10 life lessons I learnt from my father


Image Courtesy: Parentous.com
Image Courtesy: Parentous.com

In honor of Father’s Day which was celebrated last week, parentous.com had requested its readers to comment on life lessons that they learnt from their dads. We don’t really celebrate father’s day.. Why, I even forgot to wish my dad because I was too occupied with my young so. It was my dad who reminded me with his usual sense of humor that I had not wished him for the occasion. Well, the day might have passed, but this is the way I choose to wish and honor my hero.

My daddy strongest!! This is perhaps the best catch line that would apply for my dad. Never the one to be bogged down by anything I have witnessed him stand up to the worst of what life has had to offer, look at the monster in the eye and just blow the said monster away…easier said than done and he had mom for company 🙂 Wish, I have the same stamina. I kind of doubt it, considering I get bogged down very easily. When this happens, I just think of my dad or speak to him and within few minutes I think anything is possible….And it is a great honor to share with the world, some of the lessons that I have learnt from him. In no particular order, here they are:

  1. Read – I have always loved books. When I was young, my dad invested in a monthly supply of lifetime books (expensive at that time)for me to read. Some of those books I read with great interest and some just sat on the shelves. However it was the discovery of dad’s box of books that triggered my reading habits. I still remember the day I stumbled upon that old, musty and tattered iron suitcase filled with books. My world had become larger in an instant with the discovery of PG Wodehouse, Bram Stoker, Sheldon and other authors. Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” was the first book I read from that box and I remember being transported to Transylvania almost immediately. I had discovered the magic of books and my eyes opened up to a whole new world than the one that I was used to…With great pride I tell those who care to hear that my dad and me read the Harry Potter series together and exchanged notes on the subject and this was in my 20’s 🙂

  2. Eat the local cuisine when you travel – My dad was always a big proponent of doing this! “Forget the idlis and dosas” he said. “You will get plenty of those right here at home. Try the local cuisine” he insisted and being daddies little girl I complied. Even when I travelled to places that hardly had any vegetarian food, I persisted and found something vegetarian to eat. This introduced me to newer cuisines as my taste buds discovered cheese, basil, artisan bread and crepes! More importantly it opened my mind and heart to newer worlds and cultures. Today, I can survive any where without giving up on my vegetarian habits….To enjoy good food is a blessing from God, but I have to thank my dad for insisting I save my “thayir sadam” a.k.a curd rice for when I am at home

  3. Learn another language – When everyone at school signed up to study the local language as a part of the curriculum, my dad insisted that I study Hindi. “You never know when it can help” he said. My mom did not know the language well and it was up to him to help me with my homework which he did until my mom caught up with us. Thanks to him, mom and I can watch and enjoy Hindi cinema. Learning the language ensured that I wouldn’t be too lost if I left good ole “Madras” and opened my mind to the idea of languages so much so that I signed up to study French in my 8th grade making my experience of the world of the French a beautiful one.

  4. Pets are family – An animal lover, he has passed on the genes to me. We have had dogs, parrots, squirrels, fish and cats grace our lives. When I was young he always insisted that domestic animals be treated with respect, love and kindness as they are a part of the family. Growing up with animals taught me how to be responsible and how to care for another living being

  5. Be curious. Try new things – My dad was always the one to try something new (if he could afford it). For e.g. thanks to him, we were the first in the family to use a washing machine, something that I am sure my mom was glad about. He introduced us to the “pizza” with his home made version with onions, tomato ketchup and amul cheese when pizza or pizza hut was unheard of in the mid / late 80’s…Then came the rice cookers, lemon teas, musicals  and more. This tendency to try everything at least once before we decided whether we loved it or not made us more open to thoughts and ideas…something that I am sad to say is still unheard of these days. Thanks to this habit, I am glad I can eat almost all fruits and vegetables and won’t hesitate immediately even when I hear the most funniest idea or meet someone different.

  6. Value your independence – My parents never chained me with unnecessary rules and regulations that some of my friends had to put up with while growing up. I was allowed to wear western clothes, heels, go to friends houses and cycle the streets with my friends. But I always had to adhere to the time curfews and let them know where I was at all times…this continued pretty much even when I started working. By letting me be, they had ensured that I wouldn’t want to rebel unnecessarily and treat the freedom that was given to me with responsibility. I understood that not many had the advantage that I did and cherished the freedom and the independence that came with it.

  7. Do no harm, but take no Bull Shit – This is the way my dad lives his life and it seems to have rubbed off on me. He never interfered in what others did and expected the same in return. But he was also sensible enough to stake his own when anybody would take advantage of him or treat him indifferently. All I can say is that this one lesson has ensured that my life is only filled with what’s important and not clogged with all random things, thoughts and people that life can bring with it. It taught me to stand up for my beliefs and not be trampled upon by all and sundry. In a day when peace of mind is hard to find, this certainly helps to a certain extent

  8. Nothing is impossible – Well this is a tough one! As far as my dad is concerned, I could climb the Himalayas if I wished and put my heart to it! He was never the one to dismiss anything just because others said it would be impossible or tough to accomplish. This was a good attitude because I learnt that as humans many of us tend to exaggerate even the most simplest things in life and never get around to even trying it leave alone getting it done. I never did climb the Himalayas and don’t have the intention to do so, but I have managed to do some things in life without any fear because I didn’t think that it would be impossible. As difficult it may seem, I continue to hum this mantra every day.

  9. Chase your dreams – If you want something, never give up! This combined with the “Nothing is impossible” mantra has helped me through slumps in my personal and professional fronts. At least I have had the satisfaction of trying and not giving up and mostly I have been surprised at how my life changed for the better.  If we want something we need to work hard for it and not listen to those that might deter us from reaching our goals.
  10. Be Brave– This one is a real toughie! Everyday we come across situations that require us to make some important decisions. Some of these take up closer to our goals and some of these take us away from them. There are plenty of naysayers around us who might deter us from making “tough” decisions or taking the path less travelled, but it is important to listen to our heart, apply some practical sense and then listen to everything that others have to say and retain what is important and toss out the negative tones and energies. As a woman, this lesson is probably the most important lesson off all, as I wade my way through a male dominated world. This is a lesson I struggle with everyday but then if my hero can do it so can I!! I will at least try 🙂

I am writing ‘10 life lessons I learnt from my father’ at Parentous.com

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