It was past midnight, the door of my room creaked. Somebody entered and left. I was too profoundly indulged in my dreams to give a damn about it.
When I woke up next morning, Mom called me and said “Daddy had to leave late night, there was a failure on the tracks. He got all your xerox copies attested yesterday. Got your tickets done. He kept them all in your bag last night before leaving. And he said you may call him in case you need something else”.
My father is a Section Engineer in the Indian Railways. He is often called upon at unusual times, whenever there is a severe failure in the Signalling Process. I was to leave that day, having been home during the Semester break. As always, he arranged everything for me before I could get to know. Damn !! why does he do that… every time ? After all, I am a graduate. I can manage things now.
Well, may be because he still wants to do as much as he possibly can… for me. Right from teaching me how to walk, to getting me admitted into a college… he did everything for me but never took the credit of it.
And poor me, couldn’t even take the trouble of turning around in the bed and thanking him. Well, that’s what I had been doing all my life. Never acknowledged a man… who probably was the biggest hero in my life.
It is believed that a child is always closer to the mother. True ! because in most cases, it is the mother who is directly involved in the upbringing of the child. The father always comes second.
Well, one should never draw comparisons between the two. But then, don’t they deserve the same credit ?
After all, here is a man who shuns all his expensive fantasies so that he can save for his children. He abandons his high life so that he can spare all his time for his kids. Comes home late and tired, yet plays video games because his son needs a companion. Has a lot of work pending, still listens to the fairy-tales of his daughter, which hardly interest him.
He might not take a leave even when he falls seriously ill, but when we fall off a bicycle, it is a calamity. He takes part in all our childish games, sponsors all our worthless endeavors. Helps us complete our projects, accompanies us to friends’ birthday parties, patiently listens even when we talk utter nonsense, watches cartoon network because we don’t leave him with a choice…. the man makes all the sacrifices which, as it appears in the hindsight, even we might not have made had we been in those situations. Ohh !! but we hardly care… right.
In fact, even after him doing all that, we often end up telling him “leave it Dad, you won’t understand”.
Well, this is the man who has lived every second of his life just for you, ever since you were born. If he can’t understand you, it’s hard to assume anybody can. We often say things that might hurt him, but he comes back as if nothing happened.
Here is a man who makes all the adjustments, still has to bear the blame for the things he has no control over, yet doesn’t have the right to grumble. How does he do all this and still carry the smirk… well may be because he is a hero, a real hero.
A hero who can’t complain, can’t desire, can’t cry… because he has to remain a hero. He might be facing so many troubles everyday, but he would never let us know. In making sure that he does not let his children down, he forgets that he too has a life.
Just imagine, when a child continuously bugs us with non sense, how irritated we get. Well, we did that to this man, for a number of years. And all he did was – turned back, smiled and hugged us….
I always recall when in the summer vacation, Dad used to come home in the evening, completely drenched in sweat and tired. As soon as he entered, I would stand in in front of him with a bat and a ball. He would put his bag down and start playing with me. Not even once do I remember him saying ‘NO’.
But I truly realized the extent of his selflessness a little later in life. Once my mom had gone out for a few days, to visit my aunt who was unwell. She had arranged for a cook for the time being. One evening, Dad asked me how many chapati’s I would eat. I said “4 or 5”. He served the food to me, and said he would eat later.
Next day, when the maid came home, she asked me “Bhaiya !! I hope you and uncle didn’t fall short of chapatis last night”. I was puzzled – Why would she ask that ? She said ” because I was in a hurry last evening, so i could only make 5 chapatis”. Shame on me, I never checked whether Dad actually had his dinner last night, or not. I just could not figure out – How can a man be so selfless, for somebody who doesn’t even acknowledge his care.
Well, that incident completely transformed me… at least for the man who had always been the unsung hero of my life.
We might never be able to say a “thank you” or “sorry” for everything that has happened. All we can do is – make sure we never hurt him again.