Today is Dad’s 38th death anniversary. I was remembering and playing some of his favourite songs in the morning and all those songs were very soothing…
I was hearing these lines in a podcast,” Life functions as an enmeshed bunch of threads that come together to weave a tapestry of your life“. That was profound! That led me to reflect on some of those threads which I picked from my Dad in that short time. I must owe a lot of those reflections to the book I just completed, ” What the heck do I do with my life“. There were phrases and passages that made me scribble and make notes on the margins. So in this blog, I have borrowed some of those brilliant phrases. I wrote on those margins of the pages to remind myself to include it in “Dad’s Blog“.
Geography is Destiny
The Arab scholar Ibn Khaldun said it first in the fourteenth century “Geography is destiny“. Where you are born and where you live determine your fate, opportunities and constraints, and your values and beliefs to a greater extent than almost anything else. In the case of my dad, he was raised in a small village 2 hrs away from my hometown and I had the opportunity of visiting the place multiple times. I used to wonder how my Dad and his brother got out of that place. That is when I learned that they were focused on two things-Get to a place where there is more opportunity, Get to a place that has embraced modern values. That lead them to go places and finally find a career with India’s premier space organisation. I must thank him for the interest in space that I have. In the last 6 months, I have watched Rocket Boys, finished Mission ISRO, and now I am reading a couple of books- ” My Odyssey” and ” ISRO a personal History“. My elder daughter also mentioned her interest in hearing about how we went about space and Harsha Bhogle’s podcast is having some great content. The message was you can rewrite your destiny and the sky is no longer the limit as we are now entering the space age.
In the book What the heck do I do with my life” the author mentioned making two lists. One list is about the most important people who have influenced your life. For instance, your parents, spouse, close friends, mentor, manager, etc. On the second write down the jobs or most meaningful experiences, you’ve had. The question is ” Did you make those experiences happen? Or did the person or opportunity enter your life?” I had heard this from Dad’s brother about how they were helped by so many people in their life right from early childhood all along the way. I had seen how my Dad’s friends use to come and meet him in the house and we are still in touch with a couple of them. I mapped my jobs and all my work experiences which came through people starting from my first job to my current one. I met the most important people in my life including my wife and closest friends in a serendipitous way. It isn’t magic – it’s your network. I recollect how he and three of his friends joined to buy the plot and build the house that I grew up in. As he was ahead of his time, he had a short sojourn in Jordan (Amman) again with his friend. Finally, his extended family and old friends used to keep visiting us from our village to our house and remembered all the good times and they were high praise for the progress he had made in life. He never forgot that “It takes a village to raise a child”. His unflappable temperament and immaculate balance are virtues I have not forgotten.
Dad, I am sure you are smiling no ends from heaven as my mother picked up your life’s principles. She had to deal with a barrage of dilemmas and face the vicissitudes of life. She has been the guiding light. I pay tribute to your 38th death anniversary. Your words did cast a spell in my life as you did a ”cameo spell’ in our lives. As Thornton Wilder said, ” The highest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude“.