Since then I’ve called him many things, Dad, my partner in crime, Daddy and so on. But even now, when I am in trouble or even a bit sad I automatically revert back to Papu.
I’ve often spoken about my close relationship with my mom and my Mamaiji but I don’t really talk much about Papu. So even when I was just beginning this #AtoZChallenge I already knew what I would write about when the letter P came around.
They say all girls are their fathers’ princesses. And, when I was born this was true for my dad and me too. The family story goes that dad offered mom gold jewelry if she had a girl and only silver if she had a boy. As a child, Dad would take me with him every Sunday while he washed his beloved Norton and I got to sit there and ask him all sorts of crazy questions or even just get bored out of my mind while he washed the bike’s handlebars for the nth time.
So in tune was I with his presence that, I could sense he was home a couple of minutes before his key turned in the door – this in the days’ before car locking systems announced our every move to the world. And, if Papu had to convey his displeasure with me all he had to do was give me a hard stare and I’d get the message.
So, when my parents separated you could say that I was more than a little upset. I couldn’t fathom a life where I didn’t have a sip of vodka from his glass from time to time (I realize this makes me sound like a child alcoholic) and where I wouldn’t get to stroke my hand against Papu’s beard everyday like I loved to do.
But, we made it work.
I won’t say there were no ups and downs. There were. However, there have always been more ups than downs. I know that even if my Papu is not physically with me at any point, he is only a phone call away and I know that no matter how big an argument we have, I am still – even at 30 – his Raja Beta and will be taken under his wing.
I guess I am writing this is to highlight that there are all kinds of father-child relationships. Fathers can be the wage earners, fathers can be the home-makers and sometimes fathers may not always even be around. For each kind of father people will have a thousand things to say. But, with the right kind of communication, none of this matters.
What matters is that you are there when your kiddo needs you.
When I see my husband playing with M today and acting all kinds of silly, I know that they both already deeply love each other. M isn’t talking yet, so I don’t know if he will call him Papu or something else. What I do know is that as long as they manage to speak each other’s language they will share the same deep bond that I share with my Papu.