Today is your birthday. Had you been alive you would be 88 years today.
Appa, even if you are not there with us, we do remember and recall you, and the contributions you have made to scores of people in general and to us in particular, frequently. When I say ‘we’, I mean our family as well as our extended family members. Today I want to recall just a few of the many memories of you.
You started working when you were still a student at the age of fourteen and passed away at the age of seventy four, with your boots on. Your struggle to take care of your studies, and the determination and hard work with which you brought up your brother and sisters, are deeply etched in my memory. They all remember you with tremendous love and affection even today.
During your stay in this world, except for one occasion, I have never seen you crying, facing every adversity with a smile, and never brooding about life’s vicissitudes. In fact, after you had passed away, when we checked your Bank Account, you just had a few hundred rupees in your account. It may look strange for most people that after having worked for almost sixty years, you had only a few hundreds left in your account but for us it is not at all surprising. You always believed that giving is the essence of life.
I would like to recall one specific interaction that I had with you….
This was when I came to meet you alone to share with you the news that Bindu and I have suffered huge losses and that we need to start life afresh. When I was about to tell you the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of our losses, you just said, ” my dear son, just tell me how can I be of any use to you?”. Not only you but our entire family rose to the occasion to help us tide over the crisis of our lives in innumerable ways. Today, we are well settled in our lives.
It will be difficult for me to list the countless ways in which you have shaped our lives, but believe you me Appa, you have been and will always be our role model.
Whatever goodness that I do have, you have played an immense part in that with you as a role model for my life.
On your birthday, I commit myself to living by those extraordinary values that you demonstrated right through your life. I know it is a great privilege and honour to have had you as my Dad in this birth. Hope and wish that you continue to guide and support us through your quiet ways, from up there.
One way by which Bindu and I have decided to contribute to our society is through ShikshaDaan. ShikshaDaan is a platform created to help those people who need financial access to complete their education. Today ShikshaDaan completes two years and starts the third year. We started it on your birthday because you loved to teach and gave the gift of education to so many, free.