I don’t remember much about my childhood moments spent with my father. I was just 4 when my father expired due to a fatal heart attack so my memories of him are all too hazy. But I do remember of an incident that happened during one of my school events. I was in Kindergarten studying in a very popular school near Indiranagar, Bangalore.
My father being a manager of a Bank in the same area was very well known and respected among the teachers. In fact one of the teachers, Sister Philomena was very fond of me and my family. She used to visit my house often and talk to my parents. She was a kind soul and she was my favorite teacher.
The below photo was clicked in my classroom when Sister Philomena bunched a few of her star (read favorite) students and had this snap clicked.
|I'm second from left :-)|
Being the youngest child and the only daughter I was pampered a lot by my father. It so happened that my school arranged for a sports day event in the playground and various competitions were arranged. While the older students had more vigorous sport events, we little younger ones had a running race to participate.
We had to carry a doll and swing it in our arms and at the same time we had to race to the finish line. Since most of my dolls were just not good enough for the race, my dad took us shopping where he bought me an adorable doll, much to the chagrin of my brothers who never got what they asked for.
I remember the doll because it was my favorite toy for years. The doll would close its eyes every time it was held horizontally and open them when held straight. I loved the doll and on the day of the race I was holding it proudly, more excited about showing off my new toy than running the race.
The race started and I ran my best but unfortunately I came in somewhere in the last. The spoilt brat that I was, I started bawling loudly insisting that I be given the first prize since my doll was better than the ones in the hands of the girls who came in first and second places. My dad must have been embarrassed witnessing my behavior but to his credit, he was patient enough to tolerate my ridiculous behavior without smacking me.
Sister Philomena, who was a real sweet lady, somehow convinced the school authorities to give me a consolation prize. When I received the prize I somehow didn’t feel happy as I hoped I would be when I won the prize. Even to my 4 year old puerile mind, I knew what I did was wrong. The girls who won prizes deserved it and it was rightfully theirs but I had not done anything to claim the prize. To me it looked more like a pity prize, something that was given to shut me up.
Later my dad explained to me that there is no short cut to success. Hard work, dedication and honesty are the only ways one can gain respect from others. And to prove his theory right, I had to only look up at him. It took him years to get where he was, to become what he was, to command the respect and admiration from his staff. Even to this day, I have never heard anyone speaking ill about him ever. They always remember him as a silent, kind man who worked determinedly at the bank.
It was this admiration towards him that made people accept my mother and help her gain a foothold in the banking domain when she accepted a clerical post in the same bank after my father’s death.
Needless to say I returned the prize the next day to Sister Philomena but not without a promise to myself that never in future would I accept a prize in my life, if I felt that I didn’t deserve it, if I hadn't earned it.
That was the lesson that I learnt very early in life from my dad, there is no replacement for hard work and perseverance. I hope that someday through my work and my deeds I gain the same respect and esteem from others, just like my dad.
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