This goes back a few years, when I was in high school. My school was customarily gonna celebrate 15th of August the next day. (For those who are not well-versed, it's celebrated as the Independence Day in India). Being one of the school secretaries, I was to give an introductory speech on the occasion. It was already 10:45 pm and I had no clue about what I was gonna say. As usual I was too lazy to think of something the entire day. And it was ofcourse too late now to do something about that! (Yes, by now you must have figured that I was an absolute procrastinator, too lazy for my own good, and wasn't even sorry about it! Teenagers huh?!? Well, not much has changed since then, only I do feel guilty about it, by the end of the day). Anyways, like always, I turned to my One and Only,my Anchor, my Champion..my Dad!!
Now this part was a bit tricky. Coz you see, he loved me a lot, me being the only daughter, he really didn't have much of an option. But he was the type of father who encouraged (read that..forced) you to do things on your own first, and helped only when he realized that you're genuinely sinking and not just crying wolf! "Learn from your own mistakes! Donot be dependent on anyone! Not even us!" He'd say. "I know Dad! But please, this last time, I promise! (hah!!)" He gave me this I'm-your-father-hence-I-know-better look,"Honey, you are making this a habit. I'm not always gonna be there, doing every little thing for you, just because you've been too lazy all day! What have you been doing all day anyways?". I took a deep breath,"Dad,I'm really out of time here. And I have a pathetic headache since evening. You were gonna come home late, even mom's out so I had to fix something for dinner." I could see his face softening,"Oh right. Sorry I had a last minute meeting. You should've told me, we could've gone out. So.. what's this speech about? Go get a pen and paper." Yes! And that's the way aha-aha! I like it!
I grabbed whatever I could find nearby, and bounced on the sofa next to him,"Ok..So basically I have to give a short introductory speech. Introducing the chief guest, you know, present him more interestingly, trail of compliments here and there, say a little about our school and what we've been..." He kind of gave me a funny look,"Present him more interestingly?? You mean, the fact that he's been called as the chief guest does not make him interesting enough?" I rolled my eyes dramatically,"Dont go all gittery on me! Teachers havent told me who the chief guest is yet, so I obviously have to make up something." He just stared at me,"Cant believe your making me write a bloody speech leave alone "make up" compliments for someone". "Language Pa. All I'm asking you is to dictate it." I put on my award-winning smile,"Real easy! Get on with it!" He groaned while I grinned and we got on with it! After about 20 minutes, I was ready with the speech. He embarrassingly made me practice it out loud too many times for my likes. But hey! I wasnt in a position to complain right? After everything was set, I finally called Dad for dinner. I braced myself. He looked around at the food I'd placed.
I tried a chirpy tone,"Yea, it's your favourite!"
"I thought you said you had to fix something for dinner?"
"Well yea, I did. I fixed it by ordering from a take out."
I sat there smugly, and Pa laughed out loud.
It was the 15th of August, the entire school had already assembled, I was mentally rehearsing my speech. The chief guest was due any minute and I'd have to go up the podium and my teachers had yet not bothered to give me his name. I'd started feeling the butterflies in my stomach and I was getting a bit agitated. I had asked one of the passing teachers, but she gave me this incredulous look and walked away. Now that time was running out, I got hold of another professor and asked her," Ma'am, I still dont have the name of the chief guest." She looked at me exasperated,"Beta, now is not the time to kid around! Look! He's here..Go..GO!!" I was so damn confused and tensed, I couldnt figure what the hell was going on. My last thought was, Shit! The next 10 mins are gonna go right there at the top of my most-embarrassing moments. I said to myself, Ok breathe! It's just a stupid speech that no one's even gonna listen to. You can do this! All you have to do is introduce the chief guest..only avoid his name. Shit! All jelly inside I started with my speech.
"A very good morning to all of you. I humbly welcome our honourable chief guest Mr..." Damn! Now why did I have to say that! I glanced around all dazed and trapped... and then I saw him. Sitting there all glorified and all smug. I have no clue how long I stood there speechless (probably just 3 seconds...but it felt like a lifetime). And I laughed out loud. Yes, on the podium, infront of the entire school, the teachers, the parents...I just stood there and laughed. There, with all the finesse in the world, sat my Dad. I could feel my principal's glare behind my back. So I gathered myself and continued..."Mr Subir Sen." My Dad smiled, a small nod and gave me a slow motioned wink. So basically, I recited a speech for him that he'd written...apparently for himself.
Love you Pa..
Happy Father's Day : )