Happy Fathers Day 

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As posted  on The Quint Blog

Dear Papa,

Thank you for teaching me about gender equality way before it became fashionable to do so. Thank you for teaching me about it, but not because it was politically correct to do so. Thank you for teaching me about it through example.

You and Mummy led that life, and I grew up thinking that’s the way it must be in all households till I visited other friends and realised it’s not the same everywhere.

I remember you telling me about how Mummy took up a job in the bank so that there was a steady income coming into the house, while you pursued your dream of acting. You did it so effortlessly. Even when you became successful in your field, you had no qualms about being a “house husband”, while she was the one who held a 9 to 5 job. Being an actor, there were long periods when you’d be gone for shooting or on tours or with your play. That’s when Mummy was supposed to be both, the mother and the father to us. And then when you were in town, in between a film or writing your new play, you’d be our “mom” when we came home from school.

I still remember the taste of those yummy toasted egg sandwiches you made for us. The simple joy of you cooking us a yummy chicken was something I took for granted. I didn’t think it was a big deal that my father cooked and knew his way around the kitchen.

I grew up believing that this is how it’s supposed to be between a man and a woman. Spouses were meant to be equal, and the world was a fair playground, where my mom did what she liked and so did my dad. They could exchange their roles as and when they liked.

You had met mummy when you were in college. You went to see that pretty girl who was acting in the college play. She became the heroine of your life, and you “let” her pursue whatever her heart desired. She also pursued professional theatre alongside a full time bank job. She had us, and she had your support in raising us.

You did everything together. You acted and directed the play, and she produced them. You were husband & wife… you were equal partners.

I remember we bought our second home with a loan from mom’s bank, and it was her name on the nameplate. It didn’t emasculate you. You were so comfortable in your own skin.

I wonder how you became like that since I know your parents were a conventional Gujarati couple.
I think it’s because you have the soul of a poet. You read a lot and you kept telling me how reading and travel broadens your horizons.

I’m so glad you brought me up the way you did. Today, I feel life has come a full circle as I’ve been fortunate enough to be married to a man who is quite like you in many ways.

And I’m glad that my daughter will also grow up learning about concepts like gender equality and feminism through example.

Happy Fathers Day.
Love you so much,
Manasi

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