The doorbell rings. I wince as I stand up from my armchair. My knees have been troubling me since long.
“Coming,” I say when the doorbell rings a second time.
I reach out to grab my walking stick and I walk to the door.
It’s the postman. He hands me a courier, gets my signature and leaves.
I make my way back to the living room as I inspect the immaculately wrapped thing in my hand. It is a rectangular thing wrapped in brown paper.
I read the sender’s address and I smile.
I sit on my armchair and tear the wrapper carefully.
“Is it my birthday? Or maybe some festival which I might have missed?” I wonder as I lay the wrapper aside neatly, treating it like it is something way more precious than just brown paper.
There is a card, and a letter and a box.
I open the letter first.
It reads, “I know you might not have even the slightest idea why you are receiving this and I don’t blame you for forgetting this occassion every year. But this is the day when I get to thank you for all that you have done for me. So, Happy Father’s Day!
You held my finger and taught me to walk. You burnt your fingers while trying to cook, but you never let me sleep with an empty stomach. You saved up and bought me the pencil box that I had long coveted for. You knew that I used to lose my pencils at school, but you never lost your patience with me.
I was slow in my studies. I hated every subject. You made those interesting and you made me excel in academics. You dealt with the children who were bullying me. You finally learnt to tie my long hair up in neat braids after failing numerous times at it.
You scared the boy off who used to follow me back from college. You saved your earnings up for my education. You never let my wishes go unhindered. You made sure that I got the best of everything.
And you knew it when I was in love with a guy. You knew he was from a different caste, yet you stood beside me against our relatives who were vehemently opposing my desire to marry him. You arranged my marriage which such pomp and show that left everyone spellbound.
You ensured that I lived well. You ensured that I was well educated. You ensured my well being. You ensured that I had a family and that I was happy.
You sacrificed your happiness for mine. You found a family for me, but you never bothered to make one for yourself.
After the death of our parents, you brought me up single-handedly from the time I was a baby. You were only ten. And honestly, I don’t remember our parents at all. When I think of a parent, only one face comes to my mind and that is you.
Thank you for everything.
And here is a box of your favourite fruit cake. I made it myself. Your sister has finally learnt how to bake at the ripe old age of fifty, and you better tell me that the cake was good. I could use some encouragement and I could use a big smile on your face.
Happy Father’s Day again, Bhaiya!
I grin at her words and at her childish handwriting and I make a mental note to gift my fifty-year-old sister a Cursive Writing Book on her upcoming birthday.
I nibble a piece of the cake and pull my phone towards me to call her and tell her how good it is, while the card with the image of a father and a daughter sits proudly on my lap.