“Daddy’s Little Girls never grow up!”— this old proverb was always paradoxical for me ever since my childhood. Though I always wanted to be a mature grownup lady, my arcane desire was to be a Daddy’s Girl throughout my life. That was the aura of my father Late Daya Shankar Mishra, a man of substance, sophistication and sobriety! I never believed in Neo-Freudian theory of ‘Electra Complex’, still I can proudly say that he was the only man I ever loved. Unlike my extra pampered and childish daughters, I was brought up in a manner to be a responsible and mature girl who always felt secure beneath the shades of her parents, especially under the keen, protective glance of my dad.
Today, 5th November is my dad’s birthday. 76 years back he was born in a family of rebels. His father (my Grandpa) was a freedom fighter who refused his conservative Brahmin family’s tradition of chanting Vedic scriptures and left his home for studying literature and law. Later, he quitted his job of an English translator in East India Company and joined the struggle of freedom evoked by Gandhiji in Champaran. My dad was only 3 when he lost his mother. He was brought up by his sisters and again remained lonely when they were married off. The youngest and the most forlorn child was even deprived of the love and attention of his extremely busy father, who was then a renowned advocate after independence. So, my father spent his maximum time in exploring his hobbies and talents.
His melancholy turned into a boon for him as he grew up into a man of the finest sensibilities. He was a rare amalgam of sharp brains, a sensitive heart and an incisive tongue. He always excelled in his studies and was considered a maths wizard apart from being a captain of his college teams of cricket, volleyball and hockey. Moreover, he even managed to prove his forte as an astute chess player, a conversant music lover, an accomplished singer who later bloomed into a successful criminal lawyer and an eminent jurist (public prosecutor). He was indeed a master of all trades! Not to mention his attractive features, thick fluffy hair and superlative persona which endowed him with endearing looks.
All his children including me, hardly possess his qualities as well as his charms. I remember, as a kid I always felt proud of my features which resembled him. My straight nose (though not as sharp and chiseled like him) and my thick dark eyebrows (which I refused to pluck and tame unlike other ladies) were my most prized possession then and are even today as they connect me with my father. I don’t even care when people suggest me to trim and tame my eyebrows co’z they aren’t ladylike, I proudly proclaim them as my ‘khandani’ assets. 😀
I remained my Daddy’s Little girl until he left me for his heavenly abode on 20th Dec. 1998. He was always proud of me whenever I achieved something during my studies and through other co-curricular activities. But the extra protective father hidden inside him was not forbearing enough as I was at times a rebel like my grandpa. There were clashes of opinions too between us despite the earnest father-daughter bond. I was always keen into breaking the norms implemented by my excessively religious, orthodox mom which caused tiffs between us. But Papa always protected me by justifying my actions to her. Once I fought with him too when I heard him saying about me to mom, “Wish she was my son!” I convicted him to be gender biased and prejudiced toward his sons. But that wasn’t true, which I later realized. He always blamed himself for my early marriage and ensured that I could complete my studies under his admonition and enlightenment. His last promise to me was to enroll me for a PhD. But he couldn’t keep his promise as he left this world refraining me fulfill his dream, a doctorate degree for myself! 🙁
Today is my father’s 76th birthday. Reminiscing him since last 19 years after his demise, I haven’t yet learnt to live my life without him, as life sans him isn’t life in itself! How I wish I could live this life once again with the man I ever loved, my Dad!
Happy Birthday Papa!