Dear Jawaan Ladka,
For the longest time, we’ve celebrated your special day with adventurous activities, handmade cards, and the mandatory cake-cutting sessions. This year, I want to gift you something more personal, a tad more emotional, using the very gift that you’ve given me. It’s one of those once-in-a-blue-moon moments wherein the expressive nature within me will make an appearance, for the youngest man I knew, and will know forever.
In the family, we both are probably the inexpressive ones, and whenever mom questions me on my complete lack of emotions, your name and the passing-on of your genes is the most convenient excuse I have in my defence. And perhaps that’s why it’s never been easy for me to show my love, be it in the physical form of hugs or emotionally in terms of being there for you during hard times. Although it’s mostly mom who’s dragged in as our mediator, I want you to know that I have and will always love you, regardless of our daily squabbles.
Which reminds me, I’m done with a semester in university and absolutely loving it! But every time I put my alarm on snooze in the morning, I remember how you always barge into my room in the mornings, annoying me till I wake up (let’s not forget I became immune to all your attempts). I’m sure mom is also missing our daily fights, the name-calling, and the occasional pillow fights which mostly ended up with me clutching my stomach in laughter and you trying to catch your breath! Those are the times when the little kids inside us and come alive and believe me those are the best times I spend with you. There’s nothing better than having a dad who jams with me to Badri Ki Dulhania in the car and can also discuss everything and anything under the sun.
You know, I see a bit of dada in you every now and then; sometimes at gatherings whenever you’re the centre of attention like he was, when you dressed up in khakhi and posed for a picture on the bike, and a whole lot of times when you dole out advice and lectures like he did. If dada saw you today, dressed in your signature checkered shirts and jeans, interacting with others like he did, even driving like an expert, his chest would have swelled with pride.
It’s hard to sum up almost 19 years of our father-daughter bond, but when I look back to all those years, I’m glad that you were there for me each step of the way. From posing together for pictures on the camera to taking weird mugshots of me, from the scooter rides back in India to the long car drives in Guangzhou, from attending the performances of your little girl during Talent Shows to pushing her to begin her blog, it’s been quite the journey. I know you wonder if I’ll ever leave my dhablas for the supposedly countless amounts of other clothes in my cupboard, and I wonder if you will ever praise me for my work, but despite all those differences, tiny or big, I’ll always be there for you. I’ll be your partner in dancing to weird songs, your contender in our battle of the wits, and constant support for you, like you’ve always been for me.
You’ve always been my pillar of strength and the rare times I’ve seen you otherwise, it has shocked me, because I’ve been so used to seeing you as my dad I often forget that before anything you are your own self, and I hope that this year you promise to give more time to yourself, because you deserve it.
Happy Birthday to the youngest man I know, may the child inside you stay the same and be unaffected by passing time. There is no way I could ever tell you how much I love and respect you but I hope I’ve made up for it in the bond we share, and I hope it stays the same.
Narottam to my Bitti ❤️🌏