The 30th of August, 2008. These were my thoughts on that day.
Now, we all have our role models. Many a time, they are people from day to day life. Of the numerous souls we interact with, there are those few souls who silently and stealthily creep into our minds.
If we were to search our souls, we would find them there- engraved into the depth of our souls.
They are people who are passionate about life, and yet it is a passion that is no longer needy. They are people who intrigue us. For buried in the story of their lives, is the story of our own lives. They are people who inspire us to plunge into the depths of our own lives, for they give us a glimpse of the crux of life, and help us believe in its beauty.
In the past, as a child, I had no scarcity of role-models in my life. In family, among peers, in school and in college, there were so many people who set standards in terms of life. Today, as I look around me, all I see is people lost in the rat race and money game, chasing shadows and mirages. The pace of their lives and the internal conflicts they portray, can never inspire. In modern times, I have found a profound dearth of role-models. This post is an attempt to reflect on some of the role models in my life. It is a tribute to them as much as it is a revelation to me.
The first person that I shall talk about is the dean of the institution I work for.
Raised in a small town before having joined the Armed Forces Medical Services, his ascent has been a very gradual process, and the fact that he has experienced the struggles and joys at every step of the ladder, is reflected in his modesty and maturity, and the ease with which he interacts with people from different walks of life, with a very deep understanding of the differing needs and attitudes at different planes of life. A tall, lean, mellow person- I found him so receptive that I ached to know the person beneath those credentials. It took me a while to get to know him. For in all the settings we interacted, he thrust the dais back at us, listening to us, attempting to understand us, and gently steering us to help build perspectives and arrive at decisions, while he stood backstage, absorbing us in totality. Eventually, I realized that this was the secret to his insight into each one of his employees and students at an individual level.
Our relationship grew with time. So much so that I now find myself deeply bonded to him.
I do not know if the absence of a father-figure in my own life makes this feeling stronger, but looking into those eyes, I have always felt that peculiar mix of love, admiration and respect that only a father can evoke in a child.
This brings me to the realization that true freedom can be discovered only within the realms of one’s mind. Here, there are no rules and conventions to abide by. Here, there is only the truth of emotions.
On every occasion that we have interacted, I am left with a residual feeling of wanting to be a better person. He sets my standards and defines the standards that I aspire to meet. He seeds in me a desire to do things that would make him love me and feel proud of me. I never want to let him down, for in the realms of my mind, he is my father.
The mind is beautiful in that it paints its own picture of human relationships, independent of convention and scientific facts. Perhaps girls my age dream of prospective life-partners. But I have often conjured in my mind precious moments where a father listens to his daughter attentively, absorbing all her passion and zeal, absorbing all her intellect and stupidity, absorbing all her innocent joy, reveling in it and basking in it. Moments where a father guides his daughter, gently steering her towards what he knows is right for her, helping her arrive at that plane of thought.
It is not by virtue of his knowledge that I look up at him, but by virtue of his wisdom, and the underlying human being within that wealth of wisdom- a warm, sensitive and caring soul beneath that infinite wisdom.
I aspire to be his best child. I aspire to borrow from him- in mind and in soul.
On some days, he smiles at me affectionately. On such days, I find myself in high spirits. On days when we converse and exchange thoughts, I feel a deeper sense of contentment. On days when he condemns me, I am upset and disturbed. It gnaws at me until I find myself a little child, running up to him, and accounting for my behavior/act. When he smiles at me, I see sunshine around.
At that moment, I am a little child basking in my father’s reassurance.
To me, he is a voice of the value system of the past. He strengthens my belief in myself.
In the album of my mind, there is a picture that my mind guards passionately. It is a picture of a father and daughter, basking in the sheen of their relationship. I can see their faces clearly; there could be no element of doubt.