Thursday, June 09, 2005

Like father, like daughter

Took the last few days off work to keep my father company as he accompanied my mother -- on a conference -- to London.

Poor man bore the full brunt of my bossy, short-tempered and easily-bored nature as I dragged him from one museum to the next in South Kensington: the photographic exhibit of Robert Scott's final expedition to the Antarctic at the Royal Geographical Society; the space, mathematics and computing exhibits plus the breathtaking Space Station 3D IMAX movie at the Science Museum; and the haunting Face to Face photography display of ape portraits at the Natural History Museum.

He got his bossy, short-tempered, easily-bored revenge yesterday, though, when he forced me to sit in Borders bookstore all morning helping him work through the exercises for the word processing course he is taking, and then dragged me all over Soho, where he used to work, to see his old haunts and murmuring -- sometimes appreciatively, sometimes sadly -- "London has changed, London has changed". [Update: when I called them just now to check whether they had arrived back to their home safely, my father took umbrage at me describing him dragging me around Soho: "But whenever I said, 'Go left', you turned right. Whenever I said 'Go right', you turned left!" The story of our relationship, I think.**]

In the evenings, my mother joined us and the three of us indulged in our love (craving, addiction, obsession) for food: a Chinese all-you-can eat buffet in the industrial wastelands of Park Royal, where my parents were staying; South Indian vegetarian at Ravi Shankar near Euston; and Turkish/Lebanese kebabs and tabbouleh at Shish in Bayswater.

In all, a lovely time was had. Though we have our familial ups and downs and each one of us are stubborn as hell, we're lucky to get on so well.


** A few instances when my father said "Turn left" and I turned right:

  • When I decided to study social science A levels rather than science. My father didn't talk to me for six weeks.

  • When I decided to take two consecutive gap years between my undergraduate and graduate degrees: one working as a checkout clerk in Sainsbury's supermarket, the other teaching high school in India.

  • When I turned my back on an academic career in favour of new media.

  • When he realised I have never dated a Bengali (not even an Indian) and may very well never marry one.

  • When he reads on Planethalder that I've been out all night again.

But he never fails to say "I'm proud of you", at least three or four times a week.

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