Sunday, April 8, 2018

Being a Good Father From Son's Eyes!

“I always wondered why God was supposed to be a father," she whispers. Fathers always want you to measure up to something. Mothers are the ones who love you unconditionally, don't you think?” … Jodi Picoult.

Jodi Lynn Picoult is an American writer. She was awarded the New England Bookseller Award for fiction in 2003. Currently approximately 14 million copies of her books are in print worldwide, translated into 34 languages. Agreed people don’t read fiction work for philosophy yet best of the philosophy I have encountered in fictions or even in animation & Jodi’s above quote do make my belief strong. Every year when it April & May, I wonder shall I stop writing to my sons, a ritual which I am doing since long! I even don’t know whether they read it as they rarely revert back but then neither I used to revert back to my father except replying in bare “Yes” or “No”, nay be that’s what Jodi meant as a father always wants his son (read daughter as well) to become something or always it’s an advise! This is not something any son likes, especially a growing one as here I remember a classic scene from “Indiana Jones & Last Crusade’, where the hero (super hero actually) Harrison Ford who has strained relation with his father Sean Connery, is trying to get hold of Holy Grail which has shown laying on a rock  leading to deep valley. Connery was holding his hand but Ford was keen on grabbing the grail, which was going to make him fall down in the valley; in the whole movie the father is shown teasingly calling his son “Junior’, means trying to show him that the son is not par with his father by achievements. In the last scene also Connery calls Ford, “Junior let it go”! The son didn’t look back & kept trying to reach for Grail, inching towards death, realizing this finally Connery calls him by his favorite nick name, “Indiana, let it go”! And hearing that Ford let the Grail go & Connery (the father) pulls him back from falling in the valley! I never realized the importance of this scene as I watched the movie for action yet somewhere the scene lingered in my mind & today I understand why it was lingered in my mind for years (more than thirty years) as in that one scene Spielberg (director) has shown the entire father son relationship, which I had lived now from both dimensions! As when the father realizes its his ego of being a better archaeologist than his son he has to let go & call him by his  name (not as  Junior) then only the son will let go his desire for that Grail & his life will be saved, that moment the father calls the son by his name & the son responds! This one scene tells entire story of father-son relation!

What a father wants from his son is the glory, the honor which he has wanted to achieve or has achieved by himself & what a son wants is, being free of comparison with his father or by his father as well just few words of appreciation by the father for whatever has been achieved by the son! Agreed no father (barring a few) will love to show his son down rather wants to see him doing better than the father itself, but most of the time the way to achieve or say to communicate this is a wrong way! Outcome is maximum sons ends up hating their father while they are growing up, though the graph of hatred eventually turn down when the son turns up a father himself but by that time the fathers life graph itself has headed towards the end in other words it’s too late!  A son-father is such a wonderful relation, a relation which is may not be full of love & affection or caring like the son-mother relation yet it has its own warmth of hidden emotions. One more wonderful movie rather all time classic is Disney’s animation “Lion King”, where a very strong father makes a brave king out of his slightly weaker sibling by sharing right things at right time & in right way which finely helps the son to understand his own capacities! I think what matters is the third aspect i.e. in right way as that’s where most fathers miss the train of bonding with their son, even I too have missed many of mine, I must admit! In recent times one more such animation movie “Good Dinosaur” revolves around father-son relationship. In our Bollywood, all father-son relations usually revolves around father disapproving son’s choice of life partner yet two wonderful movies, none other than that of Dilip Kumar & Amitabh Bachhan, yes “Shakti”! Where perfectly this relation has been captured & an end, memories of which still makes my eyes wet with dying Bachhan in arms of Dilipkumar has shown expressing his emotions about his father! And then very recent biopic movie of Amirkhan is Dangal, where a father tries to accomplish his incomplete mission of getting Gold Medal in world championship wrestling through his daughter!

