A really sick baby girl, born underweight. Suspected hole in the heart. With double diarrhea. Chances of her survival — very bleak. Some older relatives sulk for a second girl child has been born in the family. But he didn’t care. The ailing child sleeps on his chest deriving strength from his love. She survives. He quietly supports her every step of the way not letting the patriarchal society dictate how he should feel about his children. Both his daughters are brought up on par with his son.
“He believed he could and so he did!”
He was a naughty kid. He preferred climbing trees and picking guavas in the hot UP sun much to the chagrin of his mother. Even at a very young age, he was headstrong. He lived in a large joint family in a small village of UP. His mother passed away when he was just 14. That was a watershed event in his life. A brilliant student he moved away from his village into the cities of UP. He juggled from one hostel to another; his connect with his family all but lost. His thirst for knowledge egged him on. He qualified for Indian Civil Services in both the IPS (Indian Police Services) and IRS (Indian Revenue Services) while he was pursuing Law after having done his Masters in Maths. An erudite man; he had a passion for reading and writing. 74 years old now, he still reads passionately and works professionally, his mind sharp as ever. His quest for knowledge unfulfilled!
“Seek and you shall find!”
After choosing the Indian Revenue Service, he began a career in the Income Tax Department. A career that had its own ups and downs but was sterling and decorated. He stood up to challenges, temptations and roadblocks with rare integrity and gumption. He never brought his work home. He fought his battles alone with quiet dignity. The family never realized why they had to put up with frequent transfers. It was part of life for the children to be uprooted from school during the middle of the session. A man of few words; his children imbibed from his life. His fairness and democratic nature was a precursor of carrying out things at home!
“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion.” Franz Kafka
He married as per his father’s wishes. The match was one perfectly balanced. The wife was devoted and an excellent homemaker. The children learned as they moved from place to place, culture to culture. The wife fell sick. First afflicted with a skin ailment, stroke at 40 and later liver failure due to medication reaction. He nursed her when she was sick and bedridden. His prime years at a top government position, but he had no social life. He stood by her stoically, always by her side, his love and devotion never spoken of aloud but always amply demonstrated in his actions. He was there when she breathed her last, left shattered and vulnerable by the loss of a devoted life partner, a woman who had helped him build his life and family.
“For better or worse… In sickness and in health, till death do us apart!”
When the daughters got married, he had only one lesson for them. Build your home and new relationships but never compromise on your self-esteem! You are and will always be mine.
A man of stature, intelligence and morality, he can be always relied upon to show the unbiased path. He is the pillar of strength that his children, now adults, lean on and look up to. He is the one his children derive their strength and moral character from.
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” — Mae West
This man, my papa, is my hero; he is turning 74. A fitness and health aficionado, he still actively works 6 days a week. He leads an independent life and loves traveling.
When you have a person like this in your life, you never have to look far for role models. He is and always will be my role model. I am truly blessed to be born his daughter. That single event changed the course of my life. Yes, I was that sickly infant whom even the doctors had given up hope on.
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