting his kids the “material stuff”. He’s never indulged in posh, “in vogue” gifts”, he’s bought us stuff that bring in little joys. I love my appa for the smaller things in life he’s given us. Like this one time when I was close to two years old, he bought me a roadside plastic toy that kept jumping up and down. Apparently I was absolutely delighted, my amma says she had never seen me laugh so gleefully. That little piece of plastic that my appa demonstrated to me was much more wonderful than any of the costly stuffed toys that I have ever had. I have seen many fathers who think twice before buying their kids something that’s aesthetically not pleasing, but my appa with his intuitive understanding of little kids knew that I’d love it.
Very recently he started learning a programming language (as a hobby) – his ability to grasp new things has never diminished with age, neither has his speed in doing things. Although as his daughter I have never been able to match his speed or intelligence, he keeps me inspired to this day.
I love my appa and the relationship I share with him. It just pours in a lot more zest and spice into my life.