Fathers have the power to influence the lives of their children, however, author Harimohan Paruvu pens conversations with his daughter that makes him wonder about the ways of the world
(Picture used for representational purpose only)
There comes a time in our life when we feel we know everything. We know what everyone is up to and exactly how to deal with it. For example, we figured out that things don’t happen easily in this world. That trust, love and belief are for fools. We learned that we must not give until we get. We know someone else is to blame for our misery. We know the world has an agenda to cheat us. We know that showing vulnerability is an invitation to get taken for a ride.
Just when we have all these figured out, fatherhood strikes. It is God’s big speed breaker on our express highway. So this little defenceless kid shows up in my life one day. I wonder at how much I will have to do to protect her and take care of her. What would she do without me? She knows nothing but to laugh and cry. I resign myself to a life of teaching her the intricacies of life, the finer points I had figured out. It appears to be a long process going by her ways.
For starters the kid has an unshakeable faith and belief in us, more than we have in ourselves. Poor thing, she does not know how dumb it is to trust anyone so fully and show love so easily. She does not know the first thing about a whole lot of stuff. Just check out some of the stuff she does and you know what I am getting it.
What would we do if someone hurt us needlessly? We’d plan how to hurt them right? Now some ants bit her one day without any provocation and she gave them some sugar. I asked her why she made friends with the ants. She said they were working so hard so she gave them food.
Does she not know anything about taking things personally and holding on to the hurt? What’s the point in making friends so easily when someone has hurt you? If we cannot hurt them back, we can at least hurt ourselves and hope they see us hurting. It is a little complex but hopefully she will get it soon.
Another time our plane wobbled midair like it would crash. All adults started praying loudly to God. But the kid was unaffected and enjoyed it like it was some joy ride. We did not crash. Someone said it was because of our loud prayers. But then someone else asked a disturbing question - did the kid have more faith in God than us? I don’t know what but it seemed foolish to enjoy that ride when we could scare ourselves some more with visions of all kinds of terrible outcomes.
Once, the kid went to school when she was unwell because her team had a rehearsal. I told her that she need not try so hard and should only give as much to the team as she gets (which is what we normally do at work). But she did not get it and went ahead with her ill health and gave it everything she had. Surprisingly her team won and they were all happy and clapped for her. ‘See,’ she said. How can I tell her that she just got lucky?
It won’t happen all the time? It never did to me, so I never put in my best. Wonder when she will learn to be smart. Another time I was feeling lonely and needed to talk to someone. I looked at the phone intensely and hoped someone would call me.
No one called. It now hurt that no one called me – even more than my original loneliness. I told the kid that no one was calling me and she said ‘Then you call na? Why are you waiting?’ I had made so much effort to hold on to the hurt and she says you call so simply. They will think I am weak and needy won’t they? I think she just misses the whole point. If she does not get this right soon, she is in for a lot of trouble, I can see.
But then, sometimes I wonder.
One day she told me that to get more love I need to love more people. Another time she pointed out that the guys who were digging the road were actually working for us and not against us (and by saying that converted a lot of my imaginary enemies into my benefactors – now I have nothing to crib about).
She is also unnecessarily grateful to everyone for doing work they are supposed to. Surprisingly the same idiots work harder for her than anyone else. She cares about people and animals and birds. She gives easily without thinking about what she is getting in return. She works for no reward but for the satisfaction of it. She learns things without any exam and purpose – just for the sake of learning.
I wonder how I will ever teach her the ways of the world. But then I wonder, should I teach her anything at all. She seems much happier than I am and is getting along with the world far better than I am. Maybe I should wait a bit before teaching her my ways. She is getting by far easier than I am in this world. She seems to know something I don’t.