My father is pure mush. And no – he wasn’t always this way. Being a father thawed him somewhat, enough at least to hug us awkwardly in public and tear up when bidding us farewell at airports and railway stations. However, this current (hmm..) degeneration happened gradually. If you went all eager beaver, badgering me, pinning me down and twisting my arm behind my back (bad, BAD people!), I would have to confide in you that it was all precipitated by the arrival of his grandson on a cold and clear winter’s day in January 2003.
On that fateful day, some serious re-wiring took place in his otherwise sensible brain. As the slushy mush began its onslaught and starting gaining ground, my father’s vocabulary was dramatically reduced to baby-syllables, and where there was once real music, there were utterly nonsensical, yet fascinatingly catchy ditties for his grandchild. This situation is now unfortunately worsened by the arrival of yet another mutant Ninja turtle. And by that I mean grandchild.
All of this obviously makes him a delightful and entertaining grandfather. A grandfather who took one look at “his” babies and fell in love. He then snuck another peek and it happened all over again. And my emotional, but very controlled father was utterly hapless in the face of it all. Like all good men, he caved in, tucked up his lungi and devoted himself to being a complete slave to their every whim and fancy.
He carries them around till I yell at him to put them down and doesn’t he want them to learn to walk?? He spoons sugar into their milk inspite of our disapproval and rolls around on the bed with them, blowing raspberries on their tummies and butts and letting them maul and scratch him like little kittens. All the while howling with laughter. He will spin one ridiculous and untrue story after an other for hours until Arvind wraps himself around him and floats off. He will lie for the longest time cuddling and kissing them and murmuring to them even after they’re asleep. He can’t seem to stop kissing them. He will glare if I snap at the kids, and carry them away from their witch of a mother. He reasons with me to be a more loving and patient parent.. to not repeat old mistakes. The mush now controls so much of his grey matter that he can’t even stand his little darlings making the tiniest bleat of displeasure. Crying, obviously, is what the evil mother makes them do by breaking their will. And did I already say that he can’t seem to stop kissing them?
Well, today is this tender-hearted man’s birthday. And I know nothing can really make up for his little darlings not being there in the flesh to hug him hard and hang like limpets off him. Still, the Viking and I reckoned we could give it a shot. Some little way to tell him that he is absolutely priceless to us and that there will never be a better Achan/ Muthu. Happy birthday!
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