This is to the two singularly most important people in my life. Singularly because they are equally important, and because if I had to save my life as opposed to listen to them, I’d listen to them.
Mandatory birthday post? Hell yeah! And there’s seriously no better candidate for today than the two who have been responsible not only for the incident of your birth, but also the quality of the life that followed. So look at your parents today and even if you hate them for fighting, for being nasty to you, for not understanding, for suffocating your dreams, for pulling you back when you were than fingernail’s breadth away from what you wanted, for being the reason you broke up with your best girlfriend- just look at them and smile. A hug is sometimes the last thing on the list, but if you can, for me, give them one.
Even your Dad, because we often think he doesn’t need one.
My mother isn’t perfect. She likes to think she is. She’s the kind who will mentally celebrate her 40th birthday for the seventh consecutive year to convince us she’s 40. That won’t work, now that I’m 22, but anyway. She is a pleasant person to be with, for a grand total of 3 hours. 22 years has made me believe that she’s prissy, arrogant, scared, and can really go Dexter some time. On me. She can hurt, and by hurt I mean the kind of emotional wounds that stings months after the episode’s wrapped up with. But she’s okay. Along with the mandatory Karan Johar-love-your-mother thing, I love my mother for reasons as well. She’s reasonable. You can trust her. She can be argued with. She’s sensitive. It’s difficult for her to suppress joy. She has a set of rules which may get into my way, but the way she refuses to waver from them makes me more certain that I can stick to decisions as well. She thinks she’s a film-star, and that gives me the freedom to act like I am one too. I can’t come home and lie down with my head on her lap- she hates touch. But I can come home and rant. She won’t be concerned about who broke my heart- she’ll be worried about the lesson I took from the deal. it’s not ideal in most circumstances, but it’s a sort of training I’m taking from every minute with her.
Dad, is who I act like, even if I’m slowly starting to think like my mom. He’s a nice dad. Very annoying. I have more serious fights with him. He’s indifferent. He can absorb himself into a task and not care how much trouble or imbalance it causes to everyone else so long as he’s getting it done. He’s emotional in the way that you can work your way around his questions without the tension of being accused. He can shut himself up in a cocoon of that’s-what-I-want-and-that’s-how-I’ll-have-it. Which is stubbornness of another kind. He can turn a blind eye to the most obvious anomaly of our lives so long as his (yes, our lives and his life is different) sails smoothly. On the other hand, he’s concerned, about me. He can pamper me. He reads my mind and he completes my jokes. If I have a sense of humour at all- and I’ve been told I do, it’s because I have been around him, because he was as instrumental in shaping my mind as he could be. He didn’t buy me pink frocks. He bought me calf-length slacks so I wouldn’t bruise my knee. Then he started to teach me about loving nature, and loving things. He is the kind of Dad who my friends envy, and I secretly high-five. He’s the only Dad I know who isn’t awkward about hugs and holding hands while crossing roads. He’s the Dad who may intrude upon my space after breaking up, but only to ask who the boy was.
I don’t like them despite their faults. I want them to change. I want Dad to take me seriously and I want Ma to get the joke for once. I want them to understand that I will at some or the other point of time have someone to talk to through the night. And that it’s okay to let me grow up.
The thing is, I don’t share your parents. Neither do I share your story, and neither will any of us be as lucky or darned as any one of the rest of us. Some parents are terrible. I’d rather not know. Some parents are a memory, some- a faded one. Don’t assume that they may not fall in love. With each other or with someone else. They’re parents, but they’re human. They’re allowed to fail your expectations, they’re allowed to be forgiven a few sins because some day you’ll have to ask for a few pardons too.
If you’re reading this and not paying the internet bill, offer to show the parent who does the funniest YouTube video you’ve watched. If your last meal wasn’t cooked or paid for by you, offer the parent who made it, a glass of water.
Just for one day, like an unreasonably forgiving person, love them for sharing the chromosomes to make you. Forget about it later, but just one day, do that.