I am told that tie sales in the US zoom during the second week of June – because the entire nation starts buying them as Fathers’ Day gifts. That is as unimaginative as it gets as far as gifts go and may stand in as a Fathers’ Day ritual. I am not aware of any other.
Mothers’ Day is usually associated with letting Mom take it easy by doing her work in the house. Given that a mother’s job is not only linked to attitude but aptitude as well, I have this feeling that actually Mom’s work gets increased if clumsy people get into her domain and try to do her work!
Going to dad’s office on Fathers’ Day does not seem like a viable ritual to keep him happy! In any case, sitting and wondering what your kiddo is doing at your workplace is much more stressful than having a normal day at the office!
So, generally Fathers’ Day ends up being a poor cousin of the big thing called Mothers’ Day.
Being the selfish beast that I am, I only noticed Fathers’ Day this year because this was my first one! And very sweetly, The Toothless One obliged with gifts and a card. (I must admit he gave nothing to his mom on Mothers’ Day!)
Most fathers are heroes to their children and impart them values and knowledge of eternal significance. Ours was more than a little unconventional and the stuff he told us were a little out of the ordinary. But they have stood me pretty well in life so maybe I can try them on Junior?
Of course, he also thinks BE College is better than JU and Dilip Kumar was better than Amitabh in Shakti but let's not get into that!
Apart from that, what did he keep telling us all through?
There’s a game in everything. Even apparently boring stuff.
My dad never solved any maths problems for me. Going to him with a problem meant a good half-hour of playing bloody difficult puzzles (with more than a little badgering to ‘apply my mind’) at the end of which the answer usually presented itself. He invented games out of factorizing car numbers, memorizing the Periodic Table of Elements and solving recurring decimal problems.
And it is my firm belief that this makes 'studies' a lot more fun.
Never say no to books.
However expensive or inane the request might have been, I always got the books I wanted. Starting from the hugely marked-up comic books at airport bookstalls to popular science to movie encyclopaedias lugged in from the UK – if I asked for it, I got it. My sis never did. So when she developed a taste for good cinema, she had to steal all my Ray screenplays.
Psst… Don’t tell anybody but he even smuggled in a copy of The Satanic Verses after it was banned in India!
Get 'em used to the good life. They will figure out a way to finance it later!
He took us out to as many posh hotels and restaurant as he possibly could without my mother throwing all of us out. This meant that by now, I can make out if the chicken is broiler or the fish a day old in any restaurant I walk in.
My sister did even better and made a living as a food critic for a few years before taking a break. At the end of it, both of us became these two incorrigible foodies who think nothing of trashing some of the better restaurants of the country. And you should see my credit card bills!
Be cool with your son’s friends.
My father smokes like a chimney and offers cigarettes to my pals. I don't even smoke.
My father solves differential equations. I make do with calculating auto fares without the chart.
My father tried out all kinds of booze during his college days (and lived to tell the tales). I still stick to Bacardi.
And as a friend observed admiringly, he even knows zodiac sign of the oldest steward at Peter Cat!
Basically, I could have told this to most of my friends and now I will end up telling this to my son as well... "Know what? My dad's cooler than your dad."
Happy Fathers' Day!