Jun 20, 2009 - published work    40 Comments

From Daddy’s girl

Father’s day may be a creation of Hallmark cards to sell their merchandise in times of lull, but it is a beautiful reminder that we need to appreciate our fathers and tell them that we love them, something we often tend to forget. For a country that celebrates births, weddings and birthdays, we do not celebrate relations and our loved ones as much as we should.

When we do acknowledge the people in our lives, we tend to celebrate some relations more than others. Heaven lies at the feet of mothers, but fathers, who usually bankroll our lives and provide immense support throughout, are left out when we express love, gratitude and appreciation. This father’s day, I wanted to take time out to acknowledge fathers and tell them how wonderful they have been through the years. This is something all fathers would love to hear from their children, no matter what their age or relationship might be.

My relationship with my father has been like any other child’s. It started off with me adoring everything he did to indifference to rebellion without cause in my teenage years. Later, I developed the calm appreciation for my father that many people get as their parents get older. Abba, on the other hand, has always loved me, warts and all, and took pride in every little thing I did.

I look a lot like my father, at least that’s what I have been told by friends, family and perfect strangers. I now smile and accept it, but as a little girl I would sulk to no end whenever I was told that I resemble my dad. My argument was simple: I am a girl who braids her hair, my dad is a man with a receding hairline. We cannot possibly look alike. Instead of being hurt, my father was proud of the fact that his daughter could argue so well.

As a little girl, I had a huge, wall-sized map of the world in my room and my dad and I would spend hours in front of that map discussing countries, food, geography and wars. One thing we always discussed while standing in front of that map was traveling. We planned a million and one trips for later and my top three destinations of choice were the coffee plantations of Colombia, Cairo and Venice. Those trips together never materialised because his health deteriorated after my mother’s sudden and untimely demise. But he took great joy when I traveled to these places (I am yet to discover Colombian coffee plantations) and made memories for both of us.

Before I discovered the Internet, my father was my Google, encyclopedia and Wikipedia – all rolled into one. Whether I would want to know about the Stockholm syndrome, the Crimean wars or Issac Newton, my father was my go-to person and he never disappointed. Abba introduced me to Mumtaz Mufti, Ghalib, Jospeh Conrad and Anton Chekov and inculcated the love for the written word in me. I may have inherited more than just facial features from my dad because my wanderlust, my love for books, my pragmatism and my never-say-die attitude all come from him.

Although Abba has never been very demonstrative about love and affection, and I always thought that he cared about his children in a very casual manner, I know now that we have always been the centre of his life. I only realized how much he loved me when I left to go to college abroad. He never once told me how much he would miss me, but cried for hours after I left and even developed an eye infection as a result. When I got to know about it, I called Abba and said that I would come back if he wanted me to. He told me to stay put and finish my degree and joked that while Prophet Yaqoob lost his eyesight while crying for his lost son Yousuf, he only had conjunctivitis.

It was only after this I remembered all those incidents of quiet fatherly pride he took in everything I did, whether it was my high school results, my sports achievements or my work. I do remember him beaming with pleasure when I first got published. He called everyone when I was not around to make sure that the world knew about the accomplishments of his daughter.

I lost my mother when I was a teenager and never really had a chance to tell her how much I loved her and what she meant to me. My father is not well these days. He is hospitalised and fighting ill health and weakness. This father’s day, I want him to know that he is much loved and appreciated. Whatever I am today is because of my dad, because of his affection, compassion and guidance. He always encouraged me in whatever course of action I took, and never stopped me from doing anything because I am a girl. Perhaps his greatest gift is that he never placed barriers to my flight of imagination. I love you Abba, and I want to thank you for enriching my life and being such a wonderful father.

Originally published in Dawn

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  • What a beautiful post!

  • how lovely taz 🙂

    hope your dad gets well soon 🙂

  • Bonjour Tazeen,

    A splendid text, it honors you and your father Abba. What you said is timeless and not related to any country, simply universal.



  • 🙂 lovely! my regards to your dad.

  • I feel this is one of the most beautiful and heartfelt things you’ve ever written. We’re at our best when we’re writing from the heart aren’t we:) I hope your dad gets well soon, inshallah.

  • Wow, first time on your blog and I was simply floored. This one really touched my heart. Hope your dad gets better soon.

  • cha gain aap 🙂

  • a very nice post

    best wishes for your father

  • Very sweet post! I hope your Dad gets well soon. 🙂

  • Your article made me teary-eyed. I have a very similar relationship with my father, so I completely identified with what you wrote. I hope he feels better soon inshallah, and he is certainly lucky to have a daughter like you!

  • This is truly a beautiful post. I hope your father gets well soon :).

  • Wishing your dad an early and complete recovery!!

    You just brought back so many memories!

