|Home | Issues | The Daily Star Home | Volume 5, Issue 23, Tuesday June 10, 2008|
Memory of a father is never more poignantly felt than on father's day. It has been more than 17 years since my father embarked on his last journey, way up high, somewhere over the rainbow. Even after so many years, the pain never dulls, for no one can ever replace the void in my heart.
All fathers are special but mine was exceptional for he was both father and surrogate mother. My mother passed away when I was only five, long before I could have any meaningful mother-daughter dialogue. The task of grooming me and five other sisters fell on my father. He seemed to know all there was to know about the world of fashion, cooking, hosting and all other social etiquettes, which would prepare me for my adult life. Home was like a finishing school where my father taught us everything. My father was a government official who had an eclectic mix of social friends. And he loved to entertain. Our house was like a honeycomb attracting politicians and poets, ambassadors and administrators, public servants and private businessmen, journalists and revolutionaries. And as we sisters came of age, in a somewhat accelerated pace, each in turn learnt the rituals of playing hostess. The reigning sister, when her turn came, had several assistants at her beck and call as each of us went through our respective baptism of fire.
Our training was not restricted to just conventional female vocations. My father instilled in us a keen sense of men's fashion. He himself was fastidious and fashionable, always smartly dressed for the occasion. I learnt about esoteric items of formal dress like the Kamarband, long before I became a diplomat's wife. I still have fond memories of tidying up my father's fashionable wardrobe and the lessons learnt directly and in subliminal ways were part of my growing up as a woman. The fragrance of his wardrobe wafts in my subconscious even now, at random intervals, and he is never too far from my memory.
Reminiscing about the past, I look about me today. The idea of fashion that these youngsters (especially the young men) indulge in brings a rush of disappointment and an overwhelming impulse to invoke change. Perhaps it is the mother in me that is speaking, but as my father taught me, similarly I would like to pass on those teachings to the next generation. It is always important to know what to wear and when to wear it. Father's Day, like Mother's Day, is a very important day. So I hope you will take your fathers out, and have a ball, and let them know how much they are loved and cherished. Make a note not to miss Father's Day (15th June), there is still time to book a table at a nice restaurant. Wear nice clothes (attempting to keep to the proper dress code!), and make a special night of it.
In this issue, I wish to celebrate Father's Day in the memory of an amazing father, who meant more than the world to me. As the recipe for this issue I am including one of my father's favourite dishes.
Whole Wheat Corncakes
Photo: Zahedul I Khan, Model: Shakhawat Hossain, Zaima Hossain, Shadab Hossain We express our sincere gratitude to Anita Haque for arranging the photo shoot.
On The Cover
The celebration of fatherhood is not confined to a single day. The bond that binds us together is a dance that takes a lifetime to perfect. Ma, maybe have been our very first utterance, but it is baba that we tend to cling to. Check pg 2-3 for an ode to fatherhood.
It is a big deal at age three if your cousin has a red truck or a Tweety tea set and you don't. You positively need them, and nobody understands your gaga googoos. They translate it as sweet talk. Then you cry, shout, throw a tantrum and finally they understand. You either get your cousin's ones or your parents go to that particular shop and gets them for you. You score big time.
At age seven your friend has a mechano set or a dollhouse; at twelve they have a cell phone, an iPod, a Play Station and you, of course, have none. You threw the same tantrum at seven and scored, at twelve nothing less than the three would suffice.
At fourteen your friend has a boyfriend or a girlfriend and you go berserk trying to find yours? Where is mine? As a result you don't even see that the one you are boasting about is a half-wit bag of pure garbage. While you listen to Beatles and Pink Floyd, he loves to 'balle balle'. While you talk about books like 'Anne Frank' or 'Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea', he finds it hard to complete his homework.
At eighteen, your friends leave for the US of A, You don't consider the option of trying your luck for Dhaka University. You are happy that you enrolled yourself at some American University's Dhaka campus.
Your friend is earning big bucks by doing business at 20, you decide to drop out and do the same. Your cousin drives a Mercedes 3x and again you need that car.
You have stepped into this vicious cycle at three, when you scored big time by throwing a tantrum and your parents succumbed to your innocent charm.
Life is nothing but wants, desires, lust and passion. At a young age you as parents need to put that into your child's head; of course you will get that car but make sure it's a blue car and it's after the child forgets about it. Don't scold the child while he screams and hell breaks loose, be patient and never make that mistake of bringing home other children's toys just because yours wanted it. It's bad practice. If you do that, you give your child the first lesson to bully.
Thus at age fourteen when she/he gets a girlfriend or boyfriend you find it horrifying to deal with raging teen hormones. Because at teens, even asking them to clean their room gets you answers like 'you're ruining my life.'
Every minute detail in life is a lesson. If you do not learn to reason, you cannot tell your heart that you can live without that Mercedes or diamond solitaire. In order to please yourself or your beloved you corrupt yourself. It all started at three when you didn't learn to listen to 'No'.
By Raffat Binte Rashid
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