T S Haokip
The celebration of Father’s Day on the 3rd Sunday of June was founded by one, Ms. Sonora Smart Dodd in 1910 to honour her father, who was an American Civil War veteran. Today, the role of a father and mother might not be as rigidly distinct as it once was; the definition of fatherhood could, therefore, be subjected to many variations and customizations. Children being raised by their father alone are not uncommon any more. Still and all, the endeavour of commemorating Father’s Day is to honour and highlight the importance of a father in a family and the descriptions thereof are not to precisely match their exact role in a family but of their worth.
The idea of finding good words to describe fathers even on Father’s Day seems to elude many people. I remember an instance, when many fathers and in fact mothers, complained about the speaker’s relentless grill coupled with doses of countless dos and don’ts for the fathers in a congregation on the occasion of Father’s Day. The fact that many find it difficult to put into words the contribution of fathers, even on their special day, only proves the fact that ‘a father’s love is expressed fewer and displayed less often.’ If the mother tenders to the emotional requirements at home, the father gives the all-important guide that anchors a family in its ventures outside the house. If the mother provides the affection required to the family, the father gives strength and protection. If the mother represents the soft side, the father displays the tough side, thereby setting an equilibrium in the family that will not be regarded too soft to be walked over and too tough to be bowed out of. In essence, a father is as important, if not more, as a mother in a family.
Taking a trip down memory lane, I recollect the mesmerizing experiences of the special Father’s day programmes being organised by the Church and how the fathers would be honoured with gifts and presents by their children, us. At least on that day, people got to, compelled in some cases, thank their fathers. All of it was sweet memories, until the year 2014 when for the first time I’d celebrate Father’s Day without a father to wish to. Then I realised how hellish it must have been for some people, whose fathers have left this earth when we honoured our fathers with garlands and bouquets. Having said that, I personally have no hard feelings on the concept of honouring fathers in a congregation on their special day. I will, of course, remember my father and may shed few tears, missing him- and that would be it. However, if there are people, especially whose fathers now rest up above, who feel otherwise, then I accord due respect to their feelings. After all, in our pursuit to celebrate fatherhood, no children should feel out of place.
‘My son, How is it like travelling by air? One day I want you to let me experience it- at least once in my lifetime,’ said my father. I was still a student then. When I completed my studies, and eventually got a job, my father was diagnosed with several ailments and was advised by the doctors to not travel by air. In the ensuing years, his health deteriorated but he was optimistic, as he usually is, of overcoming it. He’d regularly remind me of the ‘air trip’. ‘Of course, once my health conditions improved,’ he’d added. Being someone who had a close relationship with his father, I have not many regrets. I tried the best I could, to be a good son. My last moment with him was, him hugging me as I left home to resume my duty. But that one unfulfilled wish, though ‘it was his health conditions that prevented it being fulfilled, deeply saddens me every time I think of it. ‘You wish to travel by air, I am sorry Dad I could not fulfil that. But today, as you leave for your heavenly abode, I know your flight up above to Him would be the best journey, better than the services provided by the best airlines. Your destination, I know is better than the best place on earth,’ I said as I bid adieu to my father for the last time on this earth.
Today, as we celebrate the special day of fathers and appreciate their contributions- let us say the nice words we wish to say when they are here; let us buy them new clothes when they can wear; let us treat them with good foods when they can eat; let us show them the world when they can travel; let us make them proud when they can feel it; let us thank them before it is too late and most importantly let us be their wonderful children when they are still our fathers on earth. As for those people, whose fathers have left earlier for their heavenly abode, we still have a father whose love is everlasting and whose life is eternal. HappyFather’sDay!
(The writer is author of the Book HILLY DREAMS. More details at www.tshaokip.com )