For the real life soldier in my life, my dear husband, I had always thought of him as a little gentlemanly, sometimes have even chided him for his too compassionate nature. I always thought people in forces are these tough macho alpha males. All these thoughts stayed with me until I was pregnant with our child.
It was only then I saw my man in a different light. He always wanted a daughter. He actually craved for a daughter so much that he refused to believe that he can have a male first child. In a society like India, one has to understand the mindset of people to figure out how big an aberration that is.
He is the first born male child in his family for the tenth successive time, and they even have a family tree to prove it. And yet when my daughter was born, he said to me, ‘I am so happy with her. Do you mind if we don’t have any more children after her?’ Even in my hospitalised state, so immediate after giving birth, when having another baby seemed like a bad joke, I was amazed! What is this guy saying? And the first question popped in my mind was, ‘What will my in-laws say?’
And that was 12 years ago. In all these years I must have asked him almost as much number of times if he had changed his mind about having more children. He just said, ‘No.’ ‘But why?’ I had asked, just to check if his reasons are still the right ones. He said, ‘Because she makes me so complete as a parent, that I don’t even want another child. She makes me proud, and happy. She fulfils me, and every day I am glad that for this opportunity to be her father.’
Sometimes I think how my daughter has no clue that her father is one of those rare breed of Indian fathers who think daughters are the best. My child, who takes her exceptional father for granted in her childhood exuberance, will take a long time to understand that being a girl child in India is not safe, and yet her Papa has made the world secured for her.
She will learn it the hard way that once she is away from this loving security offered by her Papa, she will have to fight the lecherous glances of men all the way, in the bus, in the trains, while walking the streets, and in workplaces. I pray that she will not have to suffer in the hands of her boyfriend or spouse when she steps in adulthood. But I also know that if anyone dares to harm a tiny piece of her body, her father will come to her rescue, always. He is the soldier and the hero for my daughter, he is the one who fights for her, and stands beside her all the time.
Sometimes, I feel my child is so fortunate to have her hero in her papa, salute to you, my dear husband, for you made it possible for her to have her very own soldier for women.