Saturday, June 18, 2011

Father is child of a man

           Technology has advanced by leaps and bounds over the years. But still it can't help in sharing human feelings. While I was a kid, I never understood why parents are so concerned about their kids, caring for them and feel proud of them. Even if we (me and my brother) disobey smallest of things, my father would become very angry and depressed. In our smallest failures, he used to become sad and of course he would tell the world our least important success stories.   Whenever we asked, his answer used to be "You will know when you become a father". I did not understand. I did not understand for years. I just thought he was an extremely sentimental person.

            Now that I am a father of a 2.5 year old myself, I am starting to understand the feelings. Now I understand how you feel when your kid fall sick or when someone praises him. I understand how tough it is to stay calm while dealing with a kid and I also know how one smile can make the world turn around for you. More than the feelings, now I understand my father. Some of his words make sense only now. I am realizing that what I thought as some of his weaknesses were actually his greatest strengths. I was always dad's son but today I know him more than ever.

            Whenever my son breaks or spoils something, I naturally get angry but one incident keeps coming to my mind always and helps me cool down. We bought our first television set when I was in class 7; I think the year was 1990. (We still have the same TV at home in working condition!) . Those were the Doordarshan and above the roof fish bone shaped antenna days. So once you set up the TV, there was nothing much to change other than the volume. One day, within 1-2 weeks after buying the TV, my brother was explaining me the controls like tuning and color and brightness control. He showed me how turning the color control to 0 changes a color TV to a black and white one. He did that and increased the color back to previous setting to make it a color TV again.  I was impressed and tried my hands on. I lowered it to nil, looked proudly at the B&W screen, watched from a distance and then increased again. But nothing changed! Screen remained black and white. We tried all sorts of things to set it right like turning color full on, turning to zero and bringing up again and switching on and off. But nothing worked. It remained monochrome.

          We were shocked. Our financials were not so sound that time. Those days my town Mattanur had 2 TV technicians compared to probably 20 doctors. Doctors' fees for a visit used to be Rs 10 or 15, but TV technician used to demand Rs 250 on top of parts cost. 250 was a big amount. If I remember right, our monthly grocery bill used to be around 400. So if the TV had to be repaired it would have been a big impact on our budget. So we were sure that father will get angry. When he came home in the night, my mother presented the issue while all three of us were waiting for him to explode. He remained cool and just said. "I know my boys wont break anything that belongs to anyone else. If they can't experiment on their own things, where will they do? But I need some time to arrange money to repair it." Every time my son breaks something much more affordable and insignificant, like an egg the other day, I get angry but remembering this incident cools me down.

          Apparently the issue was not with the TV. Kannur relay station had some technical issue that turned the signal to B&W and it was fine by next day noon. It was the ultimate coincidence of timing. If we had a phone at home, we would have probably known same day evening itself. Thank god we did not have one. Else I would have been a much worse father today. My father did not survive enough to hear this story back from us or read this, but I am sure he knew he taught us a life lesson.

         There are some things which I don't understand about his behavior even now, like getting up half an hour before the alarm time if we had an important exam or getting worried if we were a little late from college than normal time even when me or my brother were 20 year olds. But the way things are going; I think I will understand those also in a few years time. Definitely not through technology growth. Also by then I need to find answers to my son's questions .