Thursday, February 07, 2013

Fatherhood


This January, I have entered into fatherhood with a baby girl joining my journey of life, whom I should guide to take her own path over the coming years. So, I have 2 girls coming into my life in less than a year, keeping me busy and happy :-) Over the last few days, many close relatives and friends around me are curious about how I would want the baby to grow up as. Half of the reason is my attitude and character whereas the main reason is the eccentric and special nature of my father - he is an atheist; he rarely attends functions; he is honest; he is knowledgeable. Every cousin’s parent in our extended family wants the kid to be brought up like Bhaskara Rao’s sons (me and my bro). We are the role models in education, marks, behavior and every other aspect. That does not mean we have never done any mischievous act. We enjoyed our childhood, we played all games, we once disappeared from home for a day. But, we were the “GOOD BOYS” in the household, family and colony. We turned out as good men. Now, when I look back, I find how my father carefully shaped our careers, made us reach success (read good education and job) in life and impacted our personalities, even without imposing or forcing anything. I had always thought to write about, but was lazy. Now, with me becoming a father I feel like writing this within the little time I have. The first thing I remember is not only he never raised his hand on us, but also never cursed, said a bad word or talked low of us. Never had we seen/heard him doing that to anyone. I never saw him lying to anyone. He stick to honesty in both his profession and personal life. Many old people visited our home to thank him for helping them get their pensions as part of his bank job. He always refused gifts from them. I know many incidents, where he refused to bribe the government employees, but still got the job done for our own house by fighting at various levels of authority, including CM office. I thought of writing that as a series during the hot times of Anna movement, but was lazy. Whatever moral values I try to follow, I got imbibed from him. As kids, we were unanimous choice for umpiring; that’s the amount of trust others had on us :-) He is an avid reader. He visited local libraries weekly and regularly went to Sunday book markets and book fairs. We tagged along. We used to lend books from the libraries. Along with the story books, he used to bring journals like THE SCIENCE REPORTER and Mathematics for you. That improved our language as well as reading speeds. We finished the complete children book section (hundreds of books) within 2 years. His thirst for knowledge is unmatching, which I posted in 2009. Right now, he is coding in PHP and Javascript - parsing online medical books and create a synopsis so that we, common men, can know various terminologies related to a disease and understand what a doctor says. He subscribed to Competitive Success Review in my Sixth; he was giving coaching to bank exams at that time. I used to compete with them in doing numerical ability and verbal problems –which enhanced my puzzle-solving and analytical ability. Sigh, those were the times, I was a Civils aspirant. He subscribed to THE OUTLOOK in my 9th, saying it was for the watch as the subscription gift to me. But, I knew that the gift was reading a good English magazine to improve my language as well as get know about national and international affairs. He never missed a chance to let us know the science and technical advancements. In 1988, when I was in 2nd, he took us to the bank to introduce computer and dot matrix printer. He took us to Medical College, while we were in school. In 1994, he showed me PaintBrush on a 4MB RAM PC. Around 2000-01, he showed me the operation of an ATM and how money is put into the machine. He bought a branded computer for INR 50K (his 4 month salary at the time) in 1999, when I had just written my plus-2 exams – only 2 of my Computer Science Engineering classmates in our town college had computers at home. He taught us chess when I was 7. He used to engage us in games like word-building and quiz, and the mathematics games. He used to take us along to super-markets while bringing groceries – to make us understand the finance and average middle class life. He took us to museums in various cities. I got my interest in THE HINDU crossword puzzle from him. There was not a single day, where he told us to study or do homework. He left it to us to choose our career paths. He gave us the options telling the pros and cons and let us make our decision. He always treated us as friends. He is an atheist, but he never forced it on us. Though, he made us try to understand rationality behind a faith/custom and to not blindly follow it. So, I emerged as that person who is neither theist nor atheist nor agnostic, but who is a “I believe God does not exist. But, I will neither make fun of somebody’s customs/beliefs or acts; talk against them; but I will not follow myself.” He lives simple, though ensures to groom himself well – wearing clean clothes (but not extravagant) and shaving every day. He enjoyed our academic success, complimented us, but ensured that we don’t become complacent. Once, I announced proudly to him that I came first in the class and the quick response was “Dog bites a man is not news, but a Man bites dog is.” He was not the average father who would think his job was only to earn thousands and lakhs, join the kid in a reputed school/college, pamper it with whatever it wants, and get the kid to become a successful (read as rich) person. He made us develop as good human beings with distinct personality.

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