What My Father Taught Me

A little bit of history and some lessons on life, all in a day’s work for Dad

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It was a sunny Saturday morning and I was ready in my new Batman T-shirt and black shoes, I even wore my new watch. I had already called my mama thrice in an hour asking him to come sooner. How could he be SO late? It was 11 AM already. I was about to call him for the fourth time when I heard his bike pull in. I ran to open the door and looked at him as he entered. He laughed and held his ears saying sorry. He even got me a chocolate. My cousin Kanak was with him. I call her Kannu. She wore her pink frock and sandals. Argh. I always ask her to wear jeans when she goes out with me. But she has to wear PINK and FROCKS. Why did God make girls? Last night on my tenth birthday, she wore a pink frock too. A different one. But it’s still the same.

But I didn’t want to waste any more time fighting with her over this. Even though she dressed this way, she is my favorite cousin and the most fun to hang out with. So I picked up the car keys and dragged papa for the picnic he had promised us. I was so excited. He hardly ever found the time to take me on one, but when he did, it was the best. He always tells me new stuff and always has answers to my questions.

We went to the Railway Museum first. It was our first time there. And oh my god. SO MANY TRAINS. I love trains. I love the sound they make. I sat in the Shimla toy train once. It was slow. But papa tells me that there are new faster trains now. He told me he’ll take me in one somewhere. I’ll take Kannu too. As we were leaving from the museum we saw ice-cream walas and both of us asked papa to buy us one. So papa took us to the stall. I bought Jiggly Jelly. And I shook it. It danced. It was so funny. And tasty. Kannu took a strawberry cup. I don’t know what she likes in that. It doesn’t even make her hands sticky. Papa drove us to Jantar Mantar after that. I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to get there and kept asking papa how long it will. He’d say 10 more minutes and I’d look into my watch and tell Kannu what time we’ll reach there. She still hadn’t learnt how to read time. So I taught her on our way. She learns quickly. She is smart.

When we reached Jantar Mantar Kannu and I just stood there and stared. It was so beautiful. Orange. It’s my second favorite color after blue. The area around was so open. There was so much space to run. It was built by Maharaja Jai Singh. My jeeju’s name is also Jai Singh. We both laughed when I told her. We saw the sundial after that. It didn’t look like something important. So we asked papa to tell us how it works. He then explained to us that it works with the sun. The sun’s rays fall on it and the position of its shadow tells what time it is. Papa told us that it was used to see time in the early days. Thank god we have watches now. This would be so difficult.

After lunch papa took us to Raj Ghat. On our way he told us that it was a memorial for Mahatma Gandhi. His face is also there on all the money notes. He’s called the Father of the Nation. Kannu also knew this. I asked papa what a memorial is. He said it is something which is built in remembrance of someone after they die. That is so cool. I told papa I will make one for him. He just laughed. I was not joking. I will tell mummy about it. Once we reached there, papa told us how Gandhi had led India to Independence. He said he didn’t believe in fighting wars. I think it was stupid. When you can fight and win then why suffer so much? I asked papa, “Papa, Azaadi to ladai karke hi ajati. Fir Gandhiji ne ye sab kyu kia?”

He said, “Jab tum baat nahi mante to mai tumhe thappad marta hu ya tumhari baat manna band karta hu?” I answered with the latter. “Agar mai tumhe thappad marke apni baat manwaleta to kya tumhe pataa chalta baat na mane jane pe kaisa lagta hain? Bass.Gandhiji bhi yahi kr rahe the”

I think Gandhi was an intelligent man. And so is papa. I want to be him one day. So when we reached home, I told Tinki di, “Didi, mai abb kisi se b ladai nahi krunga. ”She asked why and I told her, “Mujhe bhi papa jaisa banna hai.”

Edited by Kanishka Singh

Sources: Feature Image