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Father's Day: He sacrificed his tomorrow for my today
Father's Day was celebrated across the world on Tuesday. I am still a surviving piece of antique of that older generation who didn't assign only one day in 365 days for my father. For me, every day of my life is a gift from my father.

I and the old fogies like me still consider father an object of inspiration, admiration, respect, reverence, love and care. He is next to God if I don’t entangle religion in this discussion. He is the one who has sacrificed his tomorrow for my tomorrow. He is the one who smiled at every step I took in forward mode. He is the one who tried to give me a finger when I began to slip; he is the one who fell down on his knees to pray God to lift me up when the situation no longer remained in his control.

I had written a tribute to my father many years back that included the sacrifices my mother made, while the seeds of our life were germinating. We were at the nascent stage. Even a lightest blow of harsh wind at freshly fledgling green tendrils would send the story back to the ground. I have dug out an old article I had written in memory of my father. But today I felt there is something more to add to it.

My father was romantic by birth and my mother was practical and a realist by profession as and when the situation so demanded.

I love my father and I have a considerable quota of romance in my chemistry. Romanticism looks for truth that does not exist. The genre deals with the idealist view of life. A romantic mostly looks at the positive side of the life. To desire I must deserve first. If someone is better he must get the chance. If someone is in dire need of help he should get first even if someone else had worked hard for it.  

Optimism, perfection, surrealism, beauty and hope are the hallmark of romance. Romantic art and literature deal with a metaphorical approach. Passivity is not an undesirable virtue. Romantic works either end in tragedy or in a happy reunion.

Realism deals with reality. Adulteration of facts is not allowed here. Situations and solutions are picked from real life. Colors are not needed. You call a spade a spade. Film ‘PYASA’ was a work in realism. The song written by Sahir Ludhyanwi – “Yeh chakle ye neelam ghar dil kasha key” was a true portrayal of a brothel. The concept of the work was obvious, and not metaphorical. ‘Udan Khatola” was a fiction and pure romance. Realistic literary works may end without titillation.

Now, let me come back to my story line. In life, my father was a fountain of gaiety and mirth. Most of my father’s friends and relatives called him a hero. He was capable to bring any dead social gathering to life. Life was mercury for him. But for his family he was a failure. To bring prosperity and happiness of his happiness he missed no opportunity to miss an opportunity. He had always adhered to some abstract notions of truth and justice. He never compromised upon his own constructed principles which had some remote vicinity with dignity and self-respect. He never looked for a job which had no well defined authority for his exclusive domain.

He didn’t go to Pakistan in 1947 though most of his AMU friends migrated and occupied important jobs. Several warm invitations didn't budge him. He was a Congressman and revered Moulana Abul Kalam Azad. He never approached Moulana for a job. So we led an existence ‘from hand-to-mouth.’ Some ancestral property was rented forever for our survival. Old rented dilapidated structures of bricks and mortar and honor and self-respect were the only assets in the house when he breathed his last.

My mother was a realist. After the death of my father, she picked up the shattered pieces of family life and stubbornly taught us how to survive in this harsh and selfish world. Despite her passionate devotion to her husband, she had vehemently opposed what she perceived to be a ‘self-destructive’ approach of my father. She taught that ‘well’ wouldn’t come to quench your thirst. You have to go to well.  She told us the how the fittest would only survive in this race.

As I look back at my past and remember the notions of dignity, self-respect, merit and desire and moral values of my father, I feel he was a poet of dreams. We love him for the legacy he had left. We're proud of him. While my mother taught us how to live, my father’s failures guide us towards the values for which the life is worth living.

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