An Open Letter to my Dad

I have hardly talked about you on my social accounts because I was never sure what to say. I wasn’t sure if everybody who reads this would accept my feelings without judging where I am coming from. This is the first time I have gathered all the courage and my raw feelings to write how I have always felt.

As much as I was ALWAYS proud of how you were so energetic and enthusiastic about our long drives, trips and showing us around as much as you can (even when sometimes you were so tired that you would sleep during our way back home), as much as I ALWAYS appreciate how hard your worked, juggling with your corporate job and giving private tuition to provide us with the best, as much as I ALWAYS love the fact that I never heard even once that you wished for a son to help you out with all the life burdens, as much as I will ALWAYS be grateful with whatever you have provided me and our family, as much as I feel proud of the fact that you not only took care of your kids and wife but your siblings and extended family, as much as you will ALWAYS be an exemplary figure in my discussion on how you are an amazing chef who also does all the household work breaking the cultural stereotype of men shouldn’t work around the house, as much as I am apologetic about how I sometimes broke your heart and did the unexpected….

I always had this void of not having any emotional connection or bond with you. That does not mean that I don’t love you but it sometimes choke me when I see daughters cuddling with their dads, it hurts really bad when in our religious sermons the beautiful father-daughter relationship of Janab e Sakina and Imam Hussain is discussed because I am unable to relate to that, it breaks my heart when I can’t find our pictures bursting with love to post on your birthday or father’s day.

I remember as we were growing up, how we (me and masuma) always talked to ammi first and she conveyed our messages or requests to you. She was ALWAYS our mediator. Why couldn’t we ever muster up the courage to talk to you ourselves?

We were always taught that ‘Baap beti main lehaaz hona chahiye’. I never understood what this ‘Lihaaz’ stands for?

Respect? Well, I am sure I would have still respected you even after sharing my life problems and feelings.

Yep, you have included me in decisions about if we should buy a car or change apartments.

But other times when we talked, it was mostly about taking permission to go somewhere or do something or to buy something.

Your decisions and our conversations have always been a target of ‘Log kya kaheinge’. You were pro and I was always against.

Sometimes it felt the society and your principles mattered to you more than our happiness.

I have never felt comfortable enough to cry in front of you or to hug you when you are feeling upset or low. It flutters me whenever I have seen you crying, be it my Nikah or when I was flying out of Pakistan to start my new life. I wanted to hug you but there has been so much history, so much awkwardness between us that I just couldn’t find it in myself to do it.

I am sorry if my words have hurt you.

I am sorry if I have made you feel unaccomplished.

I am sorry if this letter has made you regretful or angry.

I thought I have spent 25 years of my life not saying or expressing what I always wanted to say. The storm of feelings that I have always felt, I wanted to start over. I wanted to let go and I thought there is no better way to do this than vomiting everything out.

Writing all of this has not been easy and believe it or not, every word that I wrote has choked me more than ever.

If you read it, I hope you find it in your heart to forgive me and I hope you also sit back and reflect on the kind of relationship we have always had.

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