(Dedicated to every daughter)
“Dad, for the world, you may be just another person,
But for me, you are the world.”
There are moments when everything seems like they are moving at a snail’s pace. Be it boring rainy Saturdays when the drops of rain seem to be racing down your window at a pace that kills mood, or winter Mondays when all you want to do is get back under the duvet and sleep off the day.
And then, there are moments which take your breath away – the ones where you wish time would just freeze; and you could live each moment, oh, so slowly!
I had this thought while having a casual talk with my bride-to-be cousin. It is always an amazing experience to sit with elder cousins and ask them the life that they see after their marriage, their goals and their apprehensions. It is almost like a beautiful story – seeking perfection in the midst of chaotic randomness.
I have seen girls crying while they are sitting next to the holy pyre or standing on the decorated aisles, decked in gold chains and loads of waterproof mascara and red sarees and pearly white gowns. If you look closely, you’ll see that their faint smiles as they pose for the impatient cameramen, bring across a plethora of emotions. They aren’t always excited or happy or satisfied. In fact, those emotions are the rarest. Their eyes hold tears of pain and it is almost like an immense sadness is weighing them down – the separation from their parents.
It is rather strange, actually. One day we are ten and eleven, playing with our Barbie dolls and shying away from the neighbourhood boys. We have dreams, so glorious that they glimmer in our eyes. The world seems such a rosy place, then, with Mom who cooks us the most delicious recipes and Dad, who has always got our back. For each daughter, their Dad stands as the best man in the world. Though we never tell it aloud, we know that if there’s one person who can wipe away our tears and make us strong again, it is Dad.
And then, something changes. We are sixteen or seventeen and the phase of rebellion begins. Occasional arguments, the banging of doors, the confusion, the rhetorical questions we pose ourselves, a tad bit of lies, before it also drowns into a drone of nothingness. Then, comes a dawn where we realize how stupid we had been as teenagers. Mom and Dad had always wanted the best for us. With each passing day, you start loving them even more.
Then, one day, you find yourself walking down the aisle or sitting next to the pyre, with your Dad by your side. Suddenly, it seems like you are standing on a boat that is slowly drifting away and no matter how much you try, you can’t reach the deck. The thread that had always held you so close to your parents looks like it is metamorphosing into a loose string and withering away with each passing second.
You look at their eyes and see happiness mingled with sorrow. How you wish you could get up from there and hug them to the end of the world! How you wish you could cry endlessly and tell your mom and dad that they mean the world to you. Do they know that, you ask yourself.
The moment is intense. You want each moment to freeze so that you can stay with your parents for some time longer. It scares you – the future. You don’t know if you can stand up on your own. You need your Dad with you. You need him to hold you as you cry. For he is the one man you’ve looked up to, for your entire life and you’ll continue doing so.
You ask yourself, whose shoulder will you cry on when thunder bellows on dark night? You think of the times when he will not be there to catch you when you fall. Your lower lip quivers as you stare into his eyes that hold stories. You don’t feel like letting go of his hand.
Biting your lip to escape the tears that threaten to slip down, with an immense pain weighing you down, you tell him, “Walk me down the aisle, Dad.”