Memoirs

Fathers and Princesses


I lost my husband the day my daughter was born. She mesmerized him when she was barely a few seconds old. I remember looking up at him after the drama of the birth, and I will never forget the look on his face as he gazed down at her tiny face.

He had wanted a son. To watch cricket on TV with, to teach him how to swim, to wash the car on Sundays with ' all the father-son rites became irrelevant the first time he held his baby daughter. And the minutes old baby looked up at him, already a gleam in her eyes that said she knew his heart was hers.

The little princess is now 2 years old. She demands to wear her Baba's favorite clothes after the days play is done-so that, 'Baba will say oh my feetopie' when he returns from office. She has figured that with one little whisper, 'Baba, kaju', her Baba will drop his remote, stop watching TV and get up to oblige (a feat I have not managed in all the time we have been married).

With me she knows her treats are limited, her TV restricted to certain programs at certain times of the day, and she better have her milk or else.' She also knows that when it is her fathers turn to take care of her, she is sure to get ice cream for lunch. I am the wicked witch in her life!

To him, she is the lode star, the one he comes home to after the stress of work, the one he spends his Sundays with, the one he misses and calls home to find out what she has been up to. I have been relegated to being the ogre in their lives who announces, 'bed time'. 

I have watched him holding her close, absorbing her baby smells. Treasuring the way her unformed face looks, imagining what she will look like all grown up. Enthralled by the look of peace on a very mobile face as she sleeps. Playing 'here comes the bride' in his head when she bursts from her room demanding his attention to her new pink frock. All the sights, sounds and smells to be treasured to help him through the days when she is no longer little. For the day when his little baby will announce, ' I want you to meet someone' and in will walk the scruffiest, hairiest boyfriend a girl could possibly have! For the time, some time soon, when she needs us less and requires more than food, shelter and cuddles. 

His first thought, while in a plane that had hit a turbulence, was his daughter. A fear of leaving her fatherless, of not protecting her and watching her grow. 

I guess my own father, in his generation and time, felt the same. I did not really think about the man who made me his princess, till I saw my husband with my own little girl.   

12-Mar-2006

More by :  Monisha Sen

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