Way before the concept of ‘Hero’ even came to my comprehension; I had already involuntarily created an imaginary image of one in my tiny head and had in fact found a person who befitted the title, in my small world as a young child. From as far back as my memory takes me, I remember observing and admiring everything about him, trying to ape some of his mannerisms that I secretly fancied and even playing ‘let’s-pretend’ by myself pretending to be him! The growing-up years only witnessed this admiration to raise many folds and as the bonding between the two of us thickened, the perceived Hero doubled up as a Best Friend of sorts. Yes, as is the case with most daughters, I was Daddy’s little girl whose friend, philosopher, guide and much more all rolled up into one was her Father.
Dad ensured that my upbringing was never monotonous; it was always laced with an element of fun. Routine chores were made more appealing as he always found time to share a joke and get us crackling with laughter. Topics were endless, when the two of us got together to talk. The child in him would crop up every so often and team up as my partner-in-crime on several occasions against poor, non-suspecting Mum!
Irrespective of the scale of the problem that I was faced with, right from those petty childish complaints, friendship issues that bothered me, peer pressure that I could not overcome by myself, school/college farewell doldrums, career choice confusions, high tension work tasks that I was challenged with at office, to the process of deciding my life partner… I knew just whom to go to. Those patient ears were always there for me, any hour of the day. His words of advice comforted me, like no one else’s. Additional to tender parental care, the moral support as a friend that he offered, eased my journey through childhood and adolescence into adulthood.
There have been very many occasions when Mum has spent sleepless nights nursing me through some ailments that have troubled me. But the memory that is most vivid in my mind goes back to the time when I was just three or four, when my Dad forgoing his sleep, stayed up all night cradling in his arms, a wailing me tormented by a bout of ear infection. Sitting by the balcony through the night, he told me stories of the stars as I eventually drifted into sleep in his comforting embrace.
I recollect not one, but several instances when Mum would relentlessly spend the whole day devoting a lot of energy and emotions trying to make a point to me, enlightening me of the rights and wrongs. In return, I would either, counter her views or wouldn't pay much heed to it, blame it on the inherent feeling that ‘Mothers always give boring lectures!!’ But when Dad comes along and in just a few words, conveys the same point to me, in his own way, all of a sudden as if by the swish of a magic wand, everything seems to make perfect sense and I fall in line and agree to what I am being told!
Even to this day, apart from the routine parents-daughter conversations, I look forward to those entertaining Dad-and-Me times when we fill in each other with anecdotes, giggles, gossips, and advise and just about anything and everything happening in our respective lives.
This favoritism towards Dad cannot be termed partiality. Since, it is not a comparison or favoring of one parent over the other. There is something more special and beautiful to a father-daughter relationship than just that of a parent-child. It is this very aspect that comes to the fore and precedes everything else, all those times whenever Dads are given their preferential treatment by their little daughters. He is more than a parent; Daddy is a girl’s best friend!!