Our parents (or guardians or caretakers if not biological parents) are the first individuals who cast some influence on our lives. Our first social and intellectual interaction start with them, they teach us how to walk, talk, eat, and many other relevant physical and social skills. Parents normally have a significant influence on their child's life, many times they can shape up the thinking of the child. I think this is the reason why we see the continuation of same religious and political beliefs running through generations in the same family. Like everyone's parents, my parents are special to me and their influence on my life is significant. First of all, I am thankful to them for bringing me into this world, I know that my birth was not any divine incident. It was just a biological phenomena like every other birth of that time, born out of physical attraction between a male and a female, but still, this interaction was special to me as it resulted in my birth.
My parents migrated from Uttar Pradesh to Maharashtra few years before my birth. My father came to Pune (a city in a state of Maharastra) to work in a factory. It was a new place, new culture, and completely new language. It was especially difficult for my mom to adjust with this new surrounding as she came from very protected environment to this new world where she has to take care of her family plus learn a new language and adjust to totally unfamiliar surroundings. There was a social and economic struggle, but they managed to tackle all these problems. As far as I remember I always saw my dad working very hard, I never saw this man resting or relaxing, even today he never feels comfortable in sitting at home. Now his body can't cope up with his enthusiasm to work, but still, he goes out and contributes as much as he can. He worked as a machine operator in a gas cylinder valve manufacturing company (Vanaz). When his company gave an option, he took a voluntary retirement in 1989 and started his own business. I was in a high school when he took this bold step, with three kids to feed, this guy took this brave step to invest all his retirement money into a dairy and sweet shop business. He established this business from scratch. He used to do all the work, he was the owner as well as the helper in shop kitchen, whatever work was required he did it without any complaint. We never even had a two-wheeler that time, he used to go on a bicycle to bring milk every day and also to market to procure other stuff. I know the reason why he suffers from a knee pain, he pushed his body beyond its physical limits for many years. When I look back to those days, I can't stop myself from getting impressed by the amount of hard work this man did to support our family. This all was not possible without the support of my mother, they both really worked hard, seldom they had any time to enjoy. We never used to have any spare money to go to a restaurant or watch a movie. The only movie we watched as a family was Sunny Deol's debutant movie "Betab," this movie has a special place in my heart just because of this reason. Going to our native place during summer vacation used to be our only picnic. They both dedicated their lives to establish their family in a new place. They worked really hard and established their business, built their own house in Pune, and paid for the education of their three kids.
They both taught me the value of hard work. Our many problems were related to money, this made me realize the importance of money very early in my life. I am thankful to my parents for countless things, but, I am most thankful to them for not insisting their beliefs and values on me. They never forced me to follow their religious or political beliefs, this allowed me to develop my own independent views about these things. I am really grateful to them for this, I am their son, but I am very different than them in all these aspects and I thank them for making this possible. I can see the amount of influence parents try to put on their kids as far as their religious, social, and political beliefs are concerned, fortunately, my parents never did that. They taught me all the necessary values like respect people around you, work hard, be honest and sincere, the importance of education, and many other things. Apart from education and some social etiquettes, nothing else was forced. We were not allowed to play cards as gambling was very rampant in our neighborhood. My dad never had a drink in front of us, even though many of his friends used to drink regularly in their homes and even tell their kids to fetch the bottle from the wine shop. They were really strict about some of these things and I really applaud them for this. These rules protected us from bad influences of our neighborhood. I don't know the exact number of kids going to school with me that time (must be around thirty), but only three or four successfully graduated from college, and two of them were from our family. These numbers say a lot about their efforts.
They both couldn't go to college, but they made sure that each of their kid got a chance to enter the college. My education and freedom to think are tow biggest gifts to me from them. Their support was very pivotal during my education, it was their decision not to allow their kids to enter the workforce to support their family was very important, this allowed me to complete my college and then my Ph.D. Many of my friends started working at very young age and couldn't finish their college. My education changed my life completely, it allowed me to question many things which I would never have done without the power of knowledge. Their reaction to many of my objections and protests is also admirable, I never expected that they will take my objections so sportingly. Not only they listen to my outrageous (according to them) views patiently, but even changed their views on certain topics after having a lengthy chat with me on those matters. It is not that we don't argue, we do it a lot, my concept of respect is not absolute obedience, no matter who the person is. I challenge their actions wherever I feel I have to and we argue, sometimes we agree and many times we don't, and this is what life is. Our disagreements so far didn't put any cracks in our bonding, it is as strong as ever. Our journey so far is really enjoyable, with some ups and downs for sure, but I do share a special bond with them and over the years that bond has become only stronger. Actually, one post is not enough to say everything about our parents, but I wanted to share something about them with readers. We all love and respect our parents, but rarely share our feelings with them. I think it is better to express our feelings, I learned this after coming to the US, in India rarely people express their feelings to each other in some relationships, especially son-father or daughter-father relationship. It is a personal choice, but I feel it is better to express them and have a very friendly relationship with our parents, it is a very rewarding experience.
Thank you मम्मि (mom), thank you पप्पा (dad) for everything, love you.
Thanks for reading.
[Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing]