Sushmita, a teen, had come to me for advice. She said she was in a dilemma. It appeared she wished to give her father a gift on Father’s Day but her mother, a divorcee who married for a second time, was against the idea as she thought the girl should consider her stepfather as her own father in every respect and should not have anything to do with her biological father.
I think your mother is right, I said.
No, aunty, Father’s Day is meant to honour fathers and thank them for all that they have done for their children, don’t you agree? When my own father has done so much for me, sent me to a good school, helped me with my homework and loved me so much, don’t you think I should thank him and show my love towards him? she asked.
I could see the wisdom in the girl’s words and felt she exhibited a great deal of maturity for her age but I didn’t know what advice I should give her.
I thought she was caught up in one of those rare situations which was not yet prevalent in our culture. A divorced woman with children marrying for the second time and the divorced man preferring to stay single! I thought if he too had married and set up a family, Sushmita wouldn’t have been so much attached to her father even after he was separated from them. All my reasoning to convince her to go with her mother’s thinking and do what she had said proved futile.
Aunty, how can I pretend to love my stepfather and honour him when I don’t really feel like doing so? she confessed amidst tears. I can’t be a hypocrite. I’d rather refrain from the very idea of celebrating Father’s Day, she said, trying to control herself.
The incident set me thinking. Are we all not hypocrites in one way or the other, I thought. The only difference perhaps is we may not like to admit the fact even to ourselves!
N Meera Raghavendra Rao