I recall my neighbor, an old lady, used to say: "My husband is the eighth wonder of the world!". I could never understand that why. Although, my mother used to agree to that fact for herself as well. Ladies chitchat, but with a lot of sense in it. How can one compare the wonders of the world with a person? Time was to teach me that, and thus, I write the story of my father below.
My dad was the eldest born to a soldier. He was a fun loving person at school, quite a player on the soccer field. He was a ruffian as he calls himself when young. He beat up people, and they feared the wrath of his gang of friends. He possessed a power in a small world that everyone desire. But, when the time to college came, he failed the entrance test thrice. In a country like India, getting an admit in a college can be done by a signature on a bank cheque. But, my grandfather did not, out of ethic. The stroke of misfortune led my father and grandmother into shock because she expected him capable enough to become the first person in the family to earn a degree. But, dad had the utmost respect for his parents. He did not show that life had struck him down. He turned into a calm person. He suppressed all his pride and anger and emotion. He set out to earn with grandpa in the workshop.
It is a wonder to see that facing not just this, but shocks more disastrous than him did not deter him. It is a rarity to see him angry or distressed. He drags his life like a beast: lifeless but with all the zeal he has left in him. He kept working, and a day came, he got married to this cheerful lady, my mom. Although, what my mother did not know was that the same misfortune was to lay upon her as well. As the difficulties grew harsh, just like dad, mom also lost all cheer of life. It is strange to see that lifelessness is contagious. However, my mother grew out of that, and I used to see her cry alone when dad wasn't around.
Well, the greatest wonder to me is, if my parents are so lifeless, how did they ever tender so much love between themselves to give birth to my brother and me. You know, sex is not as easy as it appears to be! But yes, we are breathing, so something must have happened. However, when people are young, they dream and aspire for the best. My mom did for a bigger home and more money and recognition at a time, and my dad for a big business. Now I look at them, and I feel this can't be them.
I never remember my mom telling me that my dad used to love us the way a father is supposed to love his sons. He never expressed it, but he took great care of us in other ways and means. My grandmother, uncle, and aunt were more enthusiastic about my whims. And ultimately, my mom and dad grew into mind-dead people out of misery. But at times, they seemed happy, for example when I got into college or left India for studies abroad. My dad turned into a person that just had a to-do list for life to go through, and he felt relieved as he checked past that list. I am relieved I didn't mess up.
The point I make here is, not all dads can be relaxed and happy-go-lucky. They have their won third-world-country problems they go through. All men are prone to become overwhelmed by the misery that lets their self-esteem, status and financial capability down. That includes me as well. However, Some emotion does creep into me, I am my mom's son as well and write things down to relieve myself rather than crying because I am my dad's son. Yes, life is unfair to my father as well, not just mother. But, somehow that lifelessness from my dad has crept into me as well. I cannot enjoy my food, cannot enjoy movies and parties. The drive to work does not leave my head, just like him. After all, I am my dad's son. There is nothing you can dream of, can you? Life will end up with that vicious circle of paying bills and work and sleep. The sad violin will play, and you will have to enact the play of Life. But yes, I thank my dad for not teaching me that, but nurturing me to face misery with consciousness and in the canopy of righteousness.