FRIEND, MENTOR, CONFIDANTE
As I grow older (and wiser too I hope), the more deeply I understand the privilege of having a father I can describe in those very three words so wholeheartedly.
In my childhood, my father (whom my brothers and I affectionately call “Thathi”, the Sinhalese term for ‘father’.) was always jetting across the globe; for about 22 days of the month. Having a pocket of undisturbed quality time with Thathi was rare but I recall those dips in the pool with his three kids, or the warm baths he’d draw for us despite his crazy schedule; these memories will always be etched in my heart.
Despite those gestures, as a child, my missing him and wishing he were around more outweighed his actions. Back then, I couldn’t understand; now that I’m more involved in the family business I see just how much weight he’d had to carry all those years. And he has always done so with such grace, integrity and humility.
A MAN OF FEW WORDS & SINCERE ACTION
One of my favourite recollections of his “love in action” was returning home from work after texting him about having a terrible migraine to a room that smelt like a lavender field. To my great surprise, my mum smiled and told me that Thathi mopped my room with lavender oil in hopes that it would soothe my headache. It was one of the sweetest and might I say, most creative gestures I’ve ever been gifted.
During our last trip to Sri Lanka, after a red eye flight, instead of showering and diving into bed like mum and I, he went to my brother's room to get it all nice and cosy for him, knowing he would arrive shortly after. I remember peeking down the hall to find him making my brother's bed, getting the lighting just right and switching on the aircon and muji scent diffuser so he would have a lovely welcome home and a good rest.
Those are just two examples of how his actions speak volumes, of how he’s always watching out for us, even when we don’t know it. That’s my dad, Thoughtful Thathi. And of the many traits of his that I admire, thoughtfulness is perhaps the one I keep closest to heart as it reminds me that love is beautiful in all its forms; it may not always be easy to show it, or to have others understand your love language, but a thoughtful heart always strives to make you feel loved, anyway.
Happy Father’s Day, to mine, and to yours; to grandfathers, and uncles; to the mentors who guide us; to the heroes who strive to raise gentlemen and strong women, and the dads-to-be that one day will. May you know how much of a difference you make.