Those times, those moments when someone teaches us that next trick of surviving life, those are the crucial stepping stones of one's life.
We are fortunate if we have someone or the other in those days who plays a decisive roles as our mentors, our teachers, our guides. Such influence can lead us either ways - to the path of doom if it is not constructive, or, to the path of enlightenment and glory if it is a positive influence. This course setting, securing the sails of our life in early stages is important, for well begun is half done.
I consider myself lucky to have such a positive influence early in my life. My grand-father, or "Baba" as I used to call him. Ever since I got a bit of consciousness of the world, I saw him around me. I was the first kid in a joint family. And my Baba used to dote me. I am told that I was a good kid, who was easily handled. I feel now that it was because my Baba taught me values early on. I used to go around places with him, asking innumerable questions. And he patiently used to answer.
I was home schooled for early years by him, I learned Algebra before I learned counting (figuratively speaking of-course)! When it was time to find a school for me, it was a very different routine. Instead of my folks choosing a school, it was my Baba who took me to various schools and showed me around. And thus I chose my school myself!
There are many such small things which though sound infinitesimally small, yet show how focused he was in ensuring that I learn the ways of life on my own. He knew that lessons learnt this way last forever. He created such opportunities for me to be myself, yet, kept an eye on me from the periphery lest I need a helping hand. I guess that was the reason he used to wait outside my school for hours - after forcing me to get inside. He knew that I had to learn being on my own in school, yet he was always there should I needed him.
These small decisions I believe are the true enablers. I guess, with these little things, Baba planted the seed of self-reliance in me. As the proverb goes, he taught me how to fish, rather than fishing for me.
He made sure that I catch the drift of self-reliance, that I live my life on my terms, that I take decisions, small or big - and that I own up my decisions, that I live my life "apne dum pe..."
Thank you Baba, I probably cannot fathom how you did what you did, but I know you are the one who set my sails right. I wish you could see that you were right! And I wish, I could do the same to my daughter!
I miss you Baba.
Thank you HDFC Life Insurance for this creating this opportunity to remember him, and thanking him! It is very difficult to sum up what I feel, but this ad from HDFC Life Insurance which talks about teaching your loved ones - "Jeena apne dum pe!" captures it well -