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Tuesday, August 13, 2019

100 Rays Of Son - 93


Like Father 

I often wonder why it is always said, ‘Like father, like son’ and never ‘Like mom, like son’ or ‘Like mother, like daughter’. My father and my brother had no similarities at all. They were completely different individuals who were as much unlike as any two people could be. When I think about Rayyan, I find at least few similarities he shares with his father, but then it would be so unfair to say that phrase in his life as well.
Today, finally I decided to write about the one person who has been mentioned here sometimes, but not introduced properly. After all it is also an important chapter Rayyan’s life.
His father had tough childhood and started taking burden of his whole family (mom, dad, two sisters and two brothers) at the tender age of 11 years. He was lending supporting hand to his dad even earlier than that, but at this age he took up all the responsibilities of his family. This was the reason my mom had super soft corner for him in her heart. Even my elder sister knew some of his struggles and she defended him against my accusations whenever we had a fight.
I always felt that since he was so caring and loving towards his family, he would be much more loving towards his children in future. But unfortunately, it worked opposite. Since, he was always told that he was the one they looked up to and all the other things which made him a hero, his love for them was unparalleled. Finally when he realized that it was not everlasting and as soon they settled, they ignored him completely, he couldn’t change. Somehow, their changed behaviour only made him mistrust all of us. Rayyan could never get into that rung of ladder and always stayed below them. I am not sure whether I was there for some time or not. We, in our family had different bond. We fought, we made up, and we rebelled against our parents, yet deeply loved each other selflessly. We have never been selfish with each other, a trait given to us by my sister Surila. That same love was shared and is even to this day shared with Rayyan and Farheena.
When Rayyan was born, his dad was in Abu Dhabi. He came back when Rayyan was 15 months or so. In between that time, I being the responsible parent who wanted Rayyan to have best time with his dad when he came down, would show him his pictures and explain to him that, “This is your dad baby. You can meet him in a short time”.
Rayyan was with my family all the time when his dad was in Abu Dhabi. The condition of the house there was not like the one in the city, so my family were nervous sending him there. He was more attached to Surila than me, so it was another challenge I had to overcome. I told my husband to come to Bangalore, and then we could go to Byndoor. He wouldn’t even listen to it. “I have given you freedom to be there all these months. Please do come there now, or else what will my mom think?” I was so scared to convey this to my family, but then I brought it up. Since, my mom’s diplomatic skills were high, a whole entourage of my family went to Byndoor behind Rayyan. They stayed at a place owned by my mom, whereas I stayed at my husband’s place.
Once he came down, we were waiting for his response to the Bhambha but he had to complete his ritual of meeting his family, handing over their gifts, talking to them, then meeting his friends before coming to see Rayyan. I was shocked at the stranger walking in because this person had beard. The pictures I had shown became useless. Finally, excited my sister asked, “How is your darling son?” He casually replied, looking at the sleeping baby, “What? Isn’t he like any other baby?” I was scared that my sister would kill him and make me a widow by the way she looked. But somehow she gritted her teeth and walked away. Rayyan started wailing as soon as he saw the bearded man, and his dad was very upset that own flesh and blood was turning away from him. Believe me, some people think like that.
Even before we could catch up with our lives in that period of time we stayed away from each other, the accusations started that Rayyan is spoilt, he will grow up to be a dependent stupid child, and many more by not just my husband, but also his family. I was very upset with this. He somehow wanted to prove to everyone around that having his own son did not mean he changed towards them. And Rayyan couldn’t be the loving first born to him.
My mom and sister consoled me that since he had rough childhood, he couldn’t understand children properly. The way his father would beat him with stick was something very famous in Byndoor and not just my mom, but many others had soft corner in their heart for him. I couldn’t understand why he couldn’t give Rayyan what he lacked and develop a relationship with him so that the void could be filled? Whatever, I was confused and was still trying to understand everything.
Rayyan had beautiful curly locks which we loved. One fine day, he called a barber and shaved his hair. Rayyan never looked the same ever again. It was not like he did not love his child, I could see that, but somehow he wanted to prove and dominate that he is 'the' father and he has a say in bringing up Rayyan. I could somehow understand how he felt and did not oppose him much. After Rayyan suffered many traumatic issues, including the one when he tried to feed him red chilli fish curry since his mom said that adjusts children’s stomach to food. He had such a terrible choking fit and couldn’t breathe. I flared up and for the first time everyone got a dose of my temper. All just put their tails behind their legs for few days.
Finally he went away for another 18 months or so. In a short time my dad was diagnosed with cancer. I was spending more and more time with my family once he left not only because I was comfortable here and wanted to be with them in time of their crisis, but also because I was not welcome there at his home. No one there bonded with Rayyan either. He would be down with fever or diarrhoea every alternate week.
Again the drama of showing his dads pictures, showing him dad/son movies and explaining the relationship started. Again when he came, the trauma started for Rayyan all over again. He was once beaten with drumsticks (vegetable), threatened to be thrown in a well, and many other incidences that scared Rayyan a lot. He started wetting his bed for the first time in his life and that broke my patience. Happy childhood or not, I am not going to allow this. But then I also realized I was pregnant, and yes that was Farheena.
In all chaos, after few days my MIL was sick and we had to take her to doctor in Mangalore. She was fine as we reached there, but I had to be in hospital due to bleeding. I was in second month of pregnancy and some wanted me to abort the child and some did not. My husband fought hard, threatened to kill himself along with Rayyan if I went for abortion. Again Rayyan was used so that all of us will give in to his whims. My family would do anything to keep Rayyan safe. Anyway I did not want to abort the child after seeing it on scan monitor. Yet I wanted to go for divorce because I did not want the other child to face the same issues. My heart was bleeding for my child. My family and my husband convinced me that things will be different hereafter. Everyone knows that story, right? It is same everywhere.
What followed was my cancer which my husband couldn’t handle immediately after his mom’s death and Farheena’s diagnosis. He took out his anger on Rayyan. The poor child was already dealing with the changes in our family, and now this was brought upon him.
What I remember from his childhood is the question he asked me one day. “Maa you used to so many things about father, and what it means. Is this what you were describing back then? Is this what it’s all about?” I had no answer for this child. I know my husband had a traumatic childhood, but then I feel Rayyan had more difficult time than him because he had to shuffle between extremes so often. He couldn’t understand why his dad was upset many times because he had no clue. As a child it was tough for him to understand that people are affected by influencing words from others.
My final try was shifting to Byndoor in 2002, so that we could give our independent family a try. His both sisters were married, his brother was married and my husband did not have much responsibility. He took more than a year to come back. Yet, when we were waiting eagerly for him, he went out with his youngest brother to a hotel at 4 a.m., had his tea and breakfast. That convinced us, this will never change. Rayyan stopped expecting anything and moved on. On that term, he went away for almost three years because he was kind of relaxed that he had me under control in the village environment. Poor guy! This time period also created distance between us and I moved on as well not expecting much from this relationship.
Today I don’t respect the theory of traumatic childhood causes bad behaving adults. I have Rayyan as an example. Even though he went through all the suffering, disappointments, roller coaster rides and many other issues, he is fine. Others can be fine as well.
Finally the void between them went on growing and the bonding never became like the one between father and son. I feel sorry for both of them, because considering their lives, I feel they should have shared a better and happier relationship. I tried my best… but few things do not work out. There is no hatred in their hearts, nor do they have arguments or fights, but then that is because Rayyan cannot be provoked. I know that my husband loves both the children, but somehow he feels they are not like him at all. That upsets him. So he cannot bond with them. A big loss for everyone involved, including me.

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