Fatherhood isn't easy.
When my wife was expecting, most of my then-young, mostly unmarried friends would congratulate me and tell me how amazing it was likely to be.
Everyone was imagining the good stuff.
It was not unlike the thought of conquering Mount Everest. You think of the heroism involved, and the fame and fortune that will follow. In reality, it's falling to your death or freezing to death, that is more likely to be your destiny.
Meanwhile, friends who were already fathers by then would just smile. It was as if they held a secret and I wasn't ready to know. Very ominous. And then I had my first kid.
I was in.
I was IN the club. I was a dad. My fellow dad friends finally told me the secret. There isn't any. When you are a dad, there is no secret. You don't have time for secrets. Fathers don't have space. You are lucky if you have time to sit in the bathroom for more than five minutes without some tiny voice screaming about how they need to go to the toilet, RIGHT NOW!
It was tough learning tricks I never knew existed. Did you know that babies can and will always manage to throw up on you in the middle of the night? There is no escaping it unless you want to go to sleep in a yellow hazmat suit like Heisenberg.
Other tricks included sleeping with my legs hanging halfway off the bed because my one-year old son would take up seventy percent of the bed despite being only the size of a pillow.
Asian parents never leave their newborn in a cot. Leaving them to sleep in another room? What if the two year old gets attacked by a 'maamdo bhoot'? Even worse, what if the toddler logs onto Youtube and decides he too should become a motivational speaker in Bangladesh?
Most people learn about scary things by encountering it the first time around. You don't put your finger in the electrical socket a second time. You avoid 'elachi' in biriyani because the first time was terrible. You don't order Chillox burgers a second time because you are still searching for the first one among all the sauce they put in. You do not go to Mirpur on a rainy day. Or any other day. You suffer just once. My first kid taught me being a father is scary business. I learned my lesson. Once was enough.
So I had a second kid after about another seven years. A daughter. I thought I was prepared. I thought I could be like Rocky Balboa, fighting the good fight past the first round. Except now I worry even more because I have no idea what I am doing. I feel even more unprepared. Did you know there is no martial arts school in Bangladesh that teaches two-year old girls to dislocate the arm of a male assailant? Of course I looked. There are not enough Youtube videos on this either.
And that is fatherhood in a nutshell, you can never be prepared. There are no easy instructions, much like navigating Dhaka's Lalmatia area. Block D is almost beside Block C but right after Block F. Some houses are single digits, some hyphenated and some do not exist. If you want to find a house in Lalmatia, you stand in one place and cry loudly. Someone will come find you. That is what I do. And my wife shows up.
This goes out to all hopeless dads on Father's Day. You will live through this. Probably.