Sometimes I don’t understand him, but he has all the answers

Looking at my family tree I feel sad that I don’t know anything about my paternal grandfather because even my father doesn’t know him. My grandfather died before my father was born.  He was a truck driver and he died in a road accident. I could never press on the issue, never had the heart to do it. My grandmother died recently. She never lived with us. I didn’t know my grandmother closely but from what my father told me, my grandmother worked really hard to raise four children. She was keen on their education so that they could get a life she could not provide them. My father wanted to dropout and work as a shop assistant but my grandmother insisted that he should go on with his studies.

My father had some traits of my grandmother, like scolding us for not eating food just because we didn’t like the curry. Now I understand why. He still gets excited about sweets because in his childhood he got to eat sweets only when some guests came home. My father rarely spends on himself and that also can be traced back to my grandmother. As a child my father sold kites and other stuff to pay his fees. He worked overnight to earn a little extra for his family. We still have that dining table he bought for my grandmother from his first salary. In childhood I used to feel that my father didn’t not love us for he was always harsh with us. We were terrorized by him.  After I grew up I asked him upfront,” why do you talk like that, can’t you talk little politely?” And the reply came: this is how I can show my love. It’s the only way I know. Since then he has changed: terror turned best friend.

A lot of me comes from my father. He made us independent. When everyone else’s father was doing everything his children needed my father made us do that ourselves. From buying our stationery ourselves to getting a license made, he made us do everything on our own. To be honest, I used to hate him for this.

Later on he started including us in important matters seeking our inputs, giving us responsibilities. Whenever we went to a family function he introduced us to every one of his family member. I guess he is proud of his family or he just wants us to know the people he grew up with and looked up to.

We mostly travelled by car. Our car trips used to be educational ones. While driving his car he would tell us stories with morals. He is a self-made man, honest and a good human being. I have seen people coming to him for advice and it makes me feel proud. When my grandmother was sick, he used to visit her every weekend asking her to come to the city and let him take care of her for my uncle was not financially comfortable. But she never came to the city, she didn’t like it there. We used to carry my grandmother’s favorite biscuits from the city and, like my father, she was also fond of sweets. Seeing my father taking care of my grandmother made me feel proud of him. He respects his elders and those younger than him. My father has 20 workers in his workshop. Instead of giving them bonus my father opened bank accounts in their names so that they could learn to save for future and not buy the latest cell phones.

There are times when I don’t understand him but when I look for the answers everything seems so obvious.

The things that I think I took from him are punctuality, good sense of humor, sensitivity, helping nature, the need to be independent, and value of money. I like to think my father grew with us. Sometimes it takes him time to understand the world as we see it but there is always a common ground that can be reached. One odd thing is whenever I and my siblings are taking some decision, decision as small as going to a movie or buying an expensive dress, we first call our parents and seek their consent. It’s not we can’t decide by ourselves but we still consult them, less and less nowadays.

As for my grandparents from my mother’s side, I don’t know them at all for they died before I was born. My grandmother was really sick and even my mother doesn’t remember her well. I always wonder how my mother didn’t know mother’s love and my father must have been clueless about fatherhood. My grandfather, as I have heard was a wealthy man with values. My mother is silent and simple woman. She rarely gets angry but thinks a lot, probably overthinks. I think my over thinking habit comes from her. However, I came to know from my aunt that she was not like this always. After she got divorced she was in depression for over a year and talk to anyone. I didn’t talk to anyone for a month after I got to know. She taught in school during that period. She comes from a very well off family where losing even 5rs didn’t matter much and on the other side my father used to get scolded for losing even 25p. She adjusted a lot. Needless to say my father didn’t have much when they got married but she didn’t mind wearing less jewelry or less expensive clothes. My adjustment ability is a gift from her. I was not close to my mother earlier because of my sister. After my sister went for further studies my mother became my best friend. She is the coolest mother ever. I tell her everything: about the boys I used to talk to, who proposed to me, what I feel about them. I can ask her questions about sex which my friends can’t ask their mothers. My friends are not as open with their mothers as I am with mine. They still shocked about the things I can talk about with my mother. The one thing that bugs me is that my mother doesn’t have any favorites. Recently she told me she wanted to listen to old songs and I spent an entire day downloading songs for her. The first time she ever asked me for something. Relief!

I am a combination of my father and my mother’s traits but when it comes to thinking and beliefs I am in some other world. I always find myself questioning my parents about various things and I am thankful they answer me, try to make me understand but never force their thinking and beliefs on me.

I don’t know if this is related or not but when I was to go alone on a field trip I said my parents would not let me. But it turned out to be a lemon in my head. When I told my mother about it she said, “okay!” I don’t know if they are upset about the fact that I decided to go away from family or for them I have grown up. Maybe it’s me not believing in myself. – KHUSHBOO ANEJA

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