The clock strikes 4 in the evening, a slight hailstorm hits the window panes of a shabby government hospital. Alongside the wide blue corridors leading to a small but comfortable room, a nurse welcomes a baby into this world, who is wailing his heart out. His mother smiles in exhaustion and the man next to her weeps in joy, as he picks up the baby and says, “Welcome to the world, my child!”
Some would argue that being a father is limited to that overjoyed man in the hospital above. But, is that all what being a father means? Is there not more to this role, this character and this identity?
Let’s take a glimpse into my life, where I explored the answer to those questions at the age of 15. I was in my teens where I often wished my father could bring us to travel the world, go on vacations and spend time together like any other family. I was starting college when I longed for my father to spar with me during badminton, he was a passionate player back in his days and I thrived for more games with him. But alas, my father was not someone who earned millions from his job, and was a chronic diabetic.
But when I needed him, he was there for me. He would wish me luck for every exam I ever wrote, praying with all his heart. He would help me draft my speeches when I emceed events, often ending in so much support and encouragement. He would validate my choice of shirts with ties, despite my consistent asking of over 4 pairs sometimes and most importantly, he tried, with all his heart and soul, to be someone to everyone who crossed his path.
Right now, at 22, as I look back at those questions, I know I have found the answer! No, being a father is beyond procreating and having a child! A father is an epitome of love, a pillar of strength and someone that you look up to. It is about sharing the joy in the small things; from the drama in every gossip to every minute spent during each meal. And right now, that matters so much more than a trip to Istanbul or a winning a father-son badminton competition. I could not have been more blessed to have a father like you; thank you Acha, for being yourself and for telling me to always be myself!