“They say that from the instant he lays eyes on her, a father adores his daughter. Whoever she grows up to be, she is always to him that little girl in pigtails. She makes him feel like Christmas. In exchange, he makes a secret promise not to see the awkwardness of her teenage years, the mistakes she makes or the secrets she keeps.” —Anonymous
I’ve always believed that behind every strong woman, there is not just another strong woman but also a supportive man. In my case, I’ve been fortunate to be blessed with a strong mother and a wise father. Being the eldest and the only girl amongst my siblings meant I enjoyed complete power and freedom as a child. I have twin brothers as my younger siblings and yes, I was the dominant force amongst the three of us. A large part had to do with the fact that I was the apple of my father’s eye and enjoyed his complete support in whatever I did or failed to do.
The greatest gift that my father gave me was never making me conscious of the fact that I was a girl. I was never told that girls cannot do this or that I have to behave a certain way owing to my gender. My home was truly a non-judgemental space for me to flourish and both my parents never differentiated between my brothers and me. It was only when I stepped into the outside world that I would see the bias, both marked and camouflaged, but not within the four walls of my home.
Recently, there was an online furore over a pic of Aamir Khan and his 21-year-old daughter, Ira Khan. This picture made me nostalgic, taking me back to my own precious father and daughter moments. I could easily picture myself in Ira’s place and my dad in Aamir Khan’s place. Yes, we are exactly that father-daughter duo type. I used to sit on my father exactly like the way Ira sits on her dad, Aamir Khan, right from childhood all the way post my marriage. Much to the amusement of my father and mother every single time!
I remember my father shooting embarrassed glances at my mother when I would sit on top of him as an adolescent. And, they would look at me bemusedly. But, I was naive back then and I never understood what was so wrong. After all, I have been sitting on my father while he lay down ever since I was a baby and I would love to sleep on his big belly. That was my eternal happy place. And, I stopped only after I became a mother. Motherhood made me grow overnight. It was the time when I shed a lot of my juvenile ways. Not only did I graduate to being a mother from a daughter, my dad graduated to being a grandfather. Needless to add, the nature of our relationship has changed ever since.
Coming back to the controversial picture, I loved the picture of Ira Khan atop her father. It depicted innocence, playfulness, intimacy, purity and love. I failed to understand the logic of trolls who sermonise that the picture is pornographic in nature and their act, immoral. All I have to tell them is: Sometimes, we need to step out of our comfort zone and look at life through another person’s lens. We’d be surprised with our discovery.
I rest my case with this beautiful quote by a noted writer, Meg Wolitzer.
“Ordinary father-daughter love had a charge to it that generally was both permitted and indulged. There was just something so beautiful about the big father complementing the tiny girl. Bigness and tininess together at last—yet the bigness would never hurt the tininess! It respected it. In a world in which big always crushes tiny, you wanted to cry at the beauty of big being kind of and worshipful of and being humbled by tiny. You couldn’t help but think of your own father as you saw your little girl with hers.”
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