“It is much easier to become a father than to be one.”
A tough ask, but certainly a pleasant one if one can love to enjoy the roller coaster.
I sometimes muse of the moment of entering parenthood, to be precise, “fatherhood”. A rare treat to one’s eyes that when you see for the first time a pair of glistening tiny eyes stare at you and wink. A visual and emotional instant that will seldom if not never again visit to be beheld in awe and enthrallment!
We (I&C) were advised that she undergo an ultrasound scan to ascertain the foetal development. In fact we were also keen to ensure in the very early stage itself that the child that will be born is normal in every sense of the word. We were quite disturbed by a couple of cases of child births to people we knew, to whom babies were born with malformed organs and or some irregularity. That would be very disturbing for life, for us and the child. We would rather terminate the pregnancy than let the foetus develop and be born, say a mongoloid or severely handicapped. Stories were many that haunted us and aided consternation. And the uneasiness was also supplemented by C’s doubt if she had taken a few paracetamols when she was not quite well. A distant acquaintance had a son who was born with no external ear and the matter was traced back to the time when she medicated herself with an anti-allergic pill. The stories brought me the nightmare of the “thalidomide” tragic births in the USA.
We, and in particular me was in favour of a girl. But we did not ask the Obstetrician to reveal the sex of the foetus nor would she have wanted to. That the twinkling, shining pair of tiny eyes staring through me from the delicate nestled hold of the nurse as she briefly came out of the obstetric room, turned out to be a boy really did not matter nor create an iota of difference. The child was healthy and well!
When R was born it was a foregone matter after the scan as we were eager to know if it was a girl. And honestly I was elated.
I write this in the context of an impending wedding of the daughter of a friend and a couple of other impending weddings of girls, be it my family or of friends. I could sense and see the apprehensions and near anguish that those parents are loaded with. Well that began even among these educated gentry, much before and when the girls were born. Do we (I & C) have such dismay, we have a girl too and is eighteen now? And not long after now in less than a decade we may have to fend to see her married away. The answer is mercifully, not. I (we) do not subscribe to that pattern of social conventions per se. That does not mean I’m a votary of kind of sententious or anarchistic existence and also not endorsing libertine way of living. Family and heterogeneous relationships are in my opinion the corner stones of the society.
Well, perhaps are we comfortable with material resources to organize a gal wedding? Goodness me, I’m now broke!
A typical wedding in Kerala, more amongst the vanity vitiated, caste “Nairs”, is cruelly loaded against parents of brides. Firstly the anguish and uncertainty of fetching a suitable bloke, that is increasingly difficult than creeping through the gateway into heaven. I know parents, who are acutely paranoid that they refused to entertain their girl’s wedding, that if happened may result in the bloke loitering in scandalous behaviours in his late fifties. Poor fathers and mothers are desperate, (and often unquestionably too).
The carefully cultivated thrift begins when the girl is born. And by the time she is in her twenties and is socially at the threshold of wedlock, the parents would expect to have eked out a sizable weight of wealth in gold and other resources to spend on the bash.( In many cases, may even siphon off and extinguish the retirement funds of the desperate parents). The preservation in the form of the yellow metal are obscenely displayed upon the girl when she is decked up as bride. Every nit wit and sundry, ever acquainted will be asked to be present as guests to witness the less than ten minute ritual and thereafter partake in a sumptuous feast, all which will be dramatised in a venue that may pale the coliseum. By late evening the poor old man- the father will be financially and emotionally exhausted. The irony is that until the wedding the parents will be rightfully suited to be catagoerised as borderline psychological cases. The state may not be altered much even thereafter, because either they will be broke or will have to fetch the same quantum of resources to sign off the second child, a girl too. Much that happens thereafter is left to destiny!
The hunt for the groom is often a handicap for the girl’s parents. The dice is loaded against the girl, if she is educationally qualified in the wrong stream.
It is immense fortune that children are born healthy and normal, they are groomed well and turns out to be independent and conscientious. As for the choice of spouse, I do not think one must waste on anxiety and nothing at all on the frenzied build up or tumult of conforming wedding, lest one may cave in of anxiety. But the pity is almost all are conforming to the ridiculous standards and vanity society has decreed. They fear disparaging remarks from the rest. They all want to be like the Jones who lives next door.
So the best course is to be less confirming? I guess so.-less confirming to the oft beaten and followed social norms. In fact can wedlock be absolutely imperative and “the thing”? Financial independence can lead to a better life than wedlock foisted, aided or propped by money.
I often wonder what would be the choice of the children (A&R), that I have. Will I think of exercising the veto when their choice of their personal life come into reckon? Will I play the characteristic, domineering, boorish parent when if their choices in matters of matrimony come about? I think nay and that will certainly be the case with C too. In a world that is fast and increasingly becoming a village, I cannot see the logic of insisting on certain oft trodden path.
How wonderful would a quite wedding can be, be it guided by tradition or not and conforming to modest standards; a quite partying in private with close ones- friends and relations ,and a subtle sure step into another phase of living?
I guess a father would not want for more to happen to resemble the moment the pair of twinkling eyes shown in askance at him many years ago.