Why 'Father's Day'?
With today being ‘Father’s Day’, I don’t know how I feel about it. These western culture celebration days always had me, a brown girl raised with Indian family values, wonder how can a father’s or mother’s role in a child’s life be celebrated in a day? How can 'a day' be enough to be thankful for all that do for their children? I want to accept that this idea that every father does so much for their child, is also the most stereotypical idea especially in the Indian culture.
The requirement of having a perfect family, a mother, a father and child / children, in itself is the most stereotypical. With the kind of work that I do, I have come to realize that not everyone shares the best relation with their parents. Being raised in a very protected and loved family, I never witnessed any abusive situation within my close family, between a father and their child (may be there is lot of stigma or lack of awareness among the culture to come out with such issues). However, now I do know for a fact that these kind of relations do exist in the real world and not just on TV shows. Do you ever think what happens to such children when the entire world around seems to be celebrating this stereotypical father-child relationship? In today’s social media world, where everything is just done for that one perfect shot to go on your ‘instagram’ or ‘facebook’, it is very easy to be completely devastated when you see that everyone else around has the ‘best father’ but you!
Last year, I closely saw my partner lose his father in a battle with Cancer. I personally believe that your parents always live within you in various ways, like your habits, your looks, your likes, your dislikes, your reactions to various situations etc. & that’s the ideology that keeps me going in a country where my parents are oceans away from me. I am sure it is hard for a child without a father to not be able to hear their father’s voice when the entire world seems to be having a happily perfect family time. Do you ever wonder how children who have lost their fathers & had great relationships with them, feel about ‘Father’s Day’ celebrations?
There could be endless reasons as to why a celebration like ‘Father’s Day’ could make someone feel not inclusive. There could be a father out there who has lost his child or a man who chose to not have children. As much as I understand of the Indian festivals that I grew up celebrating, I find them not exclusive. There are tons of Indian festivals depending on your culture and they range from celebrating New Years to embracing the victory of truth over evil. I never grew up celebrating ‘Mother’s day’ or ‘Father’s day’ up until the recent years where I want to say that I was influenced like millions South-Asians of the western cultures. But not anymore…
I find that unlearning what you have been taught is the most difficult thing. But that is the key to breaking stereotypes! On this Father’s Day, I want to break the stereotypical celebrations that everyone around the world seems to be involved in. There is no doubt that my father has made me who I am today and has given me the most important lessons in my life that I can never be thankful enough for. I love my dad immensely. He is the person who taught me to break stereotypes. I remember if I had any demands or tantrums as a kid to have a thing because everyone else had it, he would not simply fulfill saying that, “Just because everyone around seem to have it, you don’t have to have it! I am only going to get you what is realistic and what we can afford.”
I want to say it loud that you do not need to show the world by posting a photo of you with your father just on a Father’s Day. A dinner or a gift cannot be required of you to be thankful for what your father did for you. Likewise, if you don’t have a father or don’t share the best relationship with your father, it’s okay to just not do anything on a ‘Father’s Day’. If you truly want to celebrate the bond with your father because you cherish your time with him, even if he is in your life or not, simply reflect back on yourself and your past journey and I am sure you will find traces of your father in your journey (Ghosh!!! This narration almost sounds like a typical Bollywood plot..).
I am not against celebrating this day but I just believe that we should be mindful of our own privileges over others. Today when you post a photo with your father, think about a close one in your life who doesn't have a father for some reason or think of your uncle or a man in your life who cannot have a child to call him father!
Let’s break these stereotypes of celebrating ‘not-inclusive’ western culture 'so called days'! Also, if social media is bothering you, just remember that everyone these days has ‘Happy pictures’ but our generation is the most unhappy because of this perception that rest of the world is happier than you!
(I am glad now my grandmother won’t think that I didn’t post anything for my father!! :))