Being happy

"Appa, why don't we also fly together like this sometimes?" he once asked me innocently.

It was over several days now that my little boy had started learning to ride his bicycle. He would lose balance, skid, climb back, skid again and look over his shoulder embarrassed to reassure himself that I was holding the saddle behind him. That cool, summer evening, suddenly, the moment unfolded before me. I held him steady and in a blink he was off on his own. Thinking of that day, I realise that this cycle-metaphor is what defines our father-son bond and our happiness. 

Fatherhood definitely, for me, has meant holding steady my son’s life-saddle until he gets pedalling away without having to look over his shoulder for reassurance. Determined I was, from the moment I carefully nestled him in my arms 10 years ago, that I would cherish and blend every moment of his childhood and growing up with my life and its routines. I quietly whispered to him that day “I’ll be there when it happens.”

I often hear parents despair: “Oh, they grow up so fast”. But that does not seem to happen to me. For me, time ticks slowly and pleasantly when I am around junior. My son and I have discovered several hundred ways to savour our time together without any haste or bother.

Together we have learnt to dwell leisurely on every moment in each other’s company, read, talk, stimulate, create and most importantly, be happy. His laughter, his fears, his friends, his books, his strengths and weaknesses – we share them all together.

Our invaluable, early morning “balcony-time”, quietly spent watching egrets and cormorants fly past towards the nearby marshes are instances of singular bliss. “Appa, why don’t we also fly together like this sometimes?” he once asked innocently, resting his head on me. Could I have asked for more?

The more we have done together, the more our happiness has grown. Enab-ling a flow of conversation with the little fellow has never been easier ever since we started to read together. Our book store tours have been most rewarding.

Rummaging the shelves of second-hand book shops, finding an author whom we have read together and finding them cheap are “eureka” moments which would trigger a barrage of questions and cues for buying many more. In the background of the soft rustle of the pages of scattered comics and novels, I gently lull him to sleep, holding his hands tight and snug, relishing this favourite everyday routine.

On the threshold of adolescence, what my son needs today, more than mere parental presence or reassurance, is a clear roadmap to adulthood. Survival in the midst of growing pressures in a new-age, urban culture has never been more challenging. At every available opportunity, I never fail to urge my child to be happy and content in whatever circumstances he may be in.

For, as someone aptly said, our clocks are all wound just once and may soon become still. I have realised that happiness is not a miracle waiting to happen in our lives. It is within everyone’s reach and can be created in any circumstance.

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