Readers Write In #344: My dad and Anthony Hopkins

Posted on March 10, 2021

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(by Macaulay Perapulla)

BR shared this wonderful interview with Anthony Hopkins (https://www.newyorker.com/culture/the-new-yorker-interview/anthony-hopkins-remembers-it-all) and I misted up, reading it. I couldn’t stop thinking about my dad.

He is in his “last leaf” years, waiting to leave the world. Despairing everything in his universe, he is unable to break the shell he has sternly made for himself: “Everything I have done amounts to nothing. There is nothing to look forward to. I want to leave.”

There are few days when he tells me about his plans to jump off the terrace. There are few other days when he tells me about his plans to head straight to the Marina beach.

In his stronger years, he was irascible like Anthony Hopkins. His hard exterior disguised the feelings he felt for his loved ones. The only way he knew to show love was through anger. We had duels of volcanic outbursts in our living rooms. It was more often, I suspect, a game to find out who could get more angrier. I surrendered abjectly whenever he hit me hard with a belt. That was the only way he knew to hark back to those times when he was disciplined by his stentorian father.

These days, he cries a lot. When he sees his grandson cry out of petulance. When he sees his favourite Lord Ram on screen. When he remembers being a compounder to his dad who deftly juggled homeopathy with a job in railways.

In his early days, he lost his father and had to scramble his way through. He worked hard as a stenograph, typing letters that were dictated by his boss. He hated everything about his office. Especially his colleagues who played cards at his office.

Soon, he became an entrepreneur in my eighth grade. offering computerized accounting services using Tally software. There was a time whenever someone asked for the double initials before his name. His canned response was always prompt: “Table King”.