Yesterday, when our housemaid was about to leave after finishing her work, her umbrella broke. I tried to see if I could fix it. I fiddled around with the rods, and buttons and springs and the linkages and the unwieldy cloth on top for a while. Eventually, I found the matter to be more complex than I could handle, and meekly surrendered.
All this action had an audience in my son Vigyan who watched with rapt attention, repeatedly coming dangerously close to all the poky things coming out the broken umbrella and had to be shooed away. He was watching his dad try fixing an umbrella!
Eventually, I handed over the separate pieces to our housemaid begging her pardon and asking her to take them to an umbrella-maker. She left. And we were about get back to our own respective chores and forget all about the little incident when Vigyan did something that made sure that this little incident would stay forever etched in my mind.
I felt a pull on my shirt, and I saw an almost teary-eyed Vigyan looking up at me. I took him in my arms when he asked: 'Baba! I know you are very strong? Then why couldn't you fix the umbrella?'
It was just a matter of time. It had to happen. This painful experience is the destiny of every son and daughter to realise that his father is not the strongest person in the world but an ordinary mortal. That the father too fails and falters like everyone else.
While I hailed him with kisses and hugs, I told him that even strong people can't do everything. My own eyes welled up to imagine how many times Vigyan will be subjected to the excruciating experience of witnessing his father's weaknesses!