Dad's the word. or not

Suresh Pattali
Filed on June 25, 2020

To say man provides is not only a parochial construct, but also patriarchal and sexist in a modern contest. In an age of gender equality, such definitions for a man or a husband or a father are untenable. They are deemed politically incorrect.

Any construct that glorifies man stands to be disabused by apostles of women's cause. They fail to hold ground in the face of a tsunami of days or events; eclogues or encomiums that glorify those on the other side of the Line of Control. The words manhood and manliness are as contemptuous as a profanity. Proverbs such as 'Like father, like son' are so heaped with negative connotations they are used conveniently to lay every blame at man's door.

It's 10pm on Father's Day. No words of greetings have been uttered. No glitzy gift box has been pried open. No confetti has rained down. It's business as usual for men at work. The same old blame-game, the same old remonstrances, the same old words of wisdom such as 'You're as useless as the AY in OKAY'. And the same old conversations that make them feel guilty and subjugated forever.

Fathers don't do it for honours. They just do it and forget it. No red carpet. Nor coronation. They are content if left alone in solitude with a pint - and the TV remote. That's the best gift a dad can dream of.

Call them by any sobriquet - Dad, Daddy, Papa, Paa, Abba, Appa, Acha, Vapa, Abbu - they're at your beck and call. No matter how busy they are, they have their family in the back of their mind. They are the man Friday of society who need to be emancipated from the most thankless job in the world. When will the world realise Daddy Lives Matter? Don't step on their jugular; let them breathe. Hold your sobriety test; let them sleep. And for God's sake, take their calls.

"Is daughter back?"

"Not yet."

"Did you call her? The Covid curfew begins at 11pm. Why can't she get back in time?"

"Like father, like daughter."

"How am I to blame? I don't even get out of home."

"She is trying to emulate your old self. Good old sins are getting back at you, mister."

"Did son call?"

"Does he ever call?

"Why can't he at least reply to messages?"

"Like father, like son. Do you ever call once you step out of home?"

"Let me call your daughter. Vava, where're you?"

"Dad, please don't treat me like a nursery kid. I am a young adult."

"Why don't you pick up calls or reply to messages?"

"Phone's in silent mode. I'm busy, dad. Where's the time?"

"But where are you? Be transparent. Come clean."

"I'm with my friends, dad. And for God's sake, stop tracking me."

"You are hanging out with friends, but don't have time to take my calls?"

"Dad, I lived like a death row convict during the lockdown. Don't spoil this evening."

"Did you or mum call the real estate guys to fix the leaking pipe?"

"It's for the man of the family to do, dad. Why do you keep such things for women?"

"Did you or mum pay the utility bill? I had kept cash on the shoe rack."

"Come on, dad. Don't depend on others. By the way, I ordered KFC for lunch, so you know what."

And here's a reversal of the conversation a few days later.

"Dad, where are you?"

"What's your problem? It's not even half an hour since I stepped out. I'm in a pub."

"But what's the harm in taking my calls or replying to my messages?"

"I'm busy with my drink and solitude. Where's the time?"

"You can still type out a message."

"Listen, I'm not a nursery kid. Don't keep a GPS on me."

"Can you come urgently?"

"Why?"

"I need to go to the parlour. Need to get my nails done."

"What do I do in a women's parlour? Forget it."

"Dad, I had given some clothes for alteration. Can you please collect them?"

"Yes, if they are open after my pub time."

"Your Amazon order is here. What is it? How much was it?"

"I've seen half a dozen empty Amazon boxes in the past month. Did I ever ask?"

"Any harm in telling? Be transparent, dad."

"It's a Skullcandy. Over-ear headphone."

"Cool. Thanks, dad. I badly need one to attend webinars."

"You can't snatch everything. You took my last iPhone. Don't do this to me."

"Why do old men need such funky stuff?"

"If I'm that old, I wouldn't be sitting here with a girlfriend."

"Have fun but Skullcandy is mine. Deal?"

"Hmm."

"Dad, of late you have been too inconsiderate."

"What do you mean?"

"Did you know it was Father's Day last Sunday?"

"Yeah, they come and go every year, don't they? The most uneventful day in the world."

"You didn't buy me anything this time! How could you be so insensitive?"
suresh@khaleejtimes.com


 
 
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