My Father... your Father
“My father used to say...”
I have a love-hate-don't' know-don't care- back to care- back to love- now addicted to him and love ever after (early childhood- teens- post teens- marriage and ever after) relationship with my father. The hate period( shit! Hate...really? Ya:((((() started around teens and lingered on for a while till I became a mom. Phew! That’s long. He came from a village, a humble family background and made it to IIT and Tata Steel on his own. When people cover such vast expanse of distance, on their own, by the sweat of their brow and a will of titanium, they choose to sit and sleep on the floor with an I-phone in their hand. That’s the degree of their equilibrium. Adolescents will find it difficult to fathom the how and why of this equilibrium. Some would even mock and ridicule, rebel and shun. I do not blame them. Hormones are tricksters you see. Later, when you look backwards, that you get to connect the dots.
There is something magical and enigmatic about what our fathers’ spoke to us while washing the muddy wheels of a second-hand fiat car, buying those Bata slippers white and blue, planting the ever precious Tulsi plant, cleaning the refrigerator every Sunday and sitting with you and the Math homework. You despised him, his ever so pouring words and the endless commentary which he doled out at every given opportunity. Then it was GYAN. Today it is wisdom.... understood, utilized, lived, breathed, and passed on at every given opportunity to your child.
Dear Father's, watch the words you speak to your son, your daughter. Right now, they may seem aloof and distant. Later, these very words will turn into solid gold and they shall wear this gold with pride and affection. Do not fret if your children give a deaf ear to you now. Keep saying it. The soul is listening and the soul shall respond when the time comes. That time may come when the child falls or flies and your words will act as the only savior in both times. You see both failure and success are terrible masters but your father's words will always stand by you.
I savor every such conversation where the person reminisces about his father and utters those words with unfathomable earnestness and warmth. You may wonder what did my father teach me which I hold closest to my heart? Well, my father is just like yours and his words which I despised then are pillars of my strength and fortitude NOW. They reverberate within me, every time I stumble, sink in despair or knot up in a dilemma. Here they are.
· ON QUESTION AND ANSWERS
The questions you ask yourself are the most genuine and the answers you give to yourself are crucial, essential, and pressing. This consultation that you do with the mini-me has far-reaching ramification for your life. Rest what others ask and what you answer is sheer fritter.
· ON MONEY, PROMOTION &FAMILY
The promotion will come and go, my family will always stay. And he paid a price, a heavy one for being so. The corporate was too harsh and labeled him a family man. He was too earnest in his efforts to prove he is one...at any cost.
· ON BUYING AND MAINTAINING
When you buy, learn how to maintain it well. Consequently, my fridge shines like new, my second-hand car gets my personal attention every week. I can take it to the car wash and get it sparkling clean but sometimes I do not go that route. I make it a family bonding exercise just the way my father did when he would ask me to clean the muddy wheel with the water pipe coming down from the first-floor kitchen window and an old baniyan(vest) of daddy my washcloth. I hated it then? I love it now.
· ON SAVINGS AND HARD TIMES
Savings will save you in times when you need it. Work on your needs, for wants and desires are endless. A promotion, an increment is a joyous moment. It gives you that extra bit. You either save it for the rainy, windy, chilly day or you spend it all on newly acquired wants and desires...it's a choice which everyone gets to make. What did my dad get out his frugality? When he was laid off and did not get a job for years(for he was too broken), the money saved and preserved our dignity and needs.
· HUMILITY ALWAYS WORKS
If nothing else works, try HUMILITY...it will never disappoint you. To know that you are no wonder of the world to whom everybody should pay allegiance to, agree to, to know that your stay is temporary and so is your role. Life is perishable .... far too soon than you expect. To know that life goes on and so does the show...with you or without you and hence to remain rooted in this truth. It will save you from the damage done by the bluff and the fluff.
These and many more, I safely treasure them in my heart. And while’ I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep’, I shall live with these words till the dawn of the last breath. Fathers are precious. I love you Dad.