I do love you as much.

It’s been about a week now, and Goa has been treating me well. People here don’t give a shit, and they tend to live in their own universe, just like I do. I like it like that. It’s my first weekend out here, so I thought I should go out, explore Goa a bit, so I dragged my room mate, this curly haired Bengali guy who showers as often as a Halley’s comet appears.

So we get on this scooter that I got on rent, which came with a pink helmet. Not that I don’t like pink, but pink helmets? Really? Anyway, we drive towards Anjuna, place known for a lot of good clubs and frequented by tourists. We reached the place, parked the scooter and fell in love with the view, and decided to lie down in some shade and feel the breeze on our face.

There are quite a few people around doing touristy things, clicking pictures, trying to keep their hats from flying off and yelling at their kids for going too deep in the water, but I notice this one guy, tall, dense mustache, pot belly dressed top to bottom in red. No shit, the same shade of fucking red everywhere, tshirt, shorts, even his socks and shoes matched the shade. Just that his hat was black, but, with a red ribbon on it; same shade. I was amazed. I just couldn’t look at anything but this one man, red all over walking and taking pictures of the scenery. Can you guess what color his camera was? Yep. Red.

Enter wife. Dressed up normally as a human would and not a hydrant, wearing a saree, and that goddamn hat. WHY THE FUCK DO PEOPLE BUY HATS IN GOA ? Fuck that. Enter daughter. And younger son. Dressed up like normal people again. Hats on both of them too. I loved how the entire fucking family got hats together. I hope they got a good discount. I was just glad whatever the obsession with red was, wasn’t hereditary. Hydrant uncle now starts clicking pictures of his family. Then portraits of his wife alone, posing in front of a tree, then his daughter, and then the son; though the son isn’t interested in clicking any pictures, father still convinces him to click some.

About twenty minutes have passed and I’m looking at them constantly while hydrant uncle is constantly taking pictures, appreciating poses and making sure he has a fuckton of pictures to show when his friends come over for drinks. Maybe even share some on his family’s whatsapp group. I see him permuting his family members, daughter and son, daughter and wife, wife and son and so on. After about thirty minutes of clicking pictures they started walking back to the car they came in. And I wondered; that man, he probably paid for the entire trip, must be working hard enough to provide for the family, secure his children’s future, plan trips, buy hats and do whatever it takes to keep them happy, clicked a million pictures and they just left. Nobody even bothered to click a single picture of him.

I felt sad. I felt like walking to him and telling his children to click at least one picture of their hard working dad. At least for his sake. At least as a memory of their trip to Goa. But they had gone by then, and I thought to myself, being a father is really a tough job.

My father has been providing for the family for more time than I have been living, taking care of his children, wife and rest of the family. My father was born in a village where even the doctor who pulled him out was uneducated. So there is no record of his birthdate. We don’t have a date to celebrate his birthday on, so we don’t celebrate it. It’s been like that for years now. But he still does not forget to get a cake when he returns from work regardless of whoever’s birthday it is.

He does the laundry when mom is not well, he feeds the dog when we forget, he’s switches off the lights in the toilet if we forget, shuts the windows when it starts to rain in the middle of the night. And most of all, it’s been more than three decades, my mom has never had to use a pillow. And it breaks my heart that we have all taken him for granted. I can say I love my father a lot, but in no way can I say I love him more than he loves me.

The little things he does to keep us safe, keep us happy and keep us going no matter how hard our day has been can never be thanked for. The only thing I can do is look forward to raising a child like my father raised me, maybe some things are not meant to be paid back, they are supposed to be paid forward.

So when the day comes, when my child forgets to switch off his lights, I’ll switch then off, when she get’s hungry at night, I’ll fix her a sandwich, and when he scrapes his knee, I’ll take him to the doctor that doesn’t use needles. I’ll try as hard as you did dad. And I hope you’ll be there by my side, smiling, thinking, I do love you as much.

Like what you read? Give Arjun Jindam a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.