17th of September was a day of celebration in our house. When my sister and I asked my mother why was it important to us; she would say because it’s our grandfather’s birthday. For almost 15 years I lived a lie. I am 26 now but I still remember that day so vividly when my father finally gave in and told us the secret that he had kept under wraps for so many years. I wasn’t his first daughter and my mother wasn’t his first wife.
I was shocked; my entire world came shattering down but seeing the tears in my father’s eyes, I just knew he has been living in a lot of pain all his life. I wanted to hear his story.
My father had a wife before my mother and they had a daughter together. His ex wife was a dance teacher and they were deeply in love or so it seemed. When my father was offered a job in Mumbai, he let his wife stay back and continue working because that’s what she wanted to do. They wrote letters to each other.
Everything was flowery and beautiful until one day my father found out that she was having an extramarital affair. His life fell apart as he got a divorce from the love of his life and and lost the custody of his little daughter in that process as well.
My mother came into his life in 1989. It was an arranged marriage; my father’s uncle chose my mom and my maternal grandfather agreed because my father had a stable job. My mother was from a small town and moving to Mumbai was a big step for her.
If the pain of leaving her parents house and moving to a completely alien place wasn’t enough, she was shunned by her relatives for marrying a divorcee while my father dealt with his sorrows in complete silence.
It was only when I was born that my parents fell in love with each other. My father always wanted a daughter. He told me his story and I sat there listening with nothing to say. We have never discussed it again but I secretly hate that day, 17th of September, because it caused both my parents so much pain.
I am 26 now and my father wants me to get married; I don’t want to because it will be impossible for me to find a man like my father. He has treated me with so much love and kindness all my life.
I can never understand the pain he went through all these years and I never had the guts to ask him if he misses his other daughter but I wish she never comes back. I wish she is reading this and understands that we don’t want her in our lives.