CREATIVE NON-FICTION : My Father and My Son by Ritika Bhandari Parekh

The day my kid was born, my father was at the beach. He had become a 'Nana', maternal grandfather and he decided to celebrate it amidst the sand and water for company. 

Every woman anticipates her delivery day in her mind's eye. Even I had a visual, of my husband giving the baby in my Papa's hands. And my Papa enquiring about me. While the beautiful part of our baby being held by dearest husband first, came true. The part with my Papa in it, didn't work out. 

My father is a paraplegic patient and even though we call our lives 'normal' - in so many ways, it is not. In his own subtle manner, Papa waited till the guests were handled by my mother and then came to visit. He held my kid outside the clinic because the passage of entry was too narrow to accommodate his wheelchair.

I could not meet him that day and by night time, my tears overflowed. With all the changing hormones, I had only one wish - to meet my Papa. For the next couple of days, I didn't have the courage to talk much on the phone with him. My shaky voice would have revealed a lot. 

On the day I was discharged, when I entered home - I first went and met Papa. He shook my hand to congratulate me on becoming a mother. He knew in his heart that now, for at least sometime he can hold the baby to his heart's content. He sat in his wheelchair and waited outside my room. The entire day as soon as the baby was put to rest after a feed, Papa wished to hold him. Each time my son cried, Papa would play his current favourite song.

Papa and I had spent the last few weeks, before my delivery, listening to old Bollywood songs on television. I would lie besides his airbed and he would quietly complete his office work, while the songs played in the background. Today my almost to-be 2 year old son has a great fondness for songs, new and old alike. He even croons a few, for our entertainment.

On the umpteen nights my kid didn't sleep at night Papa would tell me one thing, give him to me and you go to sleep. He could not walk and put my kid to sleep, but in his loving way he would keep him on a pillow and soothe the baby. He could not teach him to hold his hand and walk, but his touch was reassuring for my son.

Today when my son gently taps Nanu's legs to catch his attention, I know that there is more than the sensation of touch that connects to my Papa's mind. My son is a small balm sent by God to smoothen the dysfunctional life, we always shared.

Somewhere while growing up, Papa felt that I never cared enough for him. I wasn't able to show him how much he mattered. But the time I spent with him after my delivery, gave him a sense of love which I could never openly share. His small phase of depression was cured by my unborn kid. My father slowly learnt again to live life to the fullest and leave his anxieties far away. Our being around him was enough to give him hope and carry on.

Today he has embraced technology to video call his grandson, whenever he misses him. He advices me to be a gentle parent and encourage my kid when needed. My son, unknowingly, got my father to smile again. 

Papa taught me to roller skate, when he could walk. He got me a cycle as a token for getting good grades. He taught me to play rummy, during one boring summer vacation. And I know he yearns to scoop up my son and take him to the garden for play time.

Despite the heartache, he smiles. And he loves, in his quiet manner. When he gets a toy phone for my son, when he indulges requests to switch on videos on YouTube, when he tells me about all the places he wishes to take my son. Knowing that he will need people for him and the kid, he still loves. He still dreams and wishes.

Love in its most simplest form is the curious nature of my son, which enthralls us adults. We are reliving what we never knew - how we became our own selves.

So when my paraplegic father, who doesn't have sensation below his hips, buys a kiddie rocking chair for my son - I firstly show my apprehension on what if he falls, and then I try to indulge him. The happiness of both my child and his grandfather is one of the small mercies of our life.

About the Writer :
Ritika Bhandari Parekh is a Mass Media graduate who loves to write on food, animation, books, travel and anything that interests her. Read : she is yet to find her niche subject. Currently she is loving her role as a mother to a 2 year old.
Her Instagram handle is

((Photo Courtesy : Alexandre Saraiva Carniato))