My father lived an ordinary life, but he died an extraordinary man because of that. Being ambitious is not something that I learned from him. He didn’t teach me success mantras for life either, but the definition of success always intrigues me when I reflect back at his life. Yes, he led a successful and content life. He became an extraordinary man because of the simplicity of the life that he lived… He was not perfect, not the one without any vices, still he managed to touch many hearts during his lifetime. It is almost one and a half years since he left for his heavenly abode. The pain is still fresh, but when I look back today I realize that there are many life lessons that he taught me without saying a word. What I learned from my Father:
Being silent doesn’t mean that you are weak:
When tempers flare and we have our share of tantrums and rundowns, he would be silent. Often, we mistook that for his weakness. Now I realize it was his way of protecting precious relationships. Words cannot be taken back. You can say sorry, but the damage will be done. Something that we intentionally forget when we must win that bitter argument. My father chose to remain silent and patient when he felt that relationships are at stake. He valued them more than anything.
Forget and forgive:
When he passed away, we were overwhelmed by the goodwill of people who came to support us in our grief. Even estranged relatives and friends came in because he never kept grudges. Any argument, any misgivings were forgiven once the moment was over. He always believed that people are good at heart, that it is not really a big bad world out there. No matter how many setbacks he faced, he still firmly believed in that. The many bitter experiences that he had in life never succeeded in making him a skeptic.
Size of the gift doesn’t matter:
I don’t remember getting any big or expensive gifts from him . However, he would always have some small small surprises for us when he came visiting. Most often it would be some snacks for me or my daughter. No matter how much I try to make him understand that it is not good for her health, he would always buy something for her. It could be something as a simple as roasted peanuts, one of her favorites or some hot snacks from the small shop below our apartment. I used to watch grandfather and the little one relish the delicacies together in joyful comradeship. Those moments of happiness, surprise and delight are the biggest gifts that my father gave to my daughter. Really, it doesn’t take much to make a child happy. It is not the gift, but the happiness it brings in that matters.
It was a phase in my life where I was overworking and moving around like a zombie. My husband was travelling,and I had to handle work and stuff at home at the same time. I was irritable and would snap at the slightest provocation. He would watch me with pain in his eyes. Sometimes when he felt that I was in better mood, he would sit beside me and say ” Don’t get too tensed. Eat something, sit with your child.. Don’t worry , be happy..” I didn’t understand the meaning of those simple words when he was there with me. I was too preoccupied and obsessed with my work and when I understood the essence of those words, he was no longer around. Now when I feel that I am getting too carried away by stuff that really doesn’t matter, I remember his words and try to slow down, at least for a while..
My father taught me my biggest lesson the day he left this world. The day couldn’t have been any more ordinary. He was there when I got into my office bus uttering a barely audible “okay ” and a curt nod to him. I didn’t realize that it was going to be my final goodbye to him. I was too preoccupied with the things I had to finish off in that day. I was thinking about the much-anticipated vacation that was coming up. What I didn’t think was about my father who was standing there bidding me goodbye. Of course, he would always be there to take take care of nitty gritties of my life, or so I thought. He took an afternoon nap that day and never woke up from that sleep. We often take people around us for granted, our friends, and most often our parents. We live under false notions that they would always be around for us. The fact is, they won’t be. The day he left us, he taught me that.
I wallowed in repentance and sorrow for almost a year before I could make peace with the truth that somewhere I failed him as a daughter . Now I am trying to make amends by taking care of the person whom he loved the most in this world, my mother. When it comes to relationships, life may not give you second chances. My father is not with me now, but many a times I have felt his blessing during tougher times. He was and will always be one happy soul.
So here is wishing him a very Happy Father’s day..
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