Ever My Father’s Daughter

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Wellness - Relationships - Always my fathers daughter-14 Loading

The other day I was browsing the internet, losing my way into the maze of links, when the headline ‘Nothing prepares you for being the daughter of ageing parents’ caught my attention.

I’m still my father’s daughter, turning to him for advice, complaining about overbearing cousins or annoying in-laws, bitching about office, leaving all my tax calculations to him and returning to his house after a drunken session. But I don’t quite know when I slip into the role of his parent. Calling him up at least thrice a day, though I live about 20 minutes away, is a regular routine. Our typical conversation usually starts on a cordial note on what he had had for breakfast but soon veers towards a rather rancorous end as he refuses to listen to me and insists on travelling by public transport, in spite of his faltering health. “Why can’t you listen to me, for once?” I yell at him: The exact line I used to hear from my exasperated mother and grandmother in my younger days.

This is when I am on phone with him. The times my father doesn’t answer my calls — probably because he’s in the bathroom or has fallen asleep — panic seems to be the automatic reaction, even though I had spoken to him three hours earlier. All kinds of possible calamities start crowding my mind: Is he too ill to take the call? Has he fallen down and broken his bones? Has he cut himself while shaving? Just like irrational mothers — refusing to understand that their kids might have something else to do other than answering their calls and reassuring them of their well-being — I keep dialling his number, my fear intensifying every second. And when he does finally pick up the phone, the sweeping relief turns into unleashed anger, taking my poor, unsuspecting father completely unawares. Before people start thinking that I’m a paranoid control-freak, I have to mention that my father is above 66 years, has several ailments and lives in a fairly big house with a couple of trusted help.

When he had his eye surgery or that terrible bout of typhoid, I had to stay up with him, ensuring that he did not fall down as he tottered to the bathroom at night, just like he used to take care of me when I fell ill as a child. Then there are days when I have to constantly tell him to shave, get a haircut, eat on time, not to eat sweets to keep his diabetes in check, not to sit up too late and watch TV. I thought only mothers would do this kind of “nagging”, but now, it’s me.

It sometimes breaks my heart to think that I have to worry so much about this person who would be the answer to all my troubles, solving them in a jiffy. But I’m happy that he can still make me laugh with his silly old jokes that are not funny anymore and meekly listens to all my scoldings. I just dread the day when I won’t have my father around to yell at, cry to, make illogical demands of and to laugh with over private jokes we have been sharing for past 30 years.




I am Anonymous. I want to be heard, but not necessarily known.

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