Home For the Culture Dear Dad: A Daughter’s Open Letter to her Father

Dear Dad: A Daughter’s Open Letter to her Father

by Out and About Mag.

Dear Dad,

How are you doing? I am finally at the point where I can reply to your messages, so here it goes. I'm doing fine with my life. I grew into a fine and hardworking mother. By the grace of the Almighty, I'm blessed with a wonderful six-year-old boy and married to a very supportive man who is a doctor in Abu Dhabi. When I got married, my heart ached, and sadness crept into my soul: the religious rituals that you needed to perform were there, but you're not.

Dear Dad

You missed so much in my life, so I want to tell you some of the stories I have. I want you to know that I've been interested in fashion and the performing arts since childhood. Mum wanted me to become a doctor but I had different interests. Since I personally experienced the psychological impact of living without a father, it was my dream to ease children's pain brought about by parental separation, helping them perform better in their lives—so I took Psychology as my career path. I also studied Applied Behavioural Analysis Training in the Applied Behavioural Institute Dubai. I had the privilege of meeting people in need, especially children with separated parents and challenged with other social issues. 


I volunteered in the Special Olympics that was held here in the UAE, and I met people of determination. Knowing the challenges in their daily lives led me to decide to specialise in making adaptive clothes for them. They are the most neglected group when it comes to fashion choices. I believe that how you dress can also boost and improve one’s mood levels. 


I designed my own clothes, and I wore them to different functions and got a lot of attention. My friends always advise me to showcase my designs at exhibitions. I always dreamt of you looking at my designs and appreciating my hard work and efforts. I collaborated with Dream Design for Disabilities in Dubai Modest Fashion Week 2019. I've also been invited to many international colleges and universities to meet students of fashion and technology. I have added a programme in my designing project with the goal of providing more information about adaptive clothing for the next generation of designers called "Mission Make My Style Accessible". I want to contribute to the growing society in whatever small way I can. I was able to achieve things, and I'm hoping that at one point, maybe not now but someday, that you'll be proud of me.  


You left us when I was a toddler, but mum raised us so well. She helped me achieve what I have today. She tried her best to be a mother and father at the same time. She continued her own education even in those trying times and worked so hard to give us better lives. She also gained the position of being the only female designated as Scouts and Guides Commissioner of her state. Aren't you happy for her?


Mum had to work quite a lot, but grandma was also there by my side. I learned to raise an alarm if somebody tried to take advantage of me, thanks to her. I remember this one time: I was on a bus with my friend, and a man tried to touch her. I saw my friend's helpless expression on her face. I fought back on her behalf and made him pay for his actions. That incident made me realise that we might have to fight our own battles. Dad, if you were there, you would protect me, right?


When I was a child, the most significant impact of your absence was missing you each day. As I grew up, I realised that it is very much more than that. The challenges and hardships I met were difficult to overcome, but looking at Mum who taught me to deal with situations bravely, I learned to look at the positive side of things which made me stronger each day.

I was lucky enough to have a loving uncle to stand by my side and helped me with my school cards. I was supposed to have you during those times, but sadly, it was impossible. I left my grandmother's house when I was 20 years old. I stayed in metropolitan cities to experience hostel life, which taught me how to lead my life independently. 


My ultimate goal is to become the voice of the voiceless and help people in need with my professional experience and personal way of living life. I'm pursuing it and I'm happy to announce that my dream project is about to happen soon where I'm the one who will direct the film, write the story and script, and also act.


I thank the UAE government for providing a platform for talented people and giving me a chance to be a member of the Twofour54 Creative Lab, a media organisation in Abu Dhabi. I'm able to nurture my passion for film directing and continuously learn about film direction. 


My vision as a film director is to paint the cinema with real stories, instead of fictional ones, stories that create wrong impressions, or send wrong messages. London hosts some of the most exciting, eclectic and ambitious film festivals in the world, so I’m in talks with a London-based film director to present my film in different international film festivals which take place throughout the year in the capital.


Thank you, Dad, for making me learn poetry. I experienced so much pain because of being apart from you, so I kept a diary. Unknowingly, you made me into a writer. I want to share with you these lines from one of my poems:

That childhood is lost

So is he

Why is still my heart

Is searching him

In words

Isn't he mentioned

O Father of mine


I decided to put these words in the teaser for the film I'm currently working on: Father, a short film about a fatherless daughter. It's my own story and I want to share it with the world. I aim to spread awareness about children suffering from parental separation, and to help them overcome mental health issues like anxiety and depression. As a fashion designer, I see it fit to showcase my artistry in this film as well. I will wear modified vintage dresses and antique jewellery in the film, owing to my close relationship with my grandmother who I  admire for her way of dressing with the traditional outfits of Kashmir Valley. 


There was a time when somebody literally told me that I don’t have a father to love me. That’s not true, right, Dad? I may not understand why you left us. Your decision gave us a hard life, and if I didn't have a lot of support from good people around me, it could have been worse. The tears and struggles I experienced that were meant to be shared with you made me a strong and positive person. 


I was supposed to thank you and Mum for raising me and giving me life, but you're not here.


I was supposed to share my happiness and success with you, but you're not here.


Behind those grudges, sadness and pain, I still wish for you to be in good health. Someday, somewhere, a reason may dawn on me on why you turned your back on us that may ease my aching heart and soul.


Take care, Dad.


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