By Mihir Joshi
Father’s Day! A cynic may say that it is just like Mother’s Day, a day created by merchants and business people to make money in the name of fathers and mothers. But a cynic would find fault in everything from Christmas to birthdays. I’ll tell you honestly though. You don’t realise the importance of the day till you become a parent yourself. Sure, you see it from the other side and possibly, think about the aforementioned business implications – buying gifts for your mom and dad but honestly, if you’re a parent, it just isn’t about the gifts.
Let me think back to when I was a kid. I can’t recall celebrating either of these days in my childhood. The first Father’s Day was celebrated in the US in 1910 and I think it reached India in a significant way just a few years ago. So, it definitely isn’t an old tradition or anything like that but if you ask me, it is a wonderful day to have in our calendars, just like Mother’s Day. You may say that we don’t really need a day to remember and thank our mothers and fathers but here’s the thing about a parent’s job. It is unending and often quite thankless. So, to take out a day to recognise them, the hard work they’ve put in raising you and the unending amount of love they give you is quite apt.
Okay then. Now that the cynicism and history lesson is taken care of, let me get to my first Father’s Day. I say my first because this was my first as a father, and not as a son. My son isn’t even 10 months old so obviously it isn’t like he got me gifts or even said anything special to me this year but this day for me, was a day of reflection. When you have a baby, each day is quite like the next in terms of a timetable of things. Sleep, food, bath, play-time – repeat! Again, and again and again! And in this endless cycle, you don’t often get time to stop and smell the roses or reflect upon life. So, I did just that.
I looked back upon the last 10 months and realised how incredible my life has become. For Neha and me, the birth of our son Neil has been the most amazing thing. The first time I saw him – and I was actually the first person in my family to see him since I was in the operation theatre with my wife – I knew that I was completely and irrevocably in love. Since that day our love has just grown. I remember staying up with him at nights so Neha could get some sleep in the first couple of months because he needed to feed almost every hour. I remember the first time he smiled up at me. I know that it was involuntary and possibly caused because he passed gas or something scientific, but I didn’t care. It was an explosion of love for me.
I remember bathing him for the first time when he was just a little over a month old and was so tiny. I was a little worried because he was so tiny, but I was never really afraid of anything with him. I just knew I would never ever do anything that would harm him. I’ve never raised a baby before so this might just have been bravado or stupidity but fortunately, I’ve not yet done anything that could be detrimental to him in any way. Without a doubt, I have my wife to thank for that because while I was just winging things, she was the one who was researching and reading and figuring out what should be done to raise him right. She was the coach with the season plan and I was the assistant executing the plan but even in that role I’ve had such a phenomenal time.
The greatest joy for me was when I had to first leave him in December for almost a week. Wait, that doesn’t sound right. What I meant is, as a part of my work I had to go to Rajasthan for a weeklong ride with Royal Enfield. It was agony to be away from him for so long because he was just about four months old then. The agony turned into ecstasy when I returned. When I walked in the door the joy on Neil’s face was beyond words for me. He couldn’t speak then but for five minutes straight he was cooing and oohing at me, as though he couldn’t believe I was back, and he had to tell me about all his adventures in the days that I was away. He’s much bigger now and can express a lot more and now the love is even more amazing. I could have gone out for just a few hours but when I come back home the happiness I see on his face is just incomparable. It makes this whole experience of being a father completely worthwhile.
So yes, today, when I reflect back on the last 10 months, and I think about my first Father’s Day, all I feel is gratitude and tons of love. I’m grateful to God for giving me this precious child and to my wife who has done most of the hard work into making him this beautiful, bouncing little boy and I have nothing but love for both of them.
Thank you, Neha and Neil, for making my first Father’s Day so special!
To all the fathers out there who work hard along with their partners on making sure that their kids grow up nicely – I see you all. Father’s Day and Mother’s Day may be big business days for brands but for us parents, these are special days!
(The writer is a singer-his debut album Mumbai Blues won the GIMA Award for Best Rock Album in 2015-hosts his own talk show-The MJ Show and does live Hindi commentary for WWE. Follow him on twitter @mihirjoshimusic)