That’s papa and me as a new born!! This one is papa playing with Vivaan on his 60th birthday last year!
When I started writing, I didn’t anticipate this will be a place for me to capture life’s special and simple, ordinary moments and all the people that make life meaningful but yet over the last few months, I find myself writing more and more of the events in my life and the impact they have on the person that I am…
This one is for papa, my dad in celebration of Father’s day and for reflecting back on one of the most beautiful life lessons that I learnt from him.
Papa always (almost always) chooses kindness & giving over success, achievement, money & fame. I still remember that birthdays meant indulgence for us and some space for giving whether that meant donating in India or him sharing some food with his staff in the office or we taking out our nanny for some special shopping. For papa, giving has been incredibly important in his family and I have nothing but appreciation and admiration for how his definition of providing for the family went beyond just his wife and 4 kids but to his siblings and their families too. I wish I had that generous a heart as well …
What I have been most inspired by is how important giving and kindness is in his formal work for the last 30+ years. As a doctor, you are taught to be compassionate, kind and put the needs of your patients first but papa has modeled taking that to the next level. For as long as I can remember, most of papa’s patients have primarily been immigrant, often uneducated, underpaid, overworked with brutal living conditions. Ignorance and innocence may be the two best words to describe their relationship with their health. Papa chooses to treat their illness, be their therapist and empower them to invest in preventive care which is much harder than my words here can do justice. He has treated thousands of them for a fraction of what his regular fees may be in service of his own values. Yes, this meant a much smaller paycheck every month that what his education, skills and experience could get him but his satisfaction, meaning and sense of purpose is primarily what drives him to work every morning and has been a key contributor in the peace, joy and meaning we have had in our family.
As his young child and now his adult daughter I feel incredibly blessed to have seen this generosity in my own home. Honestly, when I think of it, I don’t think I ever felt more money in my dad’s bank account could have replaced the richness of my childhood and its lessons that were so abundant in service and generosity. Helping someone with our time, money and words was always more important and valued than a new pair of Nike shoes and I am so incredibly grateful for that… And if you ask my dad, he still says that he has more money that he needs and I am always humbled by his words and try to remind myself of the same. It is true that the ego always wants more of everything but truly, deeply, we all need much less money and stuff to find meaning in our lives.
I am grateful to call you my dad, happy father’s day papa. Again, tears trickling down my cheeks as I write this and re-read this as I am editing it this moirning. I wish I could come and read these words to you in person with a big, bear hug:-)