It was father’s day a few days ago
There were all these notes floating around the internet from fathers to daughters.
And it made me think if my father would ever write me such a note. Would there be golden words of wisdom strewn across a piece of paper telling me life’s wondrous lessons? Would I suddenly have all my answers articulately written down in prose?
I didn’t think so.
All my birthday cards have always ever said ‘Happy Birthday Pet. Love you’.
I’m writing this because I got a call from my mother the other day saying that my father had left his phone in an ice cream shop and if I needed to talk to him I should call her number.
And I couldn’t stop smiling.
I’d do that.
Leave my phone in an ice cream shop.
I would also sit on my shades after keeping them in my back pocket.
I would leave my house keys inside the house and hear the door slam shut.
Forget my wallet in the car.
Let the ATM machine eat my credit card. Many times.
Ask my daughter her date of birth every time I had to fill out a form.
Stay in love with Jethro Tull my entire life.
I don’t know if it’s the genes, or just the fact that I like hanging out with him and he’s rubbed off on me.
I’ve tried to write about my father many times. I’d get started and then I’d just let it go.
Mostly, I know where to begin, but I don’t know where to take it.
It’s because I know so little about him.
Or because I know enough.
I know that when he had just been commissioned as a pilot officer, one random day, he decided to go get a drink in the early evening at the Officers Mess. No big reason. He just felt like it.
He ordered his drink, and saw a calendar behind the bartender. It said ’24th April’. It took him a moment to realize that it was his 22nd birthday that day. The drink suddenly made a lot of sense. To him.
And to me.
I know that his call sign was ‘Bullet’.
And before that, when he was flying MiG-27’s it was ‘Rapier’.
I know that he has said “Don’t waste your time on him. He’s a drifter” to me.
Best relationship advice ever.
I know that he bought me my first drink. Which I managed to spill all over myself before I took the first sip.
I know that he has made me love the stars with all my might. That in 1993, when electricity would play truant in Assam, we’d sit on the porch and look at the milky way.
I know that it’s easier to ask him the meaning of a word, because he’s quicker than google.
And he gives great examples.
I know that his take offs and landings are smooth as silk. Not because he’s my father. But because I’ve been on the tarmac, 20 feet away, gloating, mostly.
I know that he doesn’t believe in ‘psychobabble’ or the fact that the moon can mess up my sleep pattern. Or anyones sleep pattern for that matter. Or that the moon should be used in such a statement. It’s a satellite. Not a warlock.
I know that he jumped off a moving train for my mother who was standing on the platform. He yelled ‘Say jump’. And she said ‘Jump!’. So he did. And stayed with her for another day.
I’ve been friends with him for 15 years now. Before that, I was plain mortified.
This is a note to him.
Because notes from fathers to daughters are too mainstream.
Because without saying a word, he says it all.
Because he is my hero.
And because he’s made it so difficult for me to get impressed by anything.