The presence of a father in life also symbolizes his absence. In last 25 years, mostly, you have been absent for us. Your absence has backed us more than your presence. I have hated you so many times for so many reasons but I could only hate you because your absence gave me the courage to hate. There is a difference between the way we love a mother and father. We don’t give fathers as many chances to commit mistakes. We love them to death but judge them instantly. The 18 hours of your every single day in last 25 years, that you have spent outside home, reminds me of the difference that it made to our lives. Thank you for your absence. You have had such little time for yourself, still in that little time you were also present for us. As you turn 52 today, it reminds me of the young, chivalrous man who would bring out a daily newspaper, entirely on his own. The rebel, who would be on his bicycle for 30 Kilometers every day, hunting for stories. The man, who hired a van and went with a couple of friends to fetch his to be wife from a thousand kilometers, like a gangster. The man who would chase my school bus almost every morning on his bicycle. My first teacher in poetry, mathematics and love. He who instead of asking questions, gave me a lecture on sex education, after he found I was trying to hide a condom. The man who stood by me when I flunked in class 11th and taught me that time is an exaggeration and failures are to be enjoyed. The man who I called up at 3 AM in the night and cried for hours when I had my first break up. He who without wasting any time, came to Delhi to console me. I can’t thank you enough for your presence, every single time I needed you or even when I was trying to run away but you got me there.
I want to tell you; you are one of the finest poets I have ever read. Not because you are my father but because you are a great poet. Twenty years later, when I would read, ‘Arawali ke aakhiri din’ and ‘Maa tum Indira Gandhi kyun nahi ho’, those would still be my all-time favorite.
How I really wish that someday, you would stop taking care of us and set yourself free. I am longing for that day when you would go smoke some ganja, have some nice drinks and forget about the world. Your presence in our lives has vanquished your absence.
I have hated you enough but loved you a lot more than that. I still love you. You would always be my young man. Happy Birthday.