I've always been a daddy's girl. Until not very long ago, my mom was just my mom. But for as long as I can remember, my dad has always been much more. He's my friend, my teacher, my rock.
He is my hero.
Not because of what he has achieved, although it is a lot to be proud of. A boy who grew up in a small village in Kerala and studied up to class 10 in a Malayalam medium school. Who would run barefoot to school, and return to take the buffalos out to graze. Whose family thought he had arrived in life when he got a job as a lecturer in a rural college. Who dreamed of being more, quit and financed his higher education (and supported his family) through hard-won scholarships. Who is today, a published author and respected professor at one of the finest institutes in the country.
Not because he is an enlightened, involved husband and father, and was one even at a time when it was considered infra dig for a Mallu man to help the wife out in the kitchen or deal with the kids' night time tantrums and other messy tasks involved in child-rearing.
Not because he is the most fair-minded person I know. Or because I can talk to him about anything - anything at all - without fear of judgement or recrimination. I know he will always tell me the truth, even if it is unpleasant.
Not because of his fierce integrity, the courage to live by his principles, and his straightforward honesty. Not even because of his warm heart and generous soul.
Not because of the fact that despite his achievements, he is always striving to be better - both professionally and personally. Last year he asked me for feedback on his parenting approach. He wanted to know if I wished he had done anything differently. I cannot begin to describe how touched and amazed I am by that gesture.
Yes, all of this makes my father an amazing person. It makes me strive every day to be more like him, but that is not why he's my hero.
He is my hero and always will be, simply because he's my Dadda.
Happy Father's Day, Dadda!