"Keep living an inspired life, keep doing things that bring a smile to your face and do the same to the people around you."
By Ashish Vidyarthi
Baba, whom you fondly called Thaks, was not only my father, he was an extraordinary friend as well. He was the person with whom I could chat about everything. He was loving and warm, and used to make me feel safe. He always had a smile on his lips, a twinkle in his eyes, and he was there for everyone. My memory of Baba, your Thaks, is of a person who was exceptionally kind and trusting. He wasn’t like anybody we saw around us; he was unique. We shared a rich, meaningful and very special relationship.
He taught me to be kind, strong, knowledgeable and helpful. To always be there for friends, to never be affected by wealth, disappointment or fame, and to handle failures and successes with equanimity. I also learned from him how to break into a guffaw, and equally importantly, how to be serious when the occasion requires it.
As for you Mowgli, you have completely altered my life. I was a self-absorbed person till the time you came into my life. After that, my eyes turned away from myself towards you. As you grew up, I saw in you a kind, warm, simple and bright person. I am extremely proud that you have grown into a loving human being. You have showed me that your generation has so much to offer to mankind.
I want you to mark your own path and remember that there isn’t anything that you cannot deal with. However, there will be times when you are unable to find solutions for certain problems. Then, do not hesitate to reach out to those who can support you, so that you can together deal with such challenges.
My greatest joy is that you already have within you the values I cherish—you are kind, understanding, and always there for others. You treat everyone around you with respect and love. I have seen you treat men and women equally, referring to your friends as ‘Buddy’ (I even remember asking you if ‘Buddy’ is a girl or a boy!). I want you to keep doing that and as you go through this beautiful but chaotic life, make time for others. Develop virtual relationships too—not to get anything out of it but just for the joy of cultivating friendships. You are blessed with an amazing set of friends, relatives and extended family. Stay in touch with them and be around. Allow them to contribute to your life, as you contribute to theirs.
When it comes to challenges and dangers, I know you don't take these very seriously. I have seen you sailing through every situation. However, as you march ahead in life and new challenges come your way, stay in tune with what is happening around you. Remember that, at times, old or tried and tested ideas and solutions may no longer work. Instead, you will need to find new ways of getting over hurdles. All that matters is that you know what you are doing is right and feel happy doing it. I have complete faith in you and in your ability to gauge what works and doesn’t for you.
You are a bright and intelligent person, sensitive of his rich and varied heritage. As you travel through the world, criss-crossing different cultures, learn to appreciate the uniqueness you bring to the world—it is an identity inherited from your family, your country and, your own experiences. As you travel and learn more about the West, remember the principle—Get the best of the West and the East, and absorb both.
As I see you growing older and wiser, I often wonder ‘how will I appear in your memories?’ Well, I would like you to know that, of all that I have done and all that I will do, being your father is what I cherish the most. So, even as you step away from us to study abroad, I hope you know that a part of my heart goes with you. I am very proud that you are an amazing and extraordinary young lad, and I know that wherever you go, you will continue to contribute to the world.
As far as my advice to you is concerned, there is no message and there is no mantra. Keep living an inspired life; keep doing things that bring a smile to your face and do the same to the people around you.
Lots of love, cheers and hugs,
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