For people who like to make things

If you’re a parent, you’ve either been through this, or will soon: At some point you stop being known by the neighbors by your own name, and start being identified by your kids’ names. You become “Adam’s Dad” or “Sarah’s Mom.”

I love that. Once they’re old enough to understand this, I tell my kids that they’re the most important “project” in my life. They’re what I leave behind, the validation of my existence. It is inevitable, then, that I will be known as “Maazin’s Dad” (or Muneeb’s or Noor’s or Naadir’s). It’s my responsibility to try to raise them so that’s a compliment, but eventually it’s their call. They get to define me. I suppose that’s the definition of love, isn’t it? Making yourself vulnerable to the other person.

I really like the way the Arab culture codifies this. When a child is born, the father is known as “Abu-so-and-so”, and the mother as “Umm-so-and-so,” “Father of so-and-so” and “Mother of so-and-so,” respectively. It’s called the kunya. We don’t have a corresponding term in the Indian culture, but this is one Arabism I’ll definitely adopt.

See you tomorrow.

This is the 25th of my 30 days posts.

© 2022 Aijaz Ansari
The Joy of Hack by Aijaz Ansari is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
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