The epithets followed him all his life. “Don’t be a sissy” in school, and “Act like a man” all through thereafter. “Mama’s boy” to the girlfriend who left him, and also to the wife who stayed on.

Nurtured by a strong-willed mother, he resonated with women. But alas, he was a misfit in this macho world.

His daughter was upbraiding her fiancé over the phone, for something. He heard “Papa”, and then phrases like “sensitive” and “a real man” floated towards him.

Tears stung his eyes at the unexpected redemption, as the thorny tags attached to him dislodged and fell.

Ms. V Vaidehi writes short stories and memoirs of her travels in her blog titled “Weary feet…happy soul”. The blog address is V Vaidehi is based in New Delhi, India.