My Father’s Daughter

Everybody tells me I look like my father
The eyes, the nose, the cut of my face
Everything is the same as him.
And when I was young I used to be so glad,
That I didn’t look like my mother–
Pale and skinny, dark circles underneath her eyes
Tired and unhappy and scolding me
For eating too much chocolate and chips.
Because I’m my father’s daughter
His eyes, his nose, his smile;
I’m my father’s daughter
That’s what everybody said.

I look at my friends, sharing their childhood photos
With their parents.
I search for mine through the old photo albums:
There I am with my father, grandfather, grandmother, uncle, everyone;
Everyone, but not my mother.
She’s nowhere in the photos,
Not holding me, feeding me, bathing me–
I’m confused.
Because I’m my father’s daughter
His eyes, his attitude, his temper
There’s no doubt,
But I’m also my mother’s–
Something that everybody forgot.

The first time somebody told me
That my voice sounds exactly like my mother’s
I almost wept with joy.
I still spend hours in front of the bathroom mirror
Looking at my reflection
Trying to find any feature–
The lips, the cheeks, the chin
Anything to match my mother’s.
Because I’m my father’s daughter
There’s no doubt
But sometimes I wish I had a single part of me
Which would look like my mum.

Everyone tells me I’m just like my father
The looks, the attitude and the temper
The way I handle things as an adult
Is the same way he does all the time.
Sometimes I wonder how it would be
To be like my mother:
Someone who sacrificed everything
Just to make sure her daughter
Doesn’t have any complaints.
Who bore the brunt of judging eyes and questioning voices
Tolerated every insults and cared for a family
That never truly appreciated her, silently.
But I’m my father’s daughter
His looks, his attitude, his temper
And they don’t know how much it hurts
To not have anything like one’s mother.

Everyone tells me I’m just like my father
And they tell my mother she’s so lucky
To have a daughter who fights for her.
But what they don’t know, the truth,
That I wouldn’t know what fighting is
If I hadn’t seen my mother
Fight relentlessly for me to have a good life.
Yes, I’m my father’s daughter
My looks, my attitude, my temper;
But I learnt to stand my ground
And argue for what’s right and wrong
Only from my mother
And that’s what makes me the proudest.

Debolina Motilal is a recently graduated student from Calcutta University, who is pursuing CA Inter and still trying to understand how to adult.

Featured Image: J W/Unsplash