Mothers are the patron of the home, whereas fathers are their very existence. But have we ever given much thought to the nature of this existence? Little is written or said about fathers, even though we understand their value in our lives.
Many narrators lecture on the topic of mothers: preachers say much about mothers and even the deities praise them. Writers and poets alike have sung the glory of mothers. They are compared to wondrous things.
But you hardly ever hear anyone talk about fathers. Those few who have described them have portrayed them as severe, violent alcoholics. There can only be two to three percent of fathers who fall into this category and yet so little has been written about good fathers. Mothers are made of an ocean of tears. Fathers are a wall of self-control.
Mothers relieve their pain through tears, fathers only console, and it is harder to console than it is to cry. Surely the candlestick is hotter than the flame, yet it is always the flame which gets the praise.
We remember mother as the one who took care of our daily needs, yet how easily we forget the bread earning father!
Mothers can cry uncontrollably in public, yet it is fathers who sob in their pillow at night. Mothers are allowed to cry; fathers can never be seen in tears. A father can’t cry when his father dies, as he has to take care of his younger siblings. He can’t cry when his mother dies as he has to support his sisters. He can’t cry when his wife dies as he has to console his motherless children.
No doubt Jijibai’s contribution to the foundation of the character of Shivaji was enormous, but we should not ignore the efforts of his father Shahji Shah at the same time. We praise Devaki and Yashoda as good mothers but we mustn’t forget how much courage Vasudev showed in delivering Krishna safely to Gokul through torrential rain and the treacherous floods of the Yamuna. Ram was the son of Kaushalya, yet it was his father Dasharath who died pining for the loss of his son.
We only see a father’s love if we notice the patches on his shoes. His tattered vest is a sure sign of the holes in our own kismet. His unshaven beard is a sign of his frugality. He will buy new pairs of jeans for his children, while an old pair of pyjamas will do for him. While children don’t blink an eyelid when they spend 100 to 200 rupees in a beauty parlour or salon, yet in their own home, a father may be using talcum soap to shave because his shaving cream is finished, or he might be shaving in just water.
When father is ill, he does not rush to the doctor. He does not fear his illness but is afraid in case the doctor tells him to rest for a month, as there will be no other bread earner in the family.
Whether he can afford it or not, he works hard to get his son admitted to an engineering or medical course. Despite the shortage of funds he will send money regularly to his child at university. But some children have a drinking spree on the same day the money arrives, mocking the father who has sent them the cash.
Father is the existence of the home. The home is secure from outsiders when a father, in the form of its manger, is alive. Even if he is jobless, he still holds the position of the chief executive of the household. He sees, repairs and cares for jobs around the house.
To have a mother, or the mere status of a mother, has meaning only because there is a father in the first place. Mother has no existence without a father When you announce your exam results, it seems that mother is the closest person to you because she takes you in her arms, praises you and blesses you, but no one notices the father who quietly slips away to the shops to get sweets to distribute among family and friends.
A woman giving birth to a child gets all the attention. No one has sympathy for the agitated father who is pacing up and down the hospital corridor. ‘O maa!’- ‘Oh mum!’is the natural cry which emerges from a child’s mouth when it is burned or trips over something. But if the brakes of a truck should screech to a halt while the child is crossing the road, it calls out ‘Baap re! – ‘Oh father!’ Thus, for small problems we turn to mothers and for big ones, fathers.
Joyous occasions are attended by all, yet only fathers attend funerals. A father will rarely visit a wealthy daughter’s home, but he will find excuses just to drop in to the home of a poor daughter, to check on her well being.
Only a father stays awake until his young son is back at home late at night. And isn’t it father who goes begging to his boss for a job for his son, endlessly visiting strange families to find a suitable husband his daughter, or making light of his own worries for the greater good of the family?
Who understands the value of fathers?
If your father dies in your childhood, you have to take on many responsibilities at a very young age and struggle to get the small things you want in life. Only a daughter understands a father in his true form! When she is away from home and listens to her father on the phone, she is the one who instantly detects the slightest change in his voice.
Don’t we still witness occasions in our society when a daughter marries the man chosen by her father against her own wishes? A daughter knows herfather and takes care of him. Why can’t fathers expect that others also recognise their value and respect them equally.