I Loved Her First

Father of the Bride…

A little while ago, I went through something I had pictured in my mind forever… walking down the aisle with my daughter!  Now those moments are over. Just like that. 25 years of imagination, over in 5 minutes. And yet for those few minutes, it felt like time had stood still.  With each step, my heart swelled with pride but my chest sank with heaviness. It’s like we were walking amongst everyone we love, yet were alone in the journey, which spanned her lifetime and half of mine. “You will cry buckets when I get married,” she had repeatedly warned me over the years. But today, she was quiet.  It was my turn to talk.  So, what did I say to her in those few steps?  Wait, first, let’s retrace steps all the way. 

I was amongst the first ones to welcome Mishu. She was as soft and as pretty as a doll can be. Then, while she was still a baby, I left for a long journey to America. By the time I returned, I was a stranger to her. Yet it took only a few moments for her to come back giggling, burping, and cuddling into my arms. And ever since, my role has been twirling around her little finger while Ritu’s has been parenting. From nurturing and raising Baby Mishu to making these arrangements for Bride Misha, it has all been Ritu. And all the silly stuff has been me.

Like when Mishu turned into a little princess, I would tuck her and Aneesh into bed every night.  The three of us would play a game where we would end up with a random animal each.  And then, I would weave a story around the selected animals. The kids thought I was a wizard.  Somewhere in those stories they grew up, and I don’t remember when those magical nights stopped. All I remember is  that somehow the roles reversed, and Mishu started narrating me stories about  a wizard named Harry Potter. She also danced, debated, acted, sang, and played the piano. From being a little girl against a pink pillow, gazing at her dad with wonder in her eyes, she was now in the midst of stage lights where many others gazed at her in wonder. One of them was Rushabh. Of course, I didn’t know about it then.

Then one fine day, she grew up a little more. The girl who held our family like glue moved to the other side of the planet for studies. Our home felt lonely.  We missed her, and she missed us, family, friends, and our dog, Lester. Then Lester died. Mishu was devastated. Rushabh saw his opening to reconnect, and that’s when I realized this was getting serious. “Are you in love?” I summoned Mishu. “Yes Papa,” she said nervously.  “In that case,” I told her, “Love is like breathing; never give up!” But, I knew that just being in love was not good enough. There is one thing more important than love, and I wanted to see that one thing for myself.  And I saw it soon… in Rushabh’s eyes… the softness and the kindness with which he gazed at Mishu.

I finally asked Mishu to reconfirm “Does he give you peace?” “Yes, Papa… When I am with him, I am myself; there is no baggage”. And I knew my daughter had made the right decision. For fairy tales unfold where two things co-exist; one is love, and the other, peace. And I have seen that marvel in their relationship—where both of them have continued to maintain their strong identity – one headed for Harvard, one for MIT – and yet their hearts beat as one. Their bonding is infectious – the way Rushabh’s parents pamper and dote upon Mishu like the apple of their eyes. And when did I realize Rushabh is family? When fights started breaking out for a slot, as most family board games have an upper cap of 4 players! His frequent barging into our bedroom, no different than Aneesh’s. Including once at midnight when he charged in, to ask our permission for our daughter’s hand and then scheme with us to plan a surprise proposal for Mishu.

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And today, we saw the closure of that proposal as I walked down the precious piece of my heart to merge with the precious piece of her heart.  Mishu was clear – only Dad would walk me down the aisle. This straight walk was her most important turning point in life, and I wanted to gift her something befitting. So, what did I say to Mishu? Well, I told her a story after a long time. Except this time, I was not kissing her goodnight but more like bidding her a good life.  I reminded her about an incident. I had to get the kids dressed for bed before our story time because Ritu was running late from her dental practice that day. As we were getting dressed, I came up with the brilliant idea of throwing the clothes on the ceiling fan. Once all of them were up, I turned on the fan. The fan wobbled wildly, and the clothes went flying around. And at that exact moment, Ritu chose to make her grand entry. What followed was hiding, screaming, laughing, panic, as Ritu just stood there in horror watching her half-naked family under the wobbling fan that looked so ready to crash.

Those were priceless moments, I refreshed Mishu’s memory. Just like the wobbling fan hurling stuff around, family life wobbles too. Things often fall out of place, but that doesn’t mean we need to dilute our zest and the love that binds families. There is nothing more meaningful than meaningless laughter with those who make you complete, even if that completeness feels like emptiness when you reach the end of the road.  How I wish the walk to the wedding altar was a little longer!

It’s incredibly tough to let go of someone who once giggled, burped, and cuddled in your arms.  But that’s no reason for a bucket of tears. For today is also the dawn of a wonderful era, one marked with the gift of an amazing son, uniting of two families, and blessings of so many beautiful hearts. Hopefully, in a few years from now, my magical storytelling nights and Ritu’s nurturing skills will make a comeback. And such lovely dreams are to be celebrated with dance, not tears. So, Rushabh, I am going to make you wait for your first dance just a little longer. Do you know why? Because I loved her first!



Daughter, Original, Purpose

53 Comments

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  1. This is so touching ❤️❤️❤️

  2. Wish Misha and Rushabh a blessed life together..

  3. Many Congratulations 💓

  4. Wish Misha and Rushabh a healthy life ahead.

    As usual, I read full article without blinking my eyes even once. I loved the way you narrate the story. Thank you Arun for this post.

  5. Such a heart warming story Arun. My daughter’s name is Mishka and we too call her Mishu with love. She being our only child, I can only imagine what we will be going through as parents when she gets married, or even goes for further studies for that matter.

    Here’s wishing all the very best to the newly married couple Misha and Rushabh, god bless them abundantly.

