Smruthi Krishnan
5 min readMay 21, 2021



(Tamil, Father )

First words are important, for every child and more so for every parent.

For most of us, our first words are usually ma, mumma, amma, mummy.

But my very first word was Appa – my father, my superman, my everything.

When kids cry, they call for their moms, I however called for my dad.


My Appa is like most fathers. Yet still he is not like most fathers. He is a simple man with a simple life and simple wants and needs. Yet, he is super difficult to comprehend. It perplexes me. He’s the sweetest man on earth but that one death stare means all hell will break loose. He’s super outgoing but he’s actually an introvert. That doesn’t even make sense, but that’s just how he is. Like me, he hates majority people and things. He hates festivals - diwali, holi, uttrayan, you name it, amongst all the smiling faces you can spot that one SADU, making a face at everything and everyone around him. He acts like a total miser but secretly splurges money on all of us, but himself.

Like every other father, he’s told us his 'Jab mai chota tha' story 'n' number of times, like Appa we GET IT. He sings, a lot. Like a lot, even when it annoys us to the core. I have seen him smile so much while singing his voice doesn’t annoy me anymore. Maybe he enjoys annoying us more than he enjoys singing. These are just few of his weird quirks, quirks we’ve grown so used to all these years. His loud sneezes, constant sniffing and coughing even when he is perfectly healthy and his dreaded cold war with dust, without them the house feels empty.

Ma always tells me, I was the bestest thing in Appa’s life. I was his whole damn world. And he was mine. Amma was just third wheeling us for the first five years of my life. There are so many stories about Appa and me in the past, that I sometimes can’t process they happened in the same lifetime.

She tells me, that I used to wait all day for him to come home from office. I used to scream at the top of my lungs when I heard the sound of his bike, and run towards him with my tiny toddler legs, as fast as they could carry me and he used to take me for a spin. It was the best part of my day. The cool breeze, the rush and my Appa. Now the bike’s gone, and along with it all those memories.

When we would come back home, he would change and we would sit under the stars and talk and talk and talk till fell asleep in his arms.

Today, I don’t remember the last time we sat together and talked for more than 15 minutes, before one of us got annoyed and walked away.

Back then I was a very weak kid. The hospital was practically my second home. He couldn’t bear to see me get injected and would never leave my side all the times I got admitted in the hospital. For all the needles that pierced my wrist, punched holes in his heart that bled for me. That is probably why in spite of weeks of silence, if I’m even remotely not well, he bombards me with calls and texts.

As I grew up, things changed. We got distant. I don’t understand how or why, it just happened. We talked less and argued more.

And then we just talked lesser and lesser. And then it was radio silence.

Often the silence echoed in our hearts, but as they say – Like father like daughter. We both had too much pride to break the deafening silence.

Gifts and cards turned into awkward messages on WhatsApp, conversations turned into disagreement, and somewhere along we grew apart.

I sometimes feel jealous of my friends who have such a normal relationship with their Dads, like I had that too and now its just a weird relationship filled with two-syllable sentences and a million awkward moments and not-so-funny-personal-attack jokes. Appa preaches that “Expectations are the cause of all miseries”, but he doesn’t practice it himself. He has so many expectations from me and I tend to break most of them.

But he’s my support system, he might not show it every time but I know everything he has and still does for me. The first time I realised this was when I moved to Delhi. Before they left, we had this weird 'okay bye Appa' moment. I was his not-so-little-anymore girl left all alone in a new city. And for the first time in years, we failed to show love when we wanted to.

The first morning without me in the house, he texted me "I took out 4 glasses today then I realised you aren’t here. Miss you."

Never in 100 years did I imagine him to text me that. Fathers are underrated. They might be weird, distant, annoyingly frustrating, but they love us more than we think they do. They are complex creatures; you can’t really decipher them. They pretend to put up a strong forte but are puddle of love within, and they find secret ways to show all of this love. You just have to read between the lines.

So now I write long messages for him on his birthdays and father’s days only to make him feel all the more awkward and weird. Plus, it annoys him to the core when we celebrate his birthdays and Father’s Day.

And it’s fun. I try showing him how much he means to me in little hidden ways. He’s a smart man, he picks up on hints faster than Sherlock.

I guess I just want him to know how I feel. That maybe we have grown up and apart but somewhere deep inside it’s still the same. Years later when I’m 40, I don’t want to regret that I didn’t tell him what he meant to me when I still had the time and chance.

First words are very important.

To every child and to every parent.

And I’m so glad, mine was Appa.



Smruthi Krishnan

Economics Major. Aspiring Journalist. I write poems, sometimes.