My dad has optimism down to a science. Sometimes it blinds him from reality but those instances are few and far between. Plus you have 6.9 billion other people in the world to give you that reality check. You know the book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living? If Dale Carnegie were alive he would love my dad because dad lives that book through his 4 thoroughly annotated editions and the numerous quotes xeroxed into his brain. You’re having a hard day? He’s the first person you should call. His advice is practical, loving and will always make you the center of everything. He’ll have some muhavra (idiom), pertinent old Bollywood song or some random quote from “insert best selling self-help author from the 70s”. After you’ve forgotten to call him for a week, he will sound ecstatic to hear your voice and in the meanwhile, he will have come up with some brand new endearing nickname. And before you hang up, you’ll even be told that you are the most amazing princess in the world and for a split second in a world that constantly tells you otherwise, you might believe him because he is just so earnest.
If you enjoy spirituality, he will encourage every facet of that journey. If you sing a Kirtan, he will be proudly singing along and smiling in the corner, iPad whipped out, ready to record the whole thing so he can show it to mom and listen to it when you’re not around. He’ll talk to you about your philosophical stands as an equal, critiquing and solidifying your stance. Where mum can make you feel her loneliness through her repeated “I miss you”, it glimmers in dad’s eyes, the one time he breaks and cries and tells you he will miss you but quickly pulls it together because his culture is very different from your culture and he has to be the role model of his favorite Gita verse 18.54:
na socati na kanksati
samah sarvesu bhutesu
mad-bhaktim labhate param
“One who is thus transcendentally situated at once realizes the Supreme Brahman. He never laments nor desires to have anything; he is equally disposed to every living entity. In that state he attains pure devotional service unto Me.