Dad’s birthday is coming and I was wondering what I should gift him? But then I recalled this gift I’d given him as a kid which I believe is something he’ll forever cherish. It certainly is something my family cherishes forever.
As a kid, my dad used to hang out a lot with his friends. They had a crib in Jyatha, a place close to Thamel where I’d often end up after school. I’d be watching action reality shows such as Fear Factor and Who Dares Wins on tape or playing uncle Yoshida’s Gameboy Color in the Japanese uncle’s apartment. Dad and his friends would be playing Mahjong, drinking beer or strong coffee, smoking cigarettes and a bamboo hookah while I’d be stuffing myself with unlimited Japanese candy. In a way, I liked his company even though it was dangerous because there used to be an actual handgun in the room which was so heavy I couldn’t carry even by using both hands (it did not have the magazine and no one ever got shot). So well, I’m just giving you a gist of what it was like.
The other hangout was this place called Hot Pot, a restaurant in Thamel. Dad and co. would often go there and gig on a normal night. But I don’t think dad went there after a while because I remember that most of the time, the ground floor of my house used to my dad’s pack of wolves’ favourite domain. They’d come to my house and bring me Chicken Crackers and Frooti. I’d munch on the snacks and play computer games (Mario, GTA2, Outlaw, Jedi Night, Road Rash, Timon and Pumba …) while the company would have their good time. Mom used to be upset about his dad’s friends hanging out while I was in the room because there were often times when uncles would bring tobacco and roll on paper, and smoke till the tobacco ran out. In fact, my mom hated that dad was smoking while I was in the room but it went on for quite some time; years, I mean.
So one day I’m at school and my teachers tell me that smoking is bad. Though I did not know how bad, I knew that my dad had a bad habit. Because he was my dad, I thought he was Superman and he could do nothing wrong, but I realised that I had to make him kick his habit (probably because mom was angry about it too). One day after school, I took out my GK book which had two small pictures of a no smoking sign and posted it in the room my dad and his friends would hang out. I did it impulsively without thinking too much on his birthday. I don’t remember his expression or what he told me or exactly when he stopped smoking but I know that things changed after that. He did quit smoking. After a while, he limited on his drinking and now he’s straight edge (drinks rarely though. I think. Don’t remember the last time he held beer). When I was a kid, he was a chain smoker who smoked way too much and I can only remember it in flashes because now it’s been way too long (at least 15 years) since I last saw him take one. Perhaps it’s because he was able to get rid of this habits that I could kick out a lot of my bad habits.
Dad’s always been an inspiration and he’s taught me so many things which make me different. Maybe I didn’t inherit the electric, table tennis or cooking skills that he has, but, well, I think it’s not the blueprint but the recipe of working things out that I’ve inherited. He’s the most awesome person I know and I’m proud that I have the most awesome dad.
P.S. Happy birthday pops.