“Is Amma also not coming for the Kabini trip?” my daughter asked half confused and half relieved.
My college friend had come to visit us in Bangalore with his only daughter Yaal. They live in US. Her mother couldn’t come with them since she had to go back to Dallas, where they currently live.
“Aunty, are you sure you want us to go alone with our dads?” Yaal asked, little worried.
“Don’t worry Yaal. We will take good care of you two” I said.
“Appa, that is not what she is worried about. We are scared that we, two eleven and twelve-year olds, are suddenly responsible for our balding fathers” my daughter Ananya quipped.
“I will stay here with grandpa and grandma. You both make sure these two behave well” my wife said with all seriousness. “if they don’t listen to you, please call me from one of their phones.”.
Both were very excited as we started our six-hour long ride to the jungle resort. With no one to discipline them, they wanted to enjoy every minute of the trip.
But, thirty minutes into the ride, the topic turned to their mothers.
“You know, my mother is particular about cleanliness. Once she took us to IHOP and asked for two glasses of hot water. I was little surprised since I didn’t have any cold, but she took all our spoons and forks and dipped them in the hot water before we could use them”.
“But, does your mother ask you to clean every inch of the table with wet wipes before you can rest your hand to eat the food”, said Ananya.
Now the giggles had started.
“You bet. With the amount of money we have spent on wet wipes, tissues and hand sanitizer, we could have bought a whole village” Yaal said as she pointed to the sanitizer packed in the car’s side bag.
“My dad travelled almost every month to US on job and every time one of his suitcases had nothing but bounty paper towels on the way back” my daughter revealed my business trip secrets.
“Once when we finished grocery shopping, my mother noticed a band-aid on the guy who was packing our bags. She came home and made me wash the vegetables twice. Even after that, they ended up in the garbage”.
By now, the giggles had turned to laughter and my friend and I were both were obviously enjoying this.
“My mom makes me wash bananas we buy from the road side shops” my daughter who probably has done this once in her “long life” complained.
“Really? Beat this… my mom once sanitized the chart paper we picked up for our school project” Yaal said “that was bought in Michaels” – just so that Ananya understood it was not picked from a roadside shop.
This went on for almost an hour. We reached our resort and got two rooms. Both the girls immediately decided not to share their rooms with their dads.
I am sure both their mothers gave them the instructions.
“Appa… can you bring my luggage into our room?” my daughter asked in the sweetest voice she always uses when she wants something from me.
“Yes Appa… mine too” Yaal followed, even more politely.
Dads with single daughter are slaves for ever. That is an eternal truth.
As we entered the rooms, Yaal suddenly screamed.
“Uncle… what are you doing. Please leave your dirty slippers outside”.
We put the luggage down and I wanted to rest a bit. So, I proceeded to sit on their bed.
“Appa! Get off our bed! You sat in the restaurant. Take a shower and change!”
I could visualize their mothers, miles away from us, grinning with pride.
P.S. There was this lone tusker which came very close to our jeep during the jungle safari ride. Two brave dads risked their lives to protect their little daughters from this raging animal.
But this story was more interesting than the lone tusker.