Once upon a time I got my father a bottle of cheap scotch. He liked it. The end.
But really, this has very little to do with the cheap scotch or my unhealthy hankering for his approval. No, no. No sir. Growing up, I had my fair share of tussles with him. I was a fat kid who loved her cake and ate it too ( and his, and hers, and oh, never mind). He was a strict disciplinarian who played Scrooge with the soda pops and the Dairy Milk bars. He never gave me piggyback rides, he honestly would’ve snapped in half. 50 points to Gryffindor for pragmatism. I never grew up listening to the impending machismo of some nancy pants white knight. Instead, he taught me to hardwire appliances, fix a leaky cistern, and regaled me with tales of the Normandy landing, the crumbling of the Berlin wall, and how Hitler made the trains on time. Conversely, the biggest favour he did to me was never to refer to me as ‘a son’ if, on rare occasions, I did manage to please him somewhat. Bengali parents – they expect you to have a brain, if nothing else, as robust as a Spartan warrior.
A lot of my childhood was spent quaking in my shoes in his presence. Conversely, majority of my adulthood involves bellyaching laughter when he’s around(and some quaking, but the segue was smooth). When I turned 18, he mixed my first drink, and then we took a wonderful backlit photo of the amber ambrosia because photography is awesome, yo. Two years later, I scrunched up my savings and bought a bottle of Vat 69 over the counter amidst stares and sniggers. We toasted the illustrious villains from 70s Bollywood films who had a particular affinity for this drink (to Prem Chopra’s chest hair and Ajit’s darrling!), and drank the first peg while watching The Godfather. It was an offer I couldn’t refuse.