top of page



Mompy’s dad was a saint to the members of The Four Boys Club. Of course, when you’re 15 years old, sainthood has a different definition to the term. To the boys still a stone’s throw away from entering adulthood, Mompy’s dad was more than a saint. He was, as per the label the four of them had given him, The Cool Dad.

What made The Cool Dad cool was that he was easily impressed with his kid. Mompy passing his seventh grade with 60 percent in his finals was met with hi-fives and a dinner at Chili’s. When a slightly scared Mompy told The Cool Dad about his girlfriend, he met the news with pomp and fervour; something neither Bandem nor Shanky, part of The Four Boys Club, could ever dream of expecting from their fathers.

The Cool Dad had even built a tree house for the kids in the backyard to his house, a little room where the boys had loaded a small mattress, a couple of low height stools, and a table they had set up a stereo system on. It was the same place Mompy and Bandem were smoking in the other day; a fact Mompy’s father, a smoker himself, knew well but never raised an objection to. Not out of fear of being called out a hypocrite, but…

Well, because of his own guilt.

Mompy’s dad may have been a saint to the boys. But, as the saying goes, every saint has a past.

And so did he.

It was a past marked by loss, by grief, by… suffering. It was marked by nights that he spent thinking how he lost not one but two people in his life (one literally, the other almost so) and, had things not gone the way they did, how different his life could have been.

Only if he had not “been an adult.”

That is how he explained the night of the accident to Mompy after Mompy turned ten; and, when The Cool Dad felt, he was old enough to know the truth.

That is why The Cool Dad always emphasised to Mompy why the boy shouldn’t be in a hurry to grow up. When Mompy turned 14, and he asked if he could help out his dad at work during summer, The Cool Dad denied his request. Not because he thought the idea was ridiculous, but, as he told Mompy, “there was no reason to grow up too soon.”

“Take your time, Mompy,” The Cool Dad said. “Being an adult is no joke. Take it from me.”

Mompy sympathised with his father. Each time he saw his mother, who never was the same after the accident that killed Mompy’s unborn sibling, he was reminded what his dad had told him about that night.

There was nothing “cool” about The Cool Dad back then. He was a regular working-class Joe, who worked hard to earn a living for his family and was proud of what he had achieved in his life. And that meant he spent more time at work than at home; and, even when he was home, in his mind he was still at work. Mompy’s mother, a cheerful lady, didn’t mind her husband’s preoccupation with work. Did she wish her husband was more present mentally when he was home? Of course she did. But she saw it as them paying their dues; which, with time, would reap benefits both monetary and otherwise.

It was because of this preoccupation that he started working Saturdays, and then even Sundays. And it was this preoccupation that caused him to forget the brunch he had promised his pregnant wife and Mompy one Sunday. After they ate heartily at Nando’s and were returning, part of The Cool Dad’s mind fearing he would be late for the meeting he had set up for the same day (which was why he had forgotten about the lunch in the first place), he jumped a red light and sped through the intersection.

A truck coming from the right lane, which didn’t notice the car that had just violated the traffic signal, ran into it. The collision was incredible. Even though the truck driver punched the breaks, the truck didn’t come to a halt until half a kilometer; dragging the car, and the family of three in it, along with it.

Mompy’s unborn sibling was killed. Even though his mother recovered physically, she couldn’t emotionally escape the tragedy. Mompy, who was sitting on the other side where the truck collided with the car, got away miraculously with only a few scrapes and bruises; but, as a mere four year old boy, he wouldn’t remember it until his father would tell him about it years later.

Mompy’s father, however, had to bear the cross for the rest of his life. As a matter of fact, the “coolness” he adopted as a consequence of the accident, stemmed from the guilt he had to wear around himself like a cape that he couldn’t disrobe. That guilt is what made The Cool Dad cool.

None of the other members of The Four Boys Club, secretly envious of Mompy, learned the truth.

Well, who’s to say what they would have thought if they had?




Previous episode: The Day The Chill Dad Died

New episode: From The Outside

bottom of page