Thursday, June 14, 2007


This guy, he will turn 60 next month. I called him up 11:30 PM my time. I needed my birth certificate for filing my I-485. I was worried because I believed that I had lost my birth certificate at birth. I was wondering if, by any chance, he had a copy.

I don't have it here with me in Bangalore, he said, where he currently lives with my mom, helping to take care of my baby nephew while my sister tries to make the world a better and more utilitarian place for cellphone users. But I am sure there's a copy lying around somewhere back in the old homestead in Pune, he said.

I see, I replied, do you know someone who would be willing to break into the old homestead, steal the damn thing and mail it to me? Do any of our neighbors back in Pune have a history of criminal behavior?

We don't need any criminals, son, said the old man, I will go get your birth certificate for you, when do you need it?

I have a month to file the I-485, I said. Anything within that time frame would be fine.

By the way, Pune is about 12 hours from Bangalore by road, I think. It could be more, depending upon how many farmers decide to thresh their crops by leaving them on the highway and waiting for vehicles to run them over.

You will have it within the next couple of weeks, said the old man. Don't worry. Do you want me to send you some money along with the birth certificate?

Dad, I don't need money, I am working now and have been working for the past seven years.

(By the way, thanks for sending me the 1500 dollars five years ago when I was laid off, they saved my life.)

Are you sure?

Yes, I was sure. This time.

Fast forward 18 hours. I got a call from my dad.

"Do you want the birth certificate, school leaving certificate, nationality certificate or domicile certificate or all of the above? I have them all in front of me."

What? How? Where are you?

I caught the next bus to Pune, said the old man. Do you want me to mail them to you, scan and email them to you or both? Wait, don't bother, I will do both.

Now bear in mind, it is 4:30 AM dad time and dad has just stepped off the Bangalore-Pune bus. At 4:30 AM dad time, dad is on the phone, describing to me the scannability of various 20 and 30 year old documents, based upon their relative raggedness.

Fast forward one hour. I have my birth certificate in my inbox. And it's not even been a day since the last hair was torn off my scalp in a fit of birth-certificateless frenzy.

When I am 60, I hope to have at least half the energy and vitality as does my dad.

Also dad, I love you. You are the man.


ggop said...

Awww...this warmed my heart. I had a similar story for my birth cert. since there was no name. My folks had to rush and notarize a doc stating my name or some such thing.

Its Father's Day on Sunday right?

Jason said...

I hope your Dad reads your blog :-)

On a serious note, whats with the guys in their 20s and 30s.. The dads of most of my peers are active and full of energy, and the youngsters are the lazy farts.. I hope things change for our own good.. Wonder if there is such a thing called premature senility...

Ren0 said...

awesome words dere :)

but dont u think that we guys lack the courage to say thanks .. its not dat we take him for granted .. but the words just dont come out ... u no .. instead they come out in places like this :)

my daddy did the same thing .. i had to leave for japan in a 2 days ... within the next 20 hrs he travels all the way from goa to mumbai .. just to get those silly certificates :(

wht shall i say ...


J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Feels great, dunnit?

The down-side - I don't know why, but when I manage to do something for my parents, it never seems enough.


Anonymous said...

BTW, it's 14-16 hours, not 12 hours. He left at 3 pm Bangalore time and reached at 4:30 am. I'm trying to book a return flight for him inspite of his protestations, since he had just reached Bangalore from Pune a couple of days ago. You were just a couple of days too late with the request :-(
- MK

Raj said...

Dear God,

I hope that when I am 60, I won't have to handle requests from son/daughter that will require me to travel 14 hours in a bus, to search for a copy of his/her birth certificate.

And, when I am 55, I hope I won't be saddled with an expense of 1500 dollars.



Anonymous said...

awww.. that's so so nice of him.. maybe you could give him a surprise by landing at his doorstep one fine day - unannounced :)..(this unannounced trend runs in our khandaan :P)

Anonymous said...

Amazing energy !

Btw, celebrating the end of retrogression and beginning of the wait for EAD ?

Vee Cee said...

When I am 60, I hope to have at least half the energy and vitality as does my dad.

Also dad, I love you. You are the man.

Amen, brother!!

Anonymous said...

Heart warming. And is MK your sister?

Kimberly El-Sadek said...

Your dad is awesome! Make sure you actually tell him that tomorrow :)

Anil P said...

That was a different generation whose stride were longer than its tongue.

rads said...

aw. That was such an aw post.

When I am 60, I hope to have at least half the energy and vitality as does my dad.


rads said...

