A letter from a liberal, feminist, progressive father to his adopted daughter. This work is purely fictional.
As you and your mother sleep serenely after an exhausting day, I took this plunge to pen this before my thoughts fade away.
Not before you entered our lives, I knew how a tiny soul can make a difference in our lives. All thanks to your Mother. The beautiful woman sleeping beside you is no ordinary woman. I was apprehensive about making you a part of our family. Initially, I detested and have had huge arguments with you Mum. Her conviction and belief has no bounds. Your grandparents and I took time to understand her love towards you.
You were 9 months old when we brought you from Pune’s rescue home. You were sick and in a pretty bad shape after being vicious raped by cruel men. People called you “survivor” and outpoured their sympathy. You Mum called you “Warrior” and showered her immense love. The day we brought you into our tiny home, nothing else mattered to us. Family, friends, society were immaterial. Our hearts knew we did something right.
Unlike many fathers who wish their child to imbibe Dad’s mannerisms, style and action, I want you to grow up like your mother. She is an epitome of empathy and love. Her resilience, strength, patience are inspiration to many. She refused to conform to restrictions put by this regressive society. Becoming a mountaineer, marrying a person from different religion, going on solo international trips are some of the rebellious things she did in her times.
Your Mum’s story of defeating cancer moved many lives. She would undergo chemo sessions in the mornings and used to gather her strength to see your smile in the evenings. The only thing that made her fight battle a stage 4 leukaemia is your smile. You took us into a different world where only happiness exists. Your crankiness, antics, laughter, actions everything is mesmerising. Like the way you are smiling in your sleep right now cuddling your Mum. You are her reason to live.
You are no less than your mother. You are already a warrior princess. I am proud of you for taking up a cause like women and child welfare and working towards it. Honey, since you are turning 18, the three advices I give you today are 1. Don’t stop saying “NO” to things you dislike and ask “Why” 2. Be brave, tenacious 3. Spread love. Go ahead, experiment, learn from your mistakes, fight back and experience the entire journey wholeheartedly. Be it your dress or subjects you want to study, the choices and decisions are totally yours. You choose your religion. Choose your life partner. Think and act wisely. We shall only be mentoring you. Child, open your wings and fly. Fly as much as you WANT to. And never give up.
Your Daddy dearest