Sunday, June 25, 2017 | ePaper

What my dad taught me before he died changed my life

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Life Desk :
As a child, I just wanted to fly. Living on the top floor of a three-storey building gave an edge to my weird imagination that I was here because I was meant to fly someday.
I remember looking from the top of my terrace awestruck, wondering how everything seems so tiny from the top and grows in size as we go down. I spent a lot of time imagining the very feeling of being in the air by looking through the tiny crevices in the walls of my balcony. However, my height always failed me as the boundary of our balcony was well built to keep kids of our age (five or six years) intact to their safe grounds.
One fine day, on a rather hot afternoon, when everyone else had dozed off to the customary afternoon nap, I sneaked out of the room, took my very special foldable blue chair and tiptoed my way into the balcony. I could hear my heart pounding as I quietly placed the chair against the wall, took a moment to look back and decide if it is placed at a balanced angle or not and carefully climbed on top of it. I still remember the first hot breeze that caressed my cheek, the afternoon sun, that was fading into a warm evening, the purple sky with birds floating in flocks returning to their abode, the honeybees buzzing around that large hive just outside our window, the mango tree that once seemed so distant was now close enough to feel the vibrant fragrance of green mangoes. I don't remember how much time went by like that, staring outside, devouring nature in all its hues, when suddenly I sensed somebody standing right behind me! Instantly, the bliss faded and I was back on my side of the wall, murmuring my silent prayers to any God that I could remember and thinking of all sorts of plausible explanations for my misdoing. As I looked back from the corner of my eye, I saw a man wearing white pajamas, quiet relieved to be frank, as it was none other than my dad, who must have gotten up for his evening clinic. I turned around smiling coyly and he candidly picked me up in his arms and asked: What are you doing?
Me: Nothing...just looking outside
Dad: What are you looking at?
Me: Birds!
Dad: Do you also want to fly?
I nodded eagerly...
Dad: You will someday, just let your wings grow!
It is so strange that as you grow up, your childhood dreams start making more sense. With each passing year, I had a different dream altogether with a consequently different approach to how can I possibly nail it. Yes, I was too shrewd to be a kid, kind of mean when I was growing up, blessed with a strategic mind of my own where I used to plot ways to accomplish things I had decided for myself. Ironically, I miss those attributes today, when I need them most, especially looking back to the times when I wasted my extraordinary skills to get a stupid 'A' in my exam or worse to fetch maximum praise from people.
Years passed and so did the dreams, priorities and my life along with everybody around me. Yet, when I look at that day, I vividly remember every bit of my first encounter with nature and a lesson that I didn't realize on that day, until few years later...
It was the year 2000, an eventful year of my life. I was twelve then, pretty matured for my age, and as inquisitive as a fox. It was late evening and I was in my balcony immersed in star-gazing. My dad had just got home from his clinic, and it was ritualistic of him to spend his first few minutes alone, meditating in his room. But today, instead of heading to his room, he came to the balcony, stood next to me. Out of nowhere, I happened to ask: "How would I know, I am ready? Ready to do, what I want to do?"
He replied: "You mean, ready to fly? Yes, you will know it!" he took a pause and said, "Probably, you will not know, just because you never dived in, jumped off the cliff or took the plunge. There will be times when you will be sure of what you are taking forth, but at other times you might have to take the leap of faith!"
Me: "Leap of faith?"
Dad: "It's an eternal belief you put into a situation or a person. You do what is needed without thinking about the consequences. It's a powerful energy that binds the universe together. Often people invest such faith in God, but sometimes you will find people trusting another human being as well. For example, when I enter the operation theatre every morning, my patient puts his faith in me not knowing his fate and I acknowledge that and put my faith in Almighty so that I am able to do what I am destined to do. They say it's leap of faith because it is like standing at the edge of the cliff and you have nowhere to go, except forward...you can see it's a dead end, but yet you have the faith to take the leap not thinking what might follow."
Me: "That's scary... And what if it doesn't turn out as expected?"
Dad smiled and said: "It will never turn out as you have expected...That's the beauty of life... It is an extreme power, an extreme emotion, an intense faith. No wonder, beyond the cliff you might reach great heights or great falls!"
Me: "What do we do if we fail?"
Dad: "Well, you might face dark times when you'll feel lost, but this is the time you must surrender yourself to the universe. Let nature take its course. "
He then asked me to take little stones in my hand and make a fist.
He said, "Imagine, this is your trouble, your failure, your loss (personal or material), now try and throw it away!"
I immediately opened my fist, bend my hand and let the stones fall across my fingers to the ground.
Dad: "Did you see? The nature gravitates towards your troubles, your aches. You just need to open your fist and let go. Cry if you need to but don't forget to let go at the end of the day."
I couldn't get the nerve to ask him anything further; probably the conversation itself had been heavy on both of us. Sadly, I never got the chance to ask anything later. I lost him in the winter of that very year in an unfortunate accident. Suddenly, I could relate to every bit of this conversation now and wondered how blessed I am that in whatever short time we had, he had passed on such immense treasure to me. He truly had given me wings to fly, strength to follow what I believe in. Throughout my school and college life, even today, people ask me often how I manage to keep my composure at all times. And, I just want to say, it's very simple, whenever, I am standing at the edge of the cliff, I take a moment out, close my eyes and ask myself, "Are you ready?" and my heart responds: "Of Course... I am game!    "-TNN

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