Today is my father’s sixteenth death anniversary. Being the eldest daughter, I have always been very close to him. He was my first teacher. He taught me my first alphabets, my first Sanskrit and Telugu Shloka*, my first English rhyme… the firsts are so many; the list can simply go on and on.
More important than these are the life lessons that he taught me, not through his words, but through his actions. Today on his death anniversary, I cannot but reflect on these lessons that I learnt from him in my formative years. These played a key role in whatever I achieved in life till date.
There is no substitute to hard work – My father was a man of humble beginning. Whatever he achieved in life, it was through sheer hard work. He would not waste a single minute of his waking hour. He would constantly be engaged in some productive work or other.
Do your duty, results will follow – He was the eldest son in a large family. His father had retired. Like many other Indian middle-class family in ‘60s and ‘70s, he took over the responsibility of educating his younger siblings, getting his sisters married off, so on and so forth. He did not stop at his immediate family; his support was there for the extended family as well. I recently attended a family wedding where a lot of his siblings and extended family were present. And after so many years, they still talked about him, what he did for them at different points of time in life and how he helped them grow. It was amazing to see the legacy he left behind.
Teach, take the lamp of education to as many as you can – My father was a good teacher and he enjoyed teaching. I have seen him teach so many children across age groups. He would return home after full day’s work. But would never let his tiredness come in the way of his teaching.
Make books your best friend – I rarely ever saw my father without a book in his hand. He encouraged me to read all the classics at a very early age. And I am so glad he instilled the habit of reading early in life.
Don’t let your current situation or challenges stop you from dreaming big – Your beginnings may be humble, your goal may seem unachievable, the obstacles may seem insurmountable, but never ever stop dreaming. He taught me to dream big, and steadily walk towards the dream kindled by energy, hard work, honesty and positive spirit.
Though I cherish all that I learnt from my dear father, the last learning is very close to my heart! It has helped me in the past, I am confident it would stand in good stead in years to come.