A Guest Post by Satish
Been a long time since I wrote on Preeti’s blog so thought I would give it a go. I could not have chosen a better day.
It was on this day sixteen years back that he arrived in this world. The Doctor said he would arrive the previous day, but he did not feel like it. Guess it was nice, warm and cozy inside, and our man was in no hurry to exert himself. When he did pop out he was so outraged to have been disturbed that he let out a bellow so loud that the hospital shook. The first couple of months were a nightmare. He would not sleep in the night and wanted attention all the time. He just would not sleep for more than a few minutes. Preeti and I would grab a few minutes of sleep when we could and it was tiring. He would make some of the most horrible faces but when he smiled or gurgled, it was plain beautiful.
After the initial few months he became a model baby. Would eat on time, sleep on time and shower everyone with wide smiles which would simply charm them. I remember once we went to the nearby grocery store and some of the store boys kept staring at us and giggling. When I looked up I realised he was raising his eyebrows repeatedly at them and flashing smiles. He was such a cute baby.
|Atul as a baby|
Total strangers came to talk to him, including once when a pretty lady crossed the road to feed him a marshmallow and grab his cheeks saying ‘what a sweetheart’. Note here that Dad was standing there, in fact carrying him, waiting for someone to offer him a marshmallow but no one even thought of offering let alone feeding me. Imagine! It’s such a cruel world.
Over the years I remember most incidents in his life. Like when he had a fever or when he fell and hurt himself (and needed six stitches on his head) or when he participated in a school play. My heart always swelled with pride when I saw him and I pushed him harder to get him to excel.
|Atul as a child, in his dad's shoes|
I also worried for him and wanted to protect him from any pain not realizing that I may not have been letting him spread his wings and fly. Maybe a part of me subconsciously did not want him to fly away and I wanted to keep him close to my heart. Hindsight is a great thing and I can think of a million ways in which I could have been a better father. He knows that I love him but at times I realise he gets frustrated with me for being over protective. I have felt the same way with my Dad. Whether fear and protectiveness is the generation gap or a part of growing up, I cannot say.
|Atul had won the first prize at school for clay modelling. This is what he had made.|
He is one of the most intelligent kids I have ever seen and his brilliant questions since he was a little boy have often stumped me. Like when watching TV he asked me why a channel was called Star Plus (and not just Star) or why shadows are black and not in colour! A number of times when Preeti and I have been stuck with how to do something with a new gadget, this kid would sort it out in two seconds. Every teacher of his till date has said that he has a razor sharp mind, is charismatic, witty and to boot charms all the ladies.
He has always been so mature for his age. Like on his 9th birthday when he said he did not want any presents but instead wanted us to sponsor a meal and some gifts for the children at an orphanage. Many people have even called us up and said our kids were extremely well behaved and that he in particular took care of his sister so well during a party. He is also so generous by heart, including as a child giving his school jacket to his sister to avoid her getting punished and taking the punishment on himself (Preeti wrote about this incident in 34 B&C). He is very protective about his sister and my heart swelled with pride when he bashed a bigger kid for picking on her and hitting her. Out aloud I said he should not have hit the other child, but in my mind I did a few high fives and cartwheels with supreme parental pride.
|Atul and Lostris whom he adores.|
Years flew and he grew. He’s now taller than me. Earlier my baby used to stand on his toes to be taller than me and still fall short. Suddenly one day he was taller.
Am sure he will grow even more than he is not only in height but also in stature. He is dedicated at what he does. On topics that interest him he does a huge amount of research and knows his stuff inside out. During his boards there were days when he studied late in the night and was up again early morning even though he was exhausted.
Working out has been his passion and he is on the way to six packs very soon. His latest fancy (and I get nightmares about him driving on the unsafe Bangalore roads) is getting a motor bike. He has been relentlessly pestering Preeti and me and it’s currently been postponed till he turns 18.
I am his father and he will always remain my baby but there are so many things I learn from him. Like how to love unconditionally, being self-confident, how not to be selfish and above all pursuing your interests with passion.
Happy 16th Birthday, my Darling Atul.
You have turned out to be such a fine young man. My heart bursts with such pride and love for you. I may not express it very often but Son, I adore you. You are my world. As your name suggests may you always be incomparable and continue to be a fantastic human being. Proud of you my darling son.