    God bless!

  • Big hug for you Tazeen. And all my wishes to your dad.
    The part about how he was your google, reminded me of my father- and I do wish he were around today.

  • That was really touching, Tazeen… thanks 🙂

    I’m sure your Abba knows how much he means to you…

  • After all those years that is something he would love to hear from u. make sure he reads it. Its not for us but for him and u.

  • Beautiful;-)

    Prayers 4 ur Abba

  • Thanks for sharing your life story.I am honoured to know you and your father.May Allah grant him strength and speedy recovery and health,amen.

    I really liked this line”Before I discovered the Internet, my father was my Google, encyclopedia and Wikipedia – all rolled into one.”

  • what a lovely piece, Tazeen!

    thanks for sharing this 🙂 Fathers r the bestest…n i’m sure one day u n him will visit the Colombian coffee plantations together !

    God bless him n u..may he get well soon…take care

    P.S: the shoes wala pic is so bloody cute yaar…just made my day..thanks again!

  • The pic is really lovely…! 🙂

    I’m going to call my Baba.

  • Very nice.

  • A very touching post! Thank you so much for inspiring us with your beautiful words.

    May your father bounce back to health soon.

    PS: I love the picture!

  • What a tribute Tazeen! Happy Father’s Day to Abba.
    You are right, father’s are highly underrated and often made the bad guys when families break up; the fact that they bring an innate stability is often overlooked.

  • Awww! What a sweet post! I hope your father gets well & strong. Happy Father’s Day to him!

  • I don’t think this is a post on which a comment is required. This one is solely for you and your father

  • Just got back home from my trip and my daughter looked down, apparently she had been sick and mopey since the day i left, she hugged me really tight at the airport and said i missed you so much i got sick baba, i love you.

    This from a 5 year old is the best gift a dad can get, daughters really are special and mine means the world to me just like you do for your dad.

    So here’s to the father daughter relationship, something so deep only the people involved know what its like.

  • Hi Tazeen,

    Very nice post. I see so much of my own father in yours, the same silent support and dignity which my dad possesses. I also lost my mom when she was only 52. I hope you have siblings. They are such a godsend! It is true that fathers do not exhibit their love as openly but they are so loving and caring in their own way. I loved the pic of the tiny shoes next to the large adult shoes. Your post inspired me to write one about my dad and send it to him.

    Hope your dad recovers soon. He has a wonderful daughter in you. Always retain your fearlessness and positivity.


  • I dont have words to show how lovable relationship is this. I was in love with my father and a bit prejudiced when it comes to prefer ammi over abbu. I still wanna hold his finger while crossing roads but I can’t. I miss you abbu.

  • A very touching post. Hope your dad gets better soon.

  • So true that we tend to give away all the honors to moms (who totally deserve it no doubt) and forget the dads. Such a touching post, I wish your father a speedy recovery so that both of you can trot off to the Colombian plantations.

  • hugs for you and prayers for ur father…

  • tazeen this is such a touching post. i too lost a parent very early on and nothing prepares you for that.

    Hope your father gets well soon.

  • 🙂
    I hope he gets better. I know how important he is to you.
    From one Daddy’s girl to another.

  • This is a beautiful post. I hope your father reads it. Peace and health to your father. 🙂

  • That above comment was me, by mistake it got published as anonymous, could you pls fix it?

  • touching Post! I hope your father feels better

  • Hi Tazeen,
    Its a blessing to have your parents. A blessing so big that its magnitude can only be realized over the period of many years, in the midst of some unspoken, quite moments. Sometimes you hold your father’s hand and tears of immense joy, and mostly gratitude come out. We cannot thank our parents enough. We cannot give them our life so they stay with us forever but we can, truly appreciate the priceless moments we have spent with them. We can enjoy today. I lost my father when I was 15, my father-like uncle just passed away at 50 couple of years ago. It makes me very sad to remember things I was not able to share with them, but it gives me immense joy to think about the moments that make warm memories. Now that I am a father myself, of a beautiful 11 month old baby girl, I can only appreciate more what our parents have done for us. Death sux but life is beautiful…and its our loved ones that make it so rockin’ awesome.
    Love my father, love my mother, whose piyar and duwa has rescued me million times. My uncle once wrote a verse that I remember so well:
    Yeh mehr’e taban se ja kar keh do ke apnee kirnon ko gin ke rakh le

    mein apne sehra ke zare zar’e ko khud chamakna sikha raha hoon

  • Having two lovely daughters myself, I felt your words. May God give your father health and make you source of pride for him.

  • what better prize for a parent than to hear his/her child to speak so lovingly about them.

  • simply said, awesome tribute

  • A great tribute to a loveing father, one can feel the deapth and affection of a daughter. May allah bless him with eternal peace

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