Dear Appa,

For as long as I can remember, you have been my best friend, my biggest supporter, and the person who I look up to the most. Ever since I was little, you have encouraged me to be the best person I could possibly be. Anytime I had a problem, I knew that I could always come to you for help.

There are so many things that I admire about you and make me proud to be your daughter. A lot of people think that desi fathers are scary and domineering, but you are the complete opposite. I'm sure there were times when I made you want to tear your hair out, like when I totaled your car. But you were always so forgiving and understanding.

You have raised me to be a strong and ambitious individual, and I cannot thank you enough for that. Most South Asian fathers are expected to keep their daughters at home with their mothers, but you have always encouraged me to go out and explore the world. From teaching me to use public transportation and persuading me to get my first job, you taught me how to be self-reliant.

It is from you that I have inherited my love of traveling and discovering the world around me. I have learned from you how important it is to be aware of everything that goes on in the world and to constantly be open to learning new things.

I know that it isn't easy for you, an Indian immigrant, to be raising three children in the United States, but I just wanted to thank you for understanding our struggle in navigating cultures and traditions. You never tried to push a certain career or lifestyle path on me, but instead, you instilled in me that whatever I chose to do, I should try my best.

This year, you lost your own father, my Thatha, and I could see how much his death broke you. In spite of the pain, you made sure to constantly make sure that everyone else in our family was being taken care of, and you became the pillar of strength in our family at that time. I know Thatha was proud to have you as his son and I am proud to have you as my father.

Thank you for always being willing to put up with me when I'm being extremely stubborn or moody. Thank you for always being fair and listening to my side before making a decision on anything. Thank you for constantly encouraging me to improve myself. But most of all, thank you for always standing up for me and being my hero. I know that I don't tell you this enough times, but I love you.

Your daughter,

Janine