  6. Wishing Misha and Rushabh a beautiful life ahead. God bless you.

  7. This is so beautifully written. 💖Congratulations to the entire family!

  8. so emotional & touchy!!! One just can’t better this write up for this occasion from heart of a father for her daughter, Kudos to Arun sir!!!
    Wish Misha & Rushabh a very happy married life ahead!!!

  9. May Misha & Rushabh’s marriage be filled with all the right ingredients: a heap of love, a dash of humor, a touch of romance, and a spoonful of understanding. Congratulations! ( Aamin)

  10. so emotional & touchy! One just can’t better this write up from heart of a father to his daughter on this occasion, Kudos to Arun sir!!!
    Wishing Misha & Rushabh a very happy married life ahead!!!

  11. Wishing Misha and Rushabh a beautiful life ahead. God bless you.

  12. Wishing Misha and Rushabh a beautiful life ahead. God bless you both of you .

  13. Best wishes to couple.

  14. Many Congratulations Arun & Ritu ! Nicely put together all the memories. Having a daughter is like a life, full of blessings

  15. So beautifully expressed.. Dad’s are the first love always for their daughters.. very touching.. Love to Lester, wherever he is now.. Wishing Misha and Rushabh a beautiful life ahead!!

  16. Beautiful blog indeed. I really loved the question you asked Arun- Does he give you peace?…
    Beautiful wishes for a beautiful couple.

  17. Felt like Chetan Bhagat novel stories….just Amazing 🙂

  18. Hi Arun,
    First off, many congratulations.
    This one was different, nonetheless, equally captivating like all the others.

    I am sure that this will touch everyone who has a daughter who is either just about to be married off, or is a toddler. The story of all the dads are finally same.

    And then… you danced with her.

    JK

  19. Beautiful narration as always! Wishing the newly weds all the happiness..

  20. Wish Misha and Rushabh a blessed life together..

  21. You know what I felt ….your heart… a father’s heart came out and spoke itself…. God bless….

  22. Arun I wish every girl has a father like you. Every girls life would be wonderful. Many many wishes to Misha the confident yet kind hearted girl. She is as protective of you as you are of her. May god keep you all safe and happy.

  23. Heartiest Congratulations ❤❤❤❤

  24. A heartfelt post expressed beautifully! Congratulations Mishu and Rushabh!

  25. Dear Arun ji,

    First of all best wishes for ever happy marriage life of couple.

    Narration is excellent and I too have a daughter and having same feeling what you expressed. My heart is Not able to accept that in near future she will not be living with us physically… very emotional moment for any father on planet….

    Must appreciate for selection of words and phrases to express emotions.

    Thanks.

  26. Touchy…. I was recalling the moments I spent with my daughter since her birth and imagining the time to come …

    Wishing Misha and Rushabh a lifetime of love, peace and happiness!! Many congratulations!!!

  27. Heart touching ! True… Dad is Daughter’s first hero. Wishing Misha and Rushabh a lifetime of love and happiness.

  28. Congratulations and Best Wishes to the entire Family !!

  29. hi Arun, Beautifully narrated and touching for every father having a girl child. Hearty congratulations and many wishes to Misha and Rushabh for a happy life ahead

  30. Such great writing just want to continue reading.

  31. Touching post congratulations
    May God bless dear daughter with happiness

  32. Wish Misha and Rushabh very happy married life. Beautiful expressed heart of parents, child and every individual during such wonderful phase of life

  33. Beautifully written Arun
    How can one not have tears
    Congratulations to the entire family

  34. Heartiest congratulations 💐

  35. Heartiest Congratulations Arun and Ritu; and Wishing Misha and Rushabh a happiest togetherness.

  36. Beautiful Arun !! May the years ahead for the newly weds be filled with everlasting love and happiness …

  37. God bless the newly wedded couple! Truly heart touching narration!

  38. Made my eyes well up. Congratulations to Misha,Rushab,Ritu and Arun, may god bless you with happy and healthy life.

  39. Penned so beautifully!! Dads are the best of all the gifts a daughter recieves in her entire lifetime. This refreshed my own D day a year back with almost a 100% resemblence.

    Wishing both Misha & Rushabh, a great and fun journey ahead!

  40. Arun.
    This is overwhelming and at the same time heartrending . A beautiful tale about Daddy and his little girl. May misha and Rushabh live a life filled with laughter and precious times.

  41. This is so beautiful …

  42. Very heart touching narration. Congratulations to Misha and Rushabh.

  43. Such a wonderful emotional experience you have shared.

  44. Beautifully narrated the reality. Hearty congratulations and many wishes to Misha and Rushabh for a happy life ahead!

  45. So Brilliantly written & emotions beautifully captured … as always Arun!!! 👌🏽👌🏽👌🏽

  46. Wishing Misha and Rushabh a lifetime full of happiness and love.
    Hearty Congratulations Arun and Ritu.

  47. Very Beautifully expressed the reality. Congratulations to Misha , Rushabh and to the entire Family !!

  48. Wonderful!! As a daughter, I also see the same relation with my father. So touching.
    Congratulations!!! Wish you all the very best Misha and Rushabh for future life 🙂 🙂

  49. Beautifully expressed..!!! A bond so pure
    Wishing a world Happiness and Health for Misha and Rushabh and both the families

  50. This is amazing story, The most important part in this story was Love and Peace.

  51. Wishing Misha and Rushabh a beautiful life ahead. God bless you both of you…..

  52. The words from Dad’s heart, Beautiful Story, actually its Feeling that came as story.

    Wishing Misha and Rushabh Great Life Ahead

  53. We can feel your emotions in this article,you put everything and for every father who had that dream

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I Loved Her First | Arun Nathani Blog