Monday, 22 June 2009

Stolid Husk

I saw the most amazing scenes on the telly last night.

It was news on a Father’s Day celebration at Shah Alam’s Concorde hotel, showing all sorts of “fathers” ironing clothes.

Amazing in that something so routinely mundane in the modern household (at least in mine) could actually be decidedly newsworthy.

I was ready to smirk at this, along the lines of “romantic notions that caring fathers help out in menial household duties” thinking, when I thought of my own dad.

At how such a task would have been a tough one for him.

I remember the days when Mom was hospitalised with a slipped disc last year and how difficult it was for him to adjust to even having to buy lunch for himself.

He has always had Mom to prepare the meals daily, all within well defined time slots.

Dad – perhaps stemming from his days as a soldier – is highly regimented and formal in almost everything.

Even in the way he treats his three grown up children.

My sister and I, having been raised by our grandparents from a very young age, have admittedly been the more wayward ones when it comes to both him and mom.

It’s a sad truth that I don’t feel the spark for them the way you do with ones you hold dear, something which is quite disconcerting to me.

That warmth within is conspicuously missing.

Often, I get nothing with mom and dad: just a sinful coldness in my heart I couldn’t even pretend its non existence.

Once upon a time after my studies, I stayed for a short while with a close uncle and envied at how close he was with his son.

They shared guffaws while watching movies of the late Tan Sri P Ramlee, roared in approvals when their shared favorites football team scores, jeered at one another whenever rival favorites lose; the list is long.

I remember thinking that this was how it should be between me and dad.

Central to this aloofness in feelings (on my part) is perhaps the fact that we were apart for a long, long time: dad was at most a holiday father figure to me (and perhaps my sister, too).

Memory is largely a superfluous thing, but I can still remember some of the moments shared with my late grandfather than I do of my own dad.

Unlike the popular saying, absence most definitely does not make the heart grow fonder where I am concerned.

Off and on however my mind keeps going to Mike and the Mechanics “Living Years”.

It is often said that we only start to appreciate treasured moments (and I truly believe that this should include these familial feelings and connections) only when they have passed us.

I pray that I do not end up even without these moments.

I want to worthy of being a son to my dad and not this stolid husk that I now am.

Now, if only my heart echoes this…

Ironing and fatherhood.

It’s a match made in heaven.


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