I am not your Idol

This blog is an imaginary letter written by a father to his son. He wishes to say something through this, which he cannot do it in person.

Dear Son,

You consider me as your Idol; you have always asked me what I wanted in life. You do it before every birthday of mine. During those times, I used to think I had everything in life, so I always replied," it's fine son". But today I am writing this letter to tell you that I was wrong. Today the time has come to explain everything which I had been hiding from you all these years.

To begin with, if you think that I am happy in the U.S, then you are wrong. I always consider myself a stranger in this country. Despite living all my productive years here, I have to say my heart was in this Indian village where I was born. To justify my words, I think I have to tell you about me and my past in this village.

The place where I was born was considered a village by people living in real cities and as a city by people living in authentic villages. It had one big Government school, two medical centres, and an active market that forms the meeting place of all the surrounding village farmers.

My Dad (your grandpa) was a postman. He, too, was born in this village, and he loved this place. He was also proud of his government job. He believed that he was the heart of communication between this place and the rest of the world. It was indeed correct when you consider living in an area with no internet, interrupted telecom facilities and no mobile phones. My mom was his childhood love. Thankfully, they belonged to the same neighbourhood, and both their families knew each other very well. So there were no hiccups in their love marriage.

My mom was religious. Two temple visits a day and an hour-long Puja on the Tulsi plant every morning accounted for most of her free time. Everybody in our home was a vegetarian out of choice. My Grandma and Grandpa used to live with us. Dad, even with his limited income, made sure that everyone gets everything. The priority list was in the order of Grandma, Grandpa, my Sister, Me, Mother, and finally him. But most of the time, the last two people on the list were invisible.

My childhood memories remain afresh even now when I write this. I listed out those which I cherish the most.

  • The Village festival (colours, food and toy stalls, relatives visit with their kids)

  • Childhood friends (Outings to explore places, swimming in the pond, secret movies at the city as teens)

  • The school (a few teachers, free lunch, morning prayers, school day celebrations)

  • Mom's Tulsi plant (a part of the family)

  • Fights with my sister (pillow fights and pocket money fights)

  • The village pond near the temple

  • Diwali (early morning oil bath, crackers, new dress, sweets, new movies)

  • The village heads (No job but boasting and gossiping)

  • The vacation trip to nearby uncle's village (swimming in the river, cricket, new friends)

  • Independence Day celebrations (at school, at the village)

  • The first-time dad bought me a second-hand bicycle

And on and on.

At school, I had been the best student in every aspect. I had been regular in my homework – thanks to my grandma and mom, they made sure I enjoy the process of homework by sitting next to me and my sister the whole time we finish it.

My school Headmaster had been a Gem of a person. He had sacrificed his luxury at the metros to do service in the village. His passion was to encourage students to make it big. He helped me to aim higher and also supported me with all the necessities. During my schooling, he trained me for the IIT entrance. I ended up becoming one of the toppers in the state board exams and also found a place in the reputed Madras IIT.

I had to bid my family and my village bye to pursue my dream at the IIT. I never thought that bye was the last one of my grandparents. IIT changed my outlook on life. I looked at the world from a whole new perspective. It propelled me to go beyond my limits. This time it was IIM. I made through the IIM's in the first attempt as well. I was proud of myself. Unfortunately, my parents had no clue what IITs and IIM's are. All they knew was that their kid is studying more and studying better. Most of my education was sponsored by the government and through corporate scholarship programs.

Once done with IIM, I was offered a job with a financial firm in the U.S, with a salary package touching the skies. It took a lot of time for me to convince my family that I am was offered this much pay package. I fell in love with your mom during my MBA times. She was my classmate and was more intelligent than me.

I went to the U.S with her. I stayed there for a year and came back to India for our marriage. During these days, I realized that my Mom and Dad had become more silent than ever. They never advised me on anything and made me go ahead with my own decisions. Meanwhile, my knowledge and worldly exposure made me think to be wiser than most of the others, including my parents. Later what happened to me is what happens with most of the NRI's here.

I believe I won't be making a mistake if I make a checklist of these events.