When I was a little girl, I used to write on my Dad’s birthday cards which I probably copied from somewhere, ‘A father is someone we can look up to, no matter how tall we get’. Today, as I write a post dedicated to my dad on his 60th birthday, I realize what it really meant….
All of us owe our existence to our parents, and it is the way they bring us up that defines not only our personalities but also a reflection of their own. A father is someone we always look up to, yes, no matter how tall we get and how old we feel, and how many children we have of our own. Our parents are there to remind us that we are taken care of and that we will always be loved, unconditionally. As my father turns 60 today (MashAllah, may he lives a long, happy and healthy life), I am thinking of all the truly wonder years spent with him, and all that I have learnt from him, and most importantly, how much I have always loved him.
Actually, I wouldn’t be writing this blog if it were not for my father, because he was the one who encouraged me to write my first article for a newspaper and posted it himself. He used to make me read editorials of newspapers and rewrite them during my summer holidays! He would even cross question me to know if I am keeping up with my newspaper reading! I now realize how that grilling actually helped me improve my writing and my interest in catching up with what’s happening around me. He used to take us to the library, every Sunday, unfailingly, and soon we were all able to graduate to the ‘grown-ups’ section because we had read all the books in the children’s section! He would guide us and taught us how to look for books, going through catalogues and looking for the information we needed. It is always a very proud moment for me when I interact with professionals and they hold Baba in such high esteem for his knowledge and technical know-how. Baba, I owe my love for reading, writing and the quest for knowledge…all to you!
Baba always taught us to think, debate and reflect on issues and while it helped us immensely to interact with any group of people, we were almost always in ‘compliance’ with instructions passed by our dad. The way we upheld our parents’ wishes and advice upon our own choices stands in strong contrast to when I see kids of today as I cannot relate to them and perhaps this is what is referred to widely as the ‘generation gap’. But I can happily and very proudly declare to my dad that I have always remained in close compliance to everything he ever asked me to do. I may not always have liked it, but I appreciate his wisdom and his unconditional love for me. Specially now that I am a mother myself.
My father was the one who took me to the swimming pool when I was four and I have never been afraid of water since then. Now I show my son all the tricks Baba taught me, how to ‘stand upside down’ in water, how to ‘float’ on water, my son giggles and looks at me in awe. I remember I used to be very scared of jumping in water. I would almost always use the steps. One day, my dad called me at the deep end and before I knew it, I was ‘thrown in’ at the deep end of the pool! And that was my last day of being afraid of jumping in water. I remember he had given me a task of doing 50 laps in a stretch and the incentive was ice-cream of my choice in the same hotel where we used to go for a swim. Through our years of swimming in the same pool, I was learning the important lesson of fighting my fears, never giving up, and most importantly learning to ‘celebrate’ the achievements, even if it is only meeting the 50-lap milestone.
Baba is a people’s person, and loves his family and friends and is always there for them. I can never emulate him enough and his dedication for reaching out to such a vast group of people with unmatched generosity at the same time is remarkable. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give, as Khalil Gibran reminds us. I have learnt the importance of keeping strong bonds with extended family and friends and of helping out people in their hour of need. He is perhaps the reason we are a very strong-knit family. And lets not forget that behind every great father is an equally great mother and together they complete my world.
So Baba, today on your 60th birthday, I really wanted to tell you how much I admire your resilience, your sense of values for your family, friends and your country. I wish you many more years of health, happiness and may you continue to help others and bring smiles in their lives! Knowing you, I am sure you have more milestones to meet until the golden jubilee and here’s wishing more excitement and success, InshAllah!
Thank you Baba for everything and for just being you!