As you embark on a new phase in life this Wednesday, I, sitting here, look at the day with mixed feelings.
On one hand I feel very proud and happy that you have grown up, become a young man ready to face a new world, a world full of hopes and aspirations and new frontiers to surmount. On the other hand I feel a tinge of remorse that I am not going to be with you as you step into your college for your first day.
I think this will be the first time in my life that I shall not be with you as you step into a new institution. We have always been together on your first day in every school. This perhaps signifies that you are now really ready to take on the world and become a man of substance!
Of course, Mummy will be there with you as you attend your inaugural and the special prayer meeting to be followed by orientation. She shall indeed be very lucky to be there and be with you to cheer you on. She has been looking forward to this day for god knows how many years.
I wish you the very best in college. Study well and take a lot of interest in whatever is taught. At college you need to make a big impression on your teachers and you should not miss a chance to take part in activities related to your department.
Make sure you have friends as good as you and from the kind of homes that make solid citizens. I am sure you will naturally find good friends and shall enjoy being in this worthy institution.
Take very good care of your health and remember to read up all class notes every evening. That’s one way to succeed at college. A lot of self-study is required to be done.
Good luck to you and may god give you unprecedented success in all that you do.
Above all, enjoy every day at college and make the most of this great chance god has given you.
Dear young friends, you may have received a similar letter or mail from your parents. In case you didn’t, perhaps a phone call. Or just as you were stepping out of home with your bags, your parents probably patted on your head or on your back and told you the same things as this father wrote in the letter. And if at all you didn’t even get such a message from your parent, consider this letter was written for you from me to you!
Your parents don’t always want you to come first in class or top the course. They surely want you to do well, but not at the cost of your health or your happiness. Surely, not at the cost of all the fun that they want you to have. They want you to enjoy every day wherever you are. They care for you. They are concerned about you, every moment. So, you need to take care of yourself and care for others too. There are many people around you who want you to just be happy.
Look after your health. Eat good and nutritious food. Work out, I keep saying this to all youngsters all the time. Take time out to reflect, peacefully. Don’t be at war with the world. Meditate. Think of all the good things God and your parents crafted for you. Stay away from anything that provides artificial stimulation. It just doesn’t last. What lasts is friendship, companionship, good habits, and happiness that comes out of doing a lot of good. For yourself and for all the others that you come across in life. I am saying all this because every parent cares. More than anything else in the world a parent cares for his child.
Do you know who wrote this letter, and who was it addressed to? Read the name below and you may figure out.To,
First Year Student
Yes, my own son. A day had come when I had to let my son go. For his own good. For his life. So that he could experience life on his own and come to terms with things around him. It was not easy. I felt as if a part of me had been ripped out of me and taken away forever. I missed him badly. I missed our discussions, arguments, and all those cricket talks. I even missed his questions that used to make me mad, as I sometimes grappled with marketing or HR issues at work. I used to ask him not to ask me “childish” questions.
But, today I feel very different. I think he has grown. You may recall the great book by Richard Bach – Jonathan Livingston Seagull. The young bird that learned to fly, and fly far into the sky. He explored the skies. He flew to heights no one had dared fly earlier. His parents initially didn’t let him fly too high. They were scared that he would fail. They were even scared of his ostracising by other seagulls. But later, they let him fly higher, far higher than any other seagull had ever dreamed. The wings that seagulls used to fly are the wings I probably gave to my son – but he uses the wings himself, he flaps them, he uses them to guide himself in the rough and tumble of life. Theses wings are not mine. They are his own. What he does with them shall take him where he wants to go. I watch him with wonder. I wonder if he needs me to help him fly. I don’t think so. It is his world after all. But I am around,just in case! We parents are always around, just in case.
“Go for it, reach your goal, don’t let any storm or obstacles come in your way”.
I can’t help sharing this little SMS chat of ours which happened a few months after his departure to Chennai.
Son: Dad, have you gone and seen this new movie Lakshya yet?
Me: No, not yet. Why?
Son: Do go and see it. You will like it.
Me: Why do you say so?
Son: The first half will remind you of me. The second half will remind you of you!
Curiosity got the better of me and I went to see this movie. I took along with me a young Management Trainee who was undergoing induction at my office, just in case I needed an interpreter, not that I don’t know Hindi. It was the language of the young crowd that I thought I might just need translation from. As it turned out, I didn’t need any help.
The film was quite simply the story of a young man who initially has no goal in life. But soon he discovers it and excels in his chosen field. As a young army officer, he leads his troops to victory in a hard-fought battle. The title song that kept playing through the movie said: “Go for it, reach your goal, don’t let any storm or obstacles come in your way”.
My son taught me a lesson. I found my goal that day. To let him be, and to let him set and achieve his own goals. To his satisfaction. To his joy.
And I marvel today at his great achievements – two pieces of fiction written along with his doting mom. The first one called 46+14=06, A Story of a Genius, has already found its way into the Limca Book of Records for being the first ever fiction to be written by a mom-son duo. And the second one, Camera and Conversations may go down in history as the first photographic fiction to be penned by a mom-son duo, again. He also travels around the country, offering tips on photography to young students, and makes great friends wherever he goes.