To have a 'Cricketer' for a dad in a cricket frenzied nation
This isn't a forced or rather a late Father's Day ode to my sweet daddy, for I don't need acceptance of this world about my feelings for my creator. This isn't even a teary eyed and choking (non required) description of what all 'Pa' has done for me when, where, how, why and what he means to me, but this is a plain and simple write up about having a daddy, different from others, not by choice but purely by chance.
For once, empathise with someone (me in this case), who grew up in the shadow of her gracious 'cricketer' daddy, who wasn't all that popular, thanks to the low profile he's kept, but not so unknown too, to pass off as a common man. Since my childhood, it’s been a task to be what I am, because of what I am and not because of the 'Big' daddy that God gifted me with. School was fun, but a lot of it was about house masters and the Principal running after me to get 'Pa' (that's daddy for me) to inaugurate the house functions and the annual days! School was also about little 'boy' friends of mine coming to my house on the pretext of playing with my new imported remote controlled car; sighting dad's heavy duty autographed bats and playing with them instead. I won't say I didn't enjoy the attention then; I loved it, for where else would you get so much of it for no reason at all?
What was funny for sometime, turned funnier when I had Gautam Gambhir (a product of my father's cricket academy) as an exam partner in my school half-yearlies. I mean, there I was- a little girl sitting next to(quite unknowingly) the future cricket scion, looking for some exam cues from him; for I thought, him being an able senior and a known fella, would help me out in my exams. But shucks! Nothing of that sort happened, he wasn't as bright as I thought he would be. I came back, told daddy about his cricket student not being a great student otherwise. Gautam, who knew me too, was faintly embarrassed as well when I asked him for help and he whispered - I don't think I really know the answer to that question; and I was like OOPS... Okay, let's not attach a big deal to that, for it is 'REALLY' not a big deal to know a cricketer, is it? For me, obviously it isn't.
What really brings me to touch this cricket thing at all is the fact that though I so much don't want people to attach so much of importance to the hype and hoopla surrounding the game, and with those attached (like my father) to it; people seldom do so, and force me into the awing shadow of my father.
Is it like, wrong, to be a cricketer's daughter in India? If not entirely, it doesn't seem to be all that pleasant too, as we live in a country where one of the major questions people ask to break the ice, and start those rather boring conversations is- What does your father do? So even if you wish to be known as your own self, they will make sure that you're not!
Now let me tell you guys how I can never keep my daddy's identity unknown. They ask me- what does your father do? I say, he's into sports business, they say- what kind of sports business, I say- cricket, they say- cricket???? Are you kidding me? I say- No, I am not. They say- what in cricket? I (fully fed up by then) say- Well, he has a cricket academy and before you ask me how and why- because he is an ex-Indian Test cricketer (with a grin). Guess that shall cool you off!!
And then that moment onwards, these very people see you with a strange gaze, always coming up with stupid pretexts to ask about your dad. Even going to the extremity of 'Googling' your father and telling you about his career statistics the next day you meet them at work (as if it is a piece of breaking news). Sigh. And you go like- hmmm... more of hmmm... and more and more of hmmmm... Some even come up with great ideas like- discussing this newly found revelation with the 'BOSS' for it might just help the product move forward, but alas, they forget that they are invading into your privacy, that they have ruined all your plans of being in the background, of having you own identity and not pulling in your dad into something as trivial as this for the sake of a mere obligation.
What's the result of all this? Well, you give up like me and come out in the open as I have, with my side of the story on how it feels when you're in a similar kind of a situation like the one I am in, where, people won't let me relish the sweet taste of my dad's success. Though I have enough reasons to swell with pride whenever my father is discussed for his greats like any daughter would, still also accompanying are instances of sheer embarrassment. I mean, who on earth would like to be addressed as 'BCCI' just because my dad has ties with it like any other cricketer? I don't find that funny and have since then started calling my pals with all kinds of names that start from 'AIIMS', JAYPEE, TATA and end with PARLE- much obviously the names of the companies their fathers work for.
Also come suggestions from anyone and everyone whether you want them or you don't, you still get them. They start from- why don't you ask uncle (dad) to help you with this? Does he know anyone there? He must be knowing, no? Well, well, well... guess these well wishers fail to realise that if I had to take the help of my father I would've done that ages ago and won't be struggling to carve a niche for myself. Not that I am trying to boast about my high morals and values, but I won't deny that I am proud of what holds me together, that's also thanks to Pa only!
That, in fact is precisely my point- I would be rather happy to be known for what I am made of and what I have imbibed from my father than to be known because of him. It is pressurising sometimes, as there are surely those moments too, when I also feel the need or temptation as I would like to call it, to give in and go for a life much easier, with lesser of strings attached, just with a 'little' help from my father. But believe me, I have to be strong and that's what keeps me going, for I won't like to get a favour in the name of someone who I am closest to, considering the fact that we are living in a nation where even forwarding a resume is called a 'jack'. I rather stay straight-faced and unmoved.
My way of dealing with it: 1. I have stopped reacting, agreeing, disagreeing to the queries bombarded at me which have any kind of reference to my dad. 2. I only answer anything that has everything to do with me. 3. When listening to radio with friends in car and dad on air: I quickly change the channel before some more of hmm... starts and last but not the least, 4. I have become more accepting of the fact that one should value what God has bestowed on one, and deal with it till one is in this world, for everything that we have- be it our name, fame, power or money, has a meaning and we better understand the jest of it while we still have it.
P.S. - The above write-up is not an attempt to belittle someone and not an effort to be a complainant, but only a mere mention of a scenario one is undergoing as well as a pursuit to find a possible parallel way of dealing with things.