Almost everyone who knows me is aware that I think the world of my father. He now even has his own hashtag, #BalaForUNESCO, as I attempt to share with the world the many small but amazing things he does for me on a daily basis. Our relationship has not always been this smooth-sailing, but due to the continued time, effort and energy that my father has invested in us, this relationship has emerged like a diamond in the rough.

Dear Ammulu (a term of endearment),

Thank you for always making me feel like your entire world revolves around your children. Sometimes, you love us so much to the point that it almost makes me feel guilty that over the years my world has expanded beyond you. Perhaps, that is why you are the parent and I am the child for I do not know if I possess the ability to love as selflessly as you do.

Here’s a snippet of our conversation following my recent M.A. examination:

Me: My exam today was difficult.
Appa: Never mind. You just try your best.
(pause)
Appa: If even YOU find it difficult then how? Never mind, you just try your best.

Thank you for always believing in me and telling me that I can achieve whatever I set out to do especially during the times that I have doubted my own abilities. More importantly, thank you for never telling us how much we should do or how far we should go but instead silently standing by our sides and keeping a watch to ensure that we never quite stray enough to be distressed.

Thank you for worrying less over the years about what other people will say and more about how things will make me feel. I know it has not been easy for someone of your generation to accept or even entertain some of the more ‘modern’ lifestyle choices that I have made. For a man who has always been nagging that we should not consume alcohol, it was surprising and refreshing to watch you hand me a glass of wine or let me have a sip from your beer glass during our recent vacation.

Thank you for being so quick to side with me when people close to us choose to slight me. I am always amazed at how you encourage me to speak my mind and not put up with anything that I am not comfortable with. At the same time, you somehow also manage to remind me that we put up with certain people and events not because of them but because of others whom we love and that my choices in any situation will affect more than just myself.

Thank you for boosting my immune system with a cocktail of vitamins and constantly searching for that one vitamin that could make my eye condition that much better. Thank you for teaching me through your own modelling that the time we spend with people is far more important than the money we spend on them.

Thank you for demanding my opinion and not my silence. Thank you for ‘putting up’ with my tantrums and not shutting me up every time we disagreed. Thank you for telling me that you would rather I fight tooth and nail with you as opposed to passively agreeing with you. Thank you for teaching me how to ride a bike, change a lightbulb and use a drill (though swimming classes would have been nice).

Thank you for never telling me that I cannot do something because I am only a girl.

Most of all, thank you for teaching me that love is the most beautiful thing in the world and that with love, everything and anything can be conquered. Today, I am thankful that you love us so fiercely, sometimes to the point that I am just a little suffocated but today, I choose to be grateful for that. Thank you Ammulu and happy 27 years of being a father!

Love,
Hemma.

Written by Hemma

Hemma is a travel enthusiast who is greatly fascinated by language and culture. Linguistics and cultural anthropology deeply interest her. She constantly seeks to comprehend and make sense of the world through these two mechanisms. An eternal optimist, she sometimes lives in imaginary little bubbles, each one a different shade of purple. On good days, she wants to change the world, on better days, she dreams of living in an igloo, curled up next to a golden retriever with a Roald Dahl novel.

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