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Betting on Father’s Hour

Illustration: Sreejith Ravikumar  

I’m a great dad, don’t get me wrong, but Father’s Day terrifies me. It’s another date I’m reminded that I forgot. If you really want a Dad’s Day, it should be up to us dads to pick any one. Like casual leave. I’ll take it whenever I want to. Huge extended family function? Sorry, I can’t make it – I’m having a Father’s Day. Else, allow us a Father’s Hour — 24 of them to permutate. There’s the match and I’m claiming my Father’s Hour. With about 5000 calories in deep-fried snacks and a remote control within arm’s reach. And of legitimately being emotionally unavailable (which is non-bailable jailable in the wife’s eyes). It’s not true that I never listen. I devoutly listen to the chaps in the commentary box who are kindly celebrating Father’s Hour with me, whether they’re fathers or not.

What makes Father’s Day even more alarming is being asked what I want to do. The para above, obviously. But this ‘What I want to do’ is intricately linked to ‘What we want to do’ as a family. It’s a devious trap. The last time we did this family time, it clashed with the Roland Garros finals. So we sat through a family movie, with puppies and babies, which got my wife weeping. I was weeping too. Real tears. Because my friend kept pinging me about the nail-biting first set. I was so emotionally available, emotionally overwrought even - that I had to rush to the loo, to get him to aim his video at his TV. I returned to find that the puppy was still lost, or was it the grandpa? And they unfairly stayed lost through the second set as well.

What I’d like on Father’s Day is not to be asked trick questions. And really, they’re all trick questions. Which section is the kid in? What is the history teacher’s surname? Did you remember to buy fabric softener — I said so thrice? Do I look fatter in this or this? Do you remember what we said 11 years, 3 months and 15 days ago in the veranda at Isha’s baby shower? I remember neither the baby nor its shower and only remember Isha for reasons you won’t want to know.

For Father’s Day, listen to my answers, though. Permanent answers which never change. To kid #1, you’re too young for a boyfriend, and you always will be. To kid #2, no, your haircut doesn’t suit you, and what it costs doesn’t suit me. To both: I’m not paying your criminally-high fees for your vocabulary to comprise single alphabets like k, or c u.

Actually, Father’s Day isn’t so bad. Those kind chaps have planned the Euro Cup fixtures around it. Let’s celebrate it with some family time and weep together — at the sheer beauty of this pass or that impossible save — and re-watch old matches for the 19th time. We’ll have such a great Father’s Day, you may just forget to remind me about it from the next year on.

Where Jane De Suza, the author of Happily Never After, talks about the week’s quirks, quacks and hacks

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Printable version | Jul 31, 2021 6:41:48 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/betting-on-fathers-hour/article34855754.ece

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