Today, you turn two. It is 4 am and seeing you sleeping carefree with half-open mouth, wide spread arms and teeny-tiny snores, I feel at peace.
Thankfully, probably the only worry you have today is ‘how do I convince mom to let me play in the sandpit for a little more’; I have, unfortunately, bigger things to be bothered about.
I am worried that I need to wish you a safe life before wishing a happy one. I am worried that what surrounds us today gives me chills, often.
The biggest fear of a father must be losing his daughter and I am no exception. It scares me. It steals my sleep.
What troubles me is more social than political. It starts from the roots, from the individuals. It is the mindset that woes me. Why should someone’s daughter suffer for anyone’s fun, mischief or because someone wants to flaunt power?! She should not; and must not.
Today, I want to wish something. I want to wish you to grow in a civilization where a girl is seen as ‘someone’ and not as ‘something’. I want you to grow in a society where a girl is treated as a flower which is nurtured and not crushed. I want you to grow up to believe and experience that the genders are nothing more than the difference of physicality; the rest – respect, outlooks and fearlessness- is the same.
Had I had a son, I would ask him to fulfill these wishes for the daughters of others. He would see girls as humans and treat them with humanity. It is not too much to ask for, is it?
Amid all my agony, I have one advice for you. Never, ever, misuse being a girl. And, more importantly, don’t let anyone else too. Stand up for what is right and fight for it.
When you grow up to read and understand this, all the things I said about the fairy world culture that I wish for you today, may not even be relevant. And I really hope, they are not relevant then. I wish you end up asking me, ‘Dad, why did you wish something for me that is already there.’
For a father, sharing his daughter’s love with someone is the hardest thing to do. Had I got a choice, I would never let you grow up. Had you got a choice, you too would not choose to grow up. But that is not how it works, we know.
Some day you will meet someone and fall in love and all, I understand. Somewhere within, I want you to too. Be with the guy who makes you feel great about you; someone who stands second on the list of people who love you the most in the world. No one can replace me at the top for you, Right? Right.
Before you say ‘Enough, dad. I am bored. Tell me something that I like.’, let me come to the point.
Alright, as I promised, while you are still asleep, I have stacked all your birthday presents in shiny, colorful wrappers by your side. I cannot wait for you to wake up, hop on them with your cheerful grin and struggle to decide which one to open first.
Stay you, sweetheart.
Initially published on yourstoryclub.