Dear future daughter,
It is 2019 when I am writing you this letter. I am young and strong and carefree now as you may see in my photographs later. I am not sure when you will be reading this, but I hope you do. In 2019 I am in Mumbai and Auntie Shreya is in joyful Japan. Grandma and Grandpa are living back home in sweet Darbhanga. The evening breeze is peaceful and the world, merry. There is ice cream in the fridge and ghee in the kitchen. My windchimes want to say hello!
I had this idea to write to you, out of the blue. This may be the silliest thing I do, but when has being silly stopped me? So here I am, part silly and part determined.
Little one, I am not sure what I will name you, but I guess it will not be a normal name. I like Dahlia or Misti. But if you already happen to have one, it will be okay. If you do not, I will give you mine. But I do not see myself calling you by just one name, may perhaps be mono or di syllabic words even, depending on mood.
If you are my blood, you will be special. If you are not, you will be even more special.
I know I will be a silly dad who will not be any good with girl stuff verbiage, and I can barely tell a stole from a shawl or can’t tell different types of pink or differentiate hairband from hair clips, but I guess Auntie Shreya will help you in that.
I will have so many bedtime stories to tell you. So many of them! I will read to you all the volumes of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings and all the stories about Princesses and kings and magic treasures.
I will tell you about the time I went to Mumbai and jumped off a running local or the time when I broke my wrist riding with Uncle Parth. Or I will tell you story of the time I went for a street fight while in Madonna or that one time when police lathicharged us in NIT.
If you get bored, I will tell you stories about this beautiful girl I liked, and if you will be the horror story kind, I will make sure I know plenty. But if you won’t like stories as much as your Pa, I guess it will be okay.
I can’t wait to face the many questions you will have for me, like Mini in the story The Kabuliwallah (I will read you that, too). And I will try to be prepared to answer all of them, even the silliest ones. You could ask me why the sky is blue, or the moon has spots or why the day turns into night. You can ask me why I do not have much hair or why is it curly even, and I might chuckle about it. You could also ask me all about electricity and nuclear plants, and I will have answers to all of them.
I will have a story to tell for every question you ask, and more.
I would make sure every one of your birthdays is special and every next cake bigger than before, and the Tiara brighter and more beautiful. But if you want to go out and celebrate with your friends that will be okay.
I hope you love Chicken and Ghee as much as I do. I will cook chicken, egg and fish dishes, and with good effort, Mutton too. I will take you to eat the Rohu of Darbhanga, for it is the best fish there is.
But if you want to be a vegetarian, that will be perfectly okay. I will learn to cook vegetarian dishes as well. I hope you like soups and all warm beverages, for I am so very fond of them. My plethora of prized tea recipes that I take pride in will be yours to inherit.
I will make sure you always have the comfort of a home and warmth of a family. That there is always enough to food on our table and enough books in your bag. Everything that you will ever need will be my responsibility to provide. And I will tell you how difficult I found it as a kid to eat the things I liked. You will hear how I loved eating Gheewar but never had the money when I was little. I know you may get bored of my “dukh bhari kahani” and it will be okay.
But daughter Soo, you could eat as many Gheewars as you like!
I do not know which city I will raise you in, but I will try that you have all the right memories growing up, from open fields to beaches and hills and morning fogs and desert forts. And a pet dog and visits to home city of Darbhanga. And if it be such that you get to decide the city you would live in eventually, always go for Chennai, for it is your father’s city and will always be home to you.
I cannot wait for the time when I will introduce you to my playlists. The songs like “Lazarus” and “The longer I run” and “You’re beautiful” will be part of your memories growing up. Your generation might listen to a different kind of music, and although I will always say that most music that came after 2000 is garbage, but if you have a different taste in music, it will be okay.
I can’t wait to teach you yoga and meditation when you will be little. I am a man of the morning. But if you will be a night owl, that will be so okay.
When you are a little grown up, I will insist you watch F.R.I.E.N.D.S. I know it will be very outdated by your time and they will tell you otherwise, perhaps HIMYM, but take my word that sucks. F.R.I.E.N.D.S. is the best show there ever was or perhaps will be. We could have conversations on excerpts from the show about Phoebe and Joey and others. But if you do not like it as much, I guess that will be okay. I could watch the shows you like, and then make conversations.
If you act in a play, I will always come to watch. If you play sports, I will always come to cheer. If you write like your Pa, I will always be your first reader. If you are a singer, I will be the first audience to hear you sing. If you are a dancer, I will be your cue. If you are a cook, I will taste every dish you learn. And If you are a space freak like your Aunt, I will make sure you have all the right tools.
And if you want to become something I may not understand or comprehend, I will give my all to see you be it.
I hope you love writing letters like me. I think by your time, written letters will be long forgotten, as it is mostly extinct even in 2019. But I will write you so many. Also, Aunt Ayda will be overjoyed to receive one from you. Though I pray your handwriting will be better than your old man’s.
When you grow up, you will have to make a lot of choices in life. I will make sure you have as many options as there could be. I will help you choosing, but I will always accept your choice.
By the time you will be reading this letter you already may be accustomed to my nature of repeating things over and over and speeches about doing some good in the world. This disease perhaps may get worse as I grow older, and the things I would talk about will mostly be the same. I hope you’ll be patient when I go on and on like a tape recorder.
Sigh… I am not sure if you got that reference. By your time, tape recorders will be antiques to you as gramophones are to me.
I will give you reasoning. But the thoughts will have to be your own. All children learn from the mistakes of their father. I hope you do too.
Dear daughter, I hope you become all things I never was but should have been. And I hope you will be a better person than I ever was.
Anything and everything that I have ever been or will be, my greatest privilege will be to be your dad.
And if you are not any of the things above, that will also be okay.
Just be, someday?
All the way from 2019,
Roses and Dahlias,
And lots of love,