Why I specifically mentioned above movies is a father’s emotional side is something never talked about & that is major cause as father’s especially Indian fathers are never known to open up & share their feelings with their siblings! That’s not done as having a dialogue with son has been always considered to be job of the mother (though a myth). I too was not exception & only after watching above movies I have realized my role as father is not just to pay for school/ college fees of my sons or scowl them for their studies but to make them understand what they are within & make them able to survive their own fight. And this realization is something most fathers miss as half of the life of an Indian father goes in establishing himself & just when he thinks he can spare some time for his own fun then the son has crossed teen age & it’s at this time the dialogue between father-son is most important which gets lapsed. As silently somewhere the younger genre, (which is lot smarter & mature than us than what we consider them) is observing us & building his own scale of respect in his mind for his father. I think for being a good father all one requires is, self understanding that it’s not what my son has achieved to make me proud but what as a father I have achieved to make him proud! As what better heritage you can leave behind for your son than respect in his mind for you for being a wonderful father!

I have always tried to write with my sons as today they may think it’s just one more lecture but some day when grown up they might go through these words again & think, their father was that bad after all; well, what more as a father I would want! Here is something I wrote to my younger son recently, sharing as some of the fathers’ reading this also can take up writing to their son….

Happy Birth Day "Rohan"

4th April 18

"I wonder what criteria do you use to divide people into good & evil"... Makishima Shogo.

Well Chota, I don't know this character but I know the character who keeps Shogo's dp! What a wonderful question as even after watching all my life Disney's, DreamWorks’s, Marvel's & DC's movies which are always based on fight between good & evil yet I couldn't find answer to this question!! But yes one thing I have realized these definitions one has to derive oneself as that's what in end defines what you are within, a good or devil. Chota, leave apart the question about Shogo has in his mind, I am more curious about questions in your mind & sometime  do try keeping your own questions as your dp ,as then I can know you better because it’s the questions you ask tells us about your thinking rather it makes us know that our thinking process is on. 

It’s your 21st birthday today & sometimes I wonder will I end up repeating the words which I wrote for dada on his that birthday two years back, every time I write to you on your birthday. But then you both are different, you are a dreamer & he is part dreamer & part practical!! You know what's your biggest strength, you are good at heart ( I still remember you buying ice-cream to the cleaner boy at Mayur paw bhaji on your last year birthday) but then life is understanding what we are bad at & then only we can improve! And your biggest drawback, that's your over goodness towards everybody but neglecting your own self! You are studying management & let me tell you a good manager is the one who can manage his or her own life first as then only you can manage others! And for that required commitment & dedication to bend our self in good habits & it can be right from arranging your clothes to following timing of any meeting, anything!   One more thing, nothing wrong in being a dreamer but if the dreams are not backed with a fire within to make them reality, the very same dreams can makes us a useless depressed man, which society calls a loser & you are not one! Chota, good & evil is what you think about yours & others & in what way! If a person is thinking all the time selfishly then its evil but that doesn't mean neglect yourself as that's being evil to our own self! Nothing wrong in trying to become a better person than what you are but for that you have to think what you are first!

I am sure today every time when you will be reading my letters on your birthdays, you must be thinking what "Ghisa Pita" advise every year but then some things never change as the way you are thinking about my words, I used to think in same way about my father's words (rather in more bad way) when I was of your age. But at this age I wish I should have listened my parents more seriously & like any father I don't want you repeating my mistakes but then it’s the mistakes we do makes us a better person, only if we accept them as mistakes in first place! So go on son, keep doing mistakes but get the best out of them as you are fortunate to afford mistakes, which many are not! As you know being lucky is not in anybody's control but what you do with the luck you have, is solely in your own control! 

Though I am writing all these words but the feelings are jointly shared by all your family, which includes even neeta aatya, nikhil & ketki & kedar kaka too & many more! Be grateful to them always & to every that person which wants to see you doing good, as that's one sure sign of goodness!

baba,aai, dada, aaji, aabbu.

Sanjay Deshpande 
Sanjeevani Dev.

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