My parents have supported me for my entire life. They supported me when I wanted to be a football player, when I wanted to be a journalist, and now they support my dreams to become a lawyer.
Then why do I feel like such a disappointment to my Dad?
It all started only a few months after I was born. My Dad, the youngest out of all his siblings, was the first one, to get a job, and not just any job, a job in the merchant navy.
This was a pretty big thing for a 24-year-old. Despite being the youngest brother in the family, he supported his brother and his sister with this job; He paid their tuition, supported them through their college career, and got them married; and all of this was only done in two years.
He was inhumane. He worked so hard to give his brother, his sister and us, my mom and I, the best life he could imagine for us.
And he made it look so easy.
He was gone for eight months in that year, and year after year, his duration of leave extended, never leaving sight of rest until I was four-years-old. He continued to work, yet only for six months.
It was not easy, being away from him.
We missed him so much, my mom and I. When he would call, he would always tell us he loved us, and that when he would be back, he would give us a big hug.
He loved us so much. And we loved him too.
And aside from being the cool, awesome, loving father he is, he is an extremely hard working person too. One of the major advantages of being in the Merchant Navy is after that long eighth month stretch of hard work, usually, away from your family, you are rewarded with a stretch of four months as a break. And even in those four months when he is home after that long tiring eight months of hard work, he comes back home and works even harder.
Instead of spending his weekends sleeping in, and watching the tv show, Friends, like I would, he wakes up at 5:30 a.m. goes for a jog (that is the only time you can actually jog in Delhi), comes back home, packs his gym bag and goes to the gym, and then after that is over, he comes and spends time with me.
My mom and I cherish every moment with him when he comes home, and I wish we could spend time with him more.
His brother and his sister do not feel the same about my Dad anyway; they just take advantage of him. After my Dad had paid for his brother’s tuition, my Dad’s brother completely cut connections with him. My Dad tried calling him for years, and he just never get a reply. I do not even know him, I did not even know he had kids.
he only time I have actually seen him and his kids, my cousins, was while we were walking to the international terminal in the airport. We were both flying from Delhi, and he and his family just walked right past us without even saying a word.
My Dad ran back and caught him, and instead of shouting at him for all the sh*t he had done to my Dad, he asked them where they were going, and if they wanted to catch up any time soon.
I heard my uncle say he promises that they would catch up soon and that he would give him a call when he wanted to do so. It has been eight years, and we still have not gotten a call. But my Dad, even after being completely ignored and betrayed by his brother, still put on a strong face every day and went to work without complaining even the slightest.
His strength when he should be feeling weak, his determination when he should be giving up, his love for his family, is why, without even saying it, makes me feel weak, and like a disappointment that way.
He raised the bar to a level that seems impossible.
For my whole life, I have wanted to reach there.
Ryan Bajaj is a staff reporter of The Woodstocker
Edited by Victoria Lee