My phone rings as we sit down for dinner. I had kept it for charging about 100 yards away from the dining table. Toyna runs to grab it before I can even get up from my chair. She quickly hands it over to me, worried that it will get cut before we can answer it. As I open the cover to see who the caller is, she looks straight in my eyes and asks, “Papa?”
I am leaving for work, I pick up my laptop bag and handbag; wish everyone good bye and step out the door to wear my shoes. Yog runs forward through the open door calling out to me, “Mama…. Papa.” With that, he extends his hand towards me to hand me something that I had forgotten to pick up – my phone.
So you see, we don’t call my phone just a phone in my house. We call it “Papa”. Here is the story of how my phone got its new name.
Given the continuous travel that Pavan has to go through, the children are used to seeing their Dad more often on the phone than in person. Each time that I get a call at home, I have to answer two inquisitive souls whether it is their Dad on the line and whether they can talk first. For them the phone is the only connection to someone they love so dearly. Toyna still understands that it is a phone and is used by Papa to connect with us. But for the two year old Yog, it is not a phone. It is the physical body of Papa with his soul residing inside that metal body. So he literally calls the phone Papa.
I am honestly quite surprised with the bond that they share with Pavan. When the business changed direction and the travel increased so dramatically, I was quite resigned to the fact that the children would not be able to connect with their Dad as much as we had hoped for. Toyna has still spent a good amount of years with Pavan, but little Yog has hardly spent any time with his Dad. When he was too young, people used to joke whether he even recognizes his Dad or not. To be honest, I used to also worry that he might develop stranger anxiety around Pavan. I am really relieved that all my fears were completely unfounded. Not only does Yog remember Pavan very well, he adores Pavan just like a two year old would adore his Dad.
I could give credit to the metal Papa for keeping us all connected, no matter the physical distance or I can thank the Papa made up of flesh and blood for somehow having the connection at the deepest level with his children. Sometimes I feel that it is unfair that I have to toil day and night, finish homework, meals, school projects and picnics to be able to build that kind of connection. On the other hand, Pavan doesn’t need to do any of that and still maintain that connection with his sweethearts.
Whatever it might be, I am not complaining about the arrangement. And yes, I am still looking for a new Papa. I cannot afford to have an inefficient Papa become the reason behind a poor connection with the childrens’ Papa.