Ok, in my own defense, I truly truly meant that and the comment was very original. After posting that went back and read the other comments..


Jo said...

Lovely post...

zambezi said...

you actually have feelings, recognize them and applaud them. Good post by the way. are you alive? whats happening? i am in ann arbor at my in laws.

gawker said...

Thank you all for the comments.

ggop : Thanks for reminding me. Although I am not a big fan of these artificial days of celebration, this year I did call up my dad just to thank him.

jason : I think technology has made the current generation (including me) softer and less-equipped to deal with life. But on the brighter side, our sons will probably be lazier than us so we might still get some respect.

samuel : "its not dat we take him for granted .. but the words just dont come out"

I agree. I think this is the first time I called my dad up and thanked him for something. I shall do it more often now just to make up for all the times I didn't thank him in the past.

JAP : I know what you mean. As I grow older, I feel there's a lot more I should be doing for them. I guess calling them up more often would be a good start in my case.

M : What to do, the US govt just came out with the visa bulletin, if it had happened a couple of days earlier, I would have called him up when he was in Pune itself. And good job getting him to fly back.

raj : You should get a pet.

fairy : Thanks, and that's an excellent idea.

bongo : Let's hope I get everything done before the damn thing retrogresses again.

vee cee : Thanks.

MG : Thanks, yes she is.

lumi : Thanks, and yes, I did.

anil : That's a good way of putting it.

rads : Thanks.

jo : Thanks

zambezi : yes, I am indeed human as you noted, with human feelings. I am alive and nothing is happening and I am happy for your in-laws.

RobRoy said...

I had almost given up on you to ever update again. I came back after uttering many prayers to gods great and small and sacrificing a couple of virgins . . . not literal sacrificing of course. That would be a waste.

A very nice peice to come back to.

gawker said...

robroy : Thanks, yes, I have been lax in my responsibilities as chronicler of my chronicles. I think it was one of the medium sized Gods that forced me to write again as well as the perceived mass extinction of figurative virgins, by which I am assuming you were referring to Madonna.

Sunshine : Who is to know what dads will do and what they won't..It's all a mystery.

Sujatha Bagal said...

That was a wonderful post. Hats off to your dad.

Anonymous said...

Lovely post. Your dad is really sweet. You should have at least offered him a flight ticket to Pune and back.

zambezi said...

did you even think of flying him back as anjali said? useless fellow.

gawker said...

sujatha : Thank you, yes, he amazes me sometimes.

anjali : I did actually. In fact I even offered to fly him in to Pune.

zambezi : You shouldn't call someone useless until you've heard their side of the argument, you know.

Anonymous said...

Did you see this one:

Looks like our dad was still pretty lucky to find your birth certificate at home!


gawker said...

M : I know, which is why I basically panicked about the birth certificate and called him right away to see if he had it.

Anonymous said...

are you waiting for your dad to turn 60 to write your next post?;-)

Anonymous said...

Very touching and I-can-relate-to-it piece of writing....

This could as well be my dad! Man, dads do rock in their own understated way and yeah, I wish I have half his energy too when I become as old.

Super post. Has he read this?

Cee Kay said...

A heartwarming post! Your dad sure rocks!! I had to ask my dad to do something similar a few years back when we were filing our I-485. I guess all of us are in the same boat - missing birth certificates, form submission deadlines, panic attacks, SOS calls to India...


Anonymous said...

Finally. All for nothing huh? Its tough dealing with the mixed bag of feelings this time around. Sigh.

Anonymous said...

good one....but talking of premature senility, guess u cud have checked with the indian high commission there....they sure wud give u a birth certificate based on ur passport for a fee..:)
btw first time here !!!

Anonymous said...


Came here by chance. This post brought tears to my eyes. My dad is no more but I am sure have would have done the same in similar circumstances.

Keep writing....

Neeraj said...

This is a supremely beautiful post. I sent this to my Dad who does exactly this kind of thing: running around for me and saving my life.

Wonderful post.

Shakti_Shetty said...


Anonymous said...

touched :)

akshara said...

Heh. The only thing funnier (and heart-warming) than your post was your sister's reaction. Nice to know all brothers are the same.

Sameer said...

Absolutely GREAT read. I can safely second that at 60 - any of our generation won't be able to get out of bed, forget scanning n mailing irrelevant documents to our children ! However by that time, there's a good chance that scanning and emailing will be a matter of mind over computers !

Anonymous said...

Touching. Makes us realize how much we owe to our Dad. :)