Bringing up father
FOR the last so many years, my sons, Arjun and Anil, have been trying to “bring up their father", but they haven’t succeeded. He still doesn’t “know anything”, is “unreasonable” and “old fashioned”. In many of their disputes, I have to assume the role of the peace commission. My loyalty to both warring parties is often strained at the leash. If there is one thankless job in this world, it is that of a woman caught between a husband with conservative ideas and sons with radical philosophies!
The boys can never understand why their dad gets ragged when they greet him with, “hello Baap” in the mornings! “They have no respect for me: do I ever talk to my father like this?” he protests, “C’mon dad” they drawl “we’re friends!” Before they can appeal to me to “explain” to dad I find refuge in the kitchen (what would women do without this sanctum?!)
They are quite “foxed” that dad has no ear for music! Secretly I can appreciate my hubby’s strong reaction to the loud decibels that shatter the quite of the morn in the name of music! But I am trained well enough to tolerate the same by pretending I’m deaf. Not dad — he stomps into their room and pulls off the cord of the music system and tries to match the decibels with his own loud “shelling.”
How come dad never remembers the names of the girl friends who call? All he can say is “some girl called” — that’s not very helpful, especially to boys who have a string of sweethearts. “In our days, we never spoke to girls”, says dad, and they look at him with pity!
“Pull down those ghastly posters”, he screams. I try to intervene and suggest that the boys keep their room door shut, but dad has X-ray eyes — he can sense the strewn- around clothes and books also!
“Why should they look into the mirror so often?...Why should they keep their hair so long...Why don’t they button up their shirts...Why do they wear such weird clothes...” These are the questions that “bug” the father while the sons want to know why dad wants their rooms and walls to be clean. Why can’t he at least write down the names of the girls who call. Why can’t dad move with the times!!
“Yes, I am the villain of the piece,” concludes the father and the boys ruffle his hurt feelings even more with “don’t get hassled father — cool it join us Hey man — let’s have fun together”! I look slightly shocked at the liberties they take with him but....
Imagine my surprise the other day when I came home early and found dad in the boy’s room. He was wearing Arjun’s “fatigues” (a rather ghastly pair of trousers he abhors!), his jungle boots and red T-shirt and Anil’s ski glasses. He didn’t hear me coming in as he had on the headphones of The Walkman! At last — dad has grown up!
( I am sure Dad will smile from Heaven where he is,when he reads this)