On Father's Day

“In a pensive mood, eh?” Lulu, my parrot asked.

“I was thinking about my father, it has been twenty-five years since he is gone” I said, “And today is the Father’s Day. It brought back old memories.”

“We parrots have very different parenting than human beings. Human parents are usually so protective.” Lulu said.

“Well, each species will have their own peculiarities and you do not have to be so evaluative about human beings as parents” I said. “We have to deal with a different world than you.”

“Hmmm…although it is different, I also see many similarities.” Lulu said thinking deeply.

“Fathers will be fathers after all, wherever you go in this world!”

“Among us birds, they push you out once you develop enough strength in the wings” Lulu said, “I do not see that happening among human beings.”

“Well, I am told that it happens in the west. But people in the east are very protective. They believed in joint families till recently.” I clarified. “But if you are telling me that my father did not give me independence, you are mistaken.”

“Really?” Lulu was surprised.

“Yes. He always said that an individual’s role changes perceptibly every seven years. So we must consciously think what people around us are expecting from us. And he did introspect on his role, so he could adapt with greater ease. I often see people treating their children as if they never grew up, fortunately he wasn’t one of them.”

“That’s really great. But it must have been difficult for him.”

“Yes, indeed. He was the senior most in the family so everybody consulted him and his decisions were treated as final ones. As I grew up, he allowed me, nay, expected me to decide everything. This was slowly and gradually done.”

“How did it feel?” Lulu asked.

“Well, I felt as if I am ‘Center Forward’ to use the football lingo. He stood there like a Goal Keeper. He allowed me to make moves but stood there defending if and when things went wrong.”

“That is equivalent to pushing out when you gather strength in your wings, right?”

“Yes!”

“Did he teach you anything?”

“Not really, it was always my mother…..hmmm…Oh yes, he taught me a very valuable thing…he taught me to appreciate Classical Music” I said, “He always said that you must sing your song at your pace and rhythm! It took me several years to understand what he meant.”

“That was insightful!” Lulu appreciated.

“He was a great man.”

“Are you like your father?” Lulu asked.

“Hmmm....In some ways Yes, and in some ways No” I said and clarified, “In a sense I owe this too to him. He respected my individuality, and nurtured it. There is one important lesson he has taught me, that is ‘how to be a good father’ ....I hope twenty five years after I am gone my son will say this!”

Vivek

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