The Visitor – Pratyush Pandey

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He packs up his suitcase, and ties up his frayed shoelaces.
With wearied yet sturdy hands, he polishes his shoes clean;
he goes out the door, down the floors, and into the cab-
for him the action, and for us the sight, was only routine.
He’ll set foot in different lands, weaving his magic in all;
The robust, the stoicism, the thirst to perfect,
are ingrained in him, by a life so demanding yet satisfying,
so worthy of awe yet so often viewed with neglect.
He lives a two-faced life – with undying determination,
Ruthlessness and perseverance, he makes a living;
With his own blood, he treads with a softened soul,
Always caring, teaching and giving.
At times, he cuddles up childishly, to a treat, a cricket match;
But then he is teased affectionately, which turns him stoic and colder.
Unaccustomed and awkward when receiving praise or love,
His life has vanquished his youth, and made him a soldier.
A laconic, ambitious man, he’ll do his best
without expecting any help from the rest.
They say the world isn’t for his honesty- his ‘affliction‘.
They suspect his naivety. But I believe in his conviction.
My father will return home, welcomed by smiles,
but also, awaited by another impending inevitable excursion.
But you see, he and all of us, in that moment-
All we know is celebration.

The Inspiration

Last week, I came across a video that most of us would related to. It was based on the reality that we almost always shout out for our mothers first, whenever in need of help.

Scroll back a few years- I’d read a ‘joke’ in which a father becomes a mother for a day, and instead of having an easy day as he had imagined, his schedule tightens up with chores and laundry and vegetables and the kids. He then thanks his stars that he was born a man.

What are we trying to show you here? That our fathers should thank their stars that they’re away from their families most of the time? Or that their feet hurt from all the driving to and from the office in the 8 o’clock traffic?
How is it that whenever someone says, “Fathers are better at making decisions, hence they should be the heads of the family”, they are rightly opposed and nullified by emphasizing on the patriarchy that is rampant throughout our society; but if someone says, “Mothers are better at nurturing and caring”, not one voice is raised to signify that fathers usually tend to spend a LOT LESSER time with their children, and that it thus becomes that much tougher for them to be tender towards their blood? “Fathers make better decisions” is a
wrong stereotype alright, but isn’t “Mothers are more caring” also one? Sayings like “It is only the mother who makes the home” hardly take into account the unseen efforts of the father to hold the home together, or how hard it would be to, after a day of documenting, driving, arguing and earning, to put up even that one caring smile that his child might need.

I get it- in the world of men, mothers need to be appreciated; I wholeheartedly agree. But at the cost of downgrading our fathers, at the cost of comparing the two beings who do absolutely everything to make our lives? Is there some sort of competition between them?

Let’s Do Our Bit

No big change takes place until initiated on a small scale. Let’s make sure our fathers receive the respect, love and care that they deserve.
Maybe it’s the final piece of bread that he insists on sacrificing for the family, even though he is the hungry one. Rebel, disobey- let him be the greedy kid for once, let him have that last piece.
Maybe he is the one getting drenched in the rains when he parks the car in the only parking slot he sees, far away from your destination. Rebel, disobey- YOU drive, if you can. You can take the rain for once. It wont kill you.
Maybe he has been standing for a long while in the jam-packed train compartment while you rest lousily on your bum. Rebel, disobey- get up and let YOUR legs bear the brunt for a while.
It’s time we realize that patriarchy, like most other societal issues, is something that we can ALL beat together, something that we can all help in eradicating. Step up, be the help that your father needs- be the revolution that the society requires.

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