In the world of poets, writers and even those poster shares which form the backbone of Facebook spamming, fathers are conspicuous by their absence. The mother is sung about, the father’s never to be found in any song. Motherhood is a virtue, fatherhood… is that a word?
Well, maybe a mention here and there, to rhyme with rather, or lather, or just to portray fairness and equality in mommy bloggers’ blog posts about parenting. Other than that, no one seems to be writing about fathers and their -hood. Look at us, most of us know Mother’s Day, but we need a glittery message on our neighbourhood Archies Gallery door to remind us about Father’s Day – with last year’s unsold cards proudly displayed, hoping they will get sold at least this year around.
Let’s begin at the beginning, when millions swim and swim, looking for that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, fully knowing that only one will win. And what victory is his and what a welcome by the snugly waiting egg. Who would miss a tail, when there’s two-to-tango now? A boom poof and tadah away we have a baby. Alright, it’s also ow-ah-arrgh and ouch for the mother, for whom, it is like delivering a whole universe at its best, and at its worst too. No gain without pain, remember darling, go fee-fie-fo-fum and push!
Now this miracle – seed, growth, birth – is subject to sweet poetry, and the immense sense (and size) of 9 months, over-stretched vocal chords and loss of waistline by the sacrificial mother, the very stuff that the parental ode is made of. Motherhood is next to godliness. Mothers are goddesses. All mothers are superwomen. Jai ho!
However, the father did his bit too you know, even if it took lesser time than saying ‘my pleasure, darling!’ No, I do not mean just keeping himself from fainting on seeing his child arrive. The father emotionally and psychologically prepared his beer belly and football brain to get ready to transform into a cradle, a horse, a car racer and an ATM machine, exactly in that order. So there’s one point to him for his big “Yes, I’m ready” and then another for doing his bit (ahem, even if short compared to 9 long months). He is an essential part of beginning the beginning of parenthood. And then to think of it, it is the ‘Y’ Chromosome that makes your bundle a boy or a girl. Did you even know that? Better still, do you want to know that? Uh-Huh!
And then his story unfolds in every house. As mentioned above, Cradle becomes Horse becomes Car Racer becomes ATM machine becomes, no remains ATM machine. Office happens, then home happens, then again boss happens and the-wife-now-a-super-mother happens, permanently and perpetually. And in between all this the shuttle-cock father happens to be – to become inanimate objects, to use wallet, to earn fat wallet, to obey, to listen, to just be quiet will you the baby’s sleeping!
Football, beer, stag parties are shoe-boxed into the attic and replaced with Fatherhood. Fatherhood? That sudden need to grow up not knowing what it means, at least sound wise if not become it, to deliver guidance about girlfriends and resist from saying have as many, do homework at 12 am and mental mathematics when asleep, buy toy cars and toy dogs, play cricket on sleepy holidays, buy real car and real dog, and feed both properly. Most importantly, feel but not show. Be the man of Reason and leave the emotion for the mother, will you, dear!
Phew! The fathers do their bit. Don’t they?
Go to your nearest monument, market or mall and see what I see – Fathers of all ages and sizes who are being fathers to all ages and sizes. Some cycle their family of four to the public park for a little picnic on the only holiday they have, when they could have chosen to sleep away the muscles tired of manual labour. And their children happily play with the plastic ball, money for which was saved up for a month. Some others kick-start their beloved two-wheeler to tank-it-up and make it ready for the daughter’s report card day, and for the dosa-party to follow right after, she did so well at school after all.
And there are those (to whom my heart goes out the most) rocking teeny-tiny babies to sleep on benches in the mall, with bags-n-bottles at their feet, while the Mrs. hops from one shop to the next – buying everything from mascara to coats to diapers to jewellery to oh forgot to get your shirt honey, next time now, the baby’s about to wake-up and we should get home. Get those bags please, will you?
Do we ignore the Y Chromosome even as we sing paeans for the X?
Our Father at Home,
Holy be thy name.
Thy day shall come, Thy will be done,
On Earth and in Heaven above.
Through poems, stories, odes and songs,
Thy Fatherhood shall, one day, be sung about!
Sakshi Nanda went from studying Literature to serving the print media and finally settling with two publishing houses who called her editor for a couple of hard-bounds, no more! She writes as a work-from-home mother to realize herself as well as to be read, both – with her 2-year-old boy and her sarkari babu beau as the greatest source of ideas and inspiration. She believes eating baby food is therapeutic and that the pen is man’s best invention, after diapers that is! Meet her at: sakshinanda.blogspot.in