“Mata pita guru daivam” goes a very well known Indian saying. Expanding on that, it means, a child first recognizes the mother; the mother points out the father to the child; the father shows the child the guru (teacher) and the teacher shows God.
My uncle had the daunting prospect of raising my cousin by himself after my aunt passed away after prolonged illness. When JJ gave me a challenge to write from the perspective of the father of a teenage girl, I didn’t have to look past his view to think from. Yet one can never completely justify that viewpoint, for it is quite impossible to be in his shoes.
Me: Uncle, what has it been like, raising A on your own after Aunt’s death?
He: It’s been challenging, but I’ve not let her feel the absence. I’ve given her infinite times the love, but she will feel the difference…
Me: Does she talk a lot with you?
He: Yes of course, but she can’t talk to me about all the things, and goes silent at times. I wish I could make her feel better then, but she needs a woman to talk to about some things, and I’m glad her grandmother is there for that.
Me: Does she talk about Aunty?
He: Not a lot, but I can see it in her eyes. She’s strong, and she smiles through it but a mother is always missed when she’s not there. She misses her most on important days like her graduation and ethnic days in school… when her mother would have loved to help her dress up.
Me: What about when you scold her?
He: I hardly ever feel the need to. You know her. She’s quite the good kid, responsible and loving. She never gives me a chance to scold. When I do, I think she does miss her mom coming to her defense and taking her side.
Me: Does she throw tantrums?
He: Who doesn’t? She’s quite adamant when she wants something of course, but again, she knows when it’s really necessary. I haven’t pampered her too much, and give her what she wants if I feel it to be very unavoidable.
Me: Do you ask her about her personal things?
He: I try to get her to confide in me, and she does tell me but some are meant again only for her grandma’s ears. I think she’s becoming very shy too, or maybe sensitive…
I wanted to ask him more but my cousin strode into the room just then, and pulled me out to play. I think it was a relief for my uncle too, for he is very soft-spoken person. I wanted to tell him how much strong he is too… Maybe next time…
(This post is partially fiction…)
Janhvi challenged me on the page, “Inspire my art” to “write what I think of a man having to be the mother of a teenage girl (sort of single parent situation)” so, glad to say, “Art – inspired, and painted.”
(Oct 17, 2011)