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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

ma amaar, godspeed!

Today, with the last bit of her public examinations over, my daughter turns her back upon childhood and school life forever. We were talking via Skype a while ago, and she said, though she was glad enough, and had been looking forward to painting the town red in her own quiet way, she wasn’t in the event feeling that anything very special had happened. Well, yes and no.  When you wait for something for a long time, it’s more or less always rather an anticlimax when it finally happens, unless it is a truly life-changing event – as her birth was to me, for example. But then, it is also true that tonight she ought to feel at ease, and rest content, and brace up for the long, long journey that lies just ahead now: adulthood. And being my daughter, she really will have an adulthood early, not beginning after she is thirty something.  

I am hoping that school having been a more than slightly nasty time for her, college will compensate her generously. In my case, it was a time full of torment, and lasted too long, despite the fact that unlike 99.9% of my compatriots, I was already leading a fully adult life. Much of that torment came from drudgery – which in turn stemmed partly from the fact that I was surrounded by lazy morons, classmates and teachers alike, and partly from the fact that I was dirt poor (my daughter knows how I walked thousands of miles around the city because I could not hang from buses often enough, and dreamt of saving enough to buy a moped someday! Today not only semi-literate sons of rural bank branch managers but loafers living in the slum behind my house drive around on snazzy bikes: that's 'development' for you). Also, frankly, my appetite for all the goodies of life was far larger than the world around me could supply – whom can I blame for that but myself? I keep talking about an eagle being forced to live the life of a sparrow. I learnt to compromise, but it was hard, and took far too long, because I had too many demons to subdue, like dreams and ideals, and overweening ambition. I am praying that in every sense my daughter will have better years ahead, if only because, thanks to daddy, she will be forewarned. It’s not a nice world, but it helps enormously if you are forewarned, and know what to expect and what not to fret over, and are convinced that the best deal is to focus totally on what you can do and fate allows you to do. As she has heard me tell countless times, if I hadn’t taken women seriously, and if I had stayed on in Calcutta doing what I have being doing for most of my life anyway, or at least quit the last job ten years sooner, I’d be a far less cynical man today, with far more millions in the bank.

I am dreaming now that she will soon embark on a career, remembering very firmly that, as I myself teach, a career is not only making a living but making a life worth living. She knows how wide a choice I have given her, so long as she works hard and is convinced that she is doing something that pleases her while not seriously harming anybody. It was my dream, in the darkest years of my youth, that I would not only be reconciled with my father but work shoulder to shoulder with him, me in my late twenties, he in his early fifties, for at least twenty years, building something good with our own hands, a business, an institution, an example of some kind we could be proud about. It didn’t happen. Maybe with my daughter I have been given another chance. As I tell her, and as she knows I dream, nothing would please me more in the remaining years of my life, be they five or thirty, than to be at her side helping in a very meaningful and profitable way with whatever she is doing, from running an eatery to making a countrywide tutorial to fighting big legal battles to raising a family.

So godspeed ma, and may God hold you in the palm of His hand. Baba, living and beyond the veil, will always be with you!

10 comments:

akash ganguly said...

Dear Sir,

I can only imagine your joy as Urbidi is about to step into a new and important stage of her life. I wish her luck and happiness. May your second chance not go to waste and some day you two would have built something, something good.

Regards,
Akash

Suvro Chatterjee said...

My blessings and heartfelt thanks for the good wishes, Akash, whether they come true or not.

Sir

akash ganguly said...

Dear Sir

Thank you, it's always good to receive your blessings. I very much hope that they will come true.

Regards,
Akash

Subhadip Dutta said...

Lots of good wishes for Pupu. I won't ask about her exams because I know they have gone good for sure.

Also, before joining college I shall tell Pupu to give a little bit of trouble to dear daddy, and travel to some not so frequented, but very good places, if you can. If both of you can, please come to Bangalore. We can plan a trip to the Badami Cave Temples and to Hampi. :)


Regards,
Subhadip.

Suvro Chatterjee said...

Most kind of you, Subhadip. We shall certainly remember.

Sir

Unknown said...

Sir,
It's good to hear that your daughter is poised to step into a new phase of her life. I hope she witnesses a paradigm shift in the experiences in her college life unlike her school days, which you mentioned to have been quite unpleasant. I wish her all the very best in the future.

Regards
Soumallya Chattopadhyay

Suvro Chatterjee said...

Thank you, Soumallya. Didn't know that you still read my blog! And why is your user name 'Unknown'? I nearly deleted it without reading.

Sir

Unknown said...

Sir,
I do follow your blog...it has been my habit since class 9, when I had enrolled as a pupil in your class. I do admit that I am not that frequent a visitor as I used to be while I was in school, but I look up your blog every ten to fifteen days. It has always been and will always be an invaluable repository of knowledge involving diverse fields, and obviously my favourite site to increase the span of my vocabulary (I've still retained the words list that you gave us in class; in my diary, where I maintain the vocabulary. Definitely it has increased in volume, but the diary commences with the list that you provided us).
As for the "Unknown" thing, even I don't have a clue as to why that is being highlighted. My google account bears my name, but even I can't figure out the reason behind this technical fault.

Regards
Soumallya Chattopadhyay

Amritaksha Duttagupta said...

I remember your voice on "choice of career" in a class setting about ten years back. That it is really important to go to bed every day with a last question in mind, "Did I do the best I could have?" You also reminded that one can never lie to oneself, and if I hear the inner soul reply a "yes" EVERY DAY to the question, only then does would I have a successful career. The profession really doesn't matter.

I have analyzed me from time to time on my performance. I have never heard an absolute "yes". But then, I like what I do and sure I feel that I am more upstart than before. I'll do better tomorrow is the sense with which I go to bed.

I wish my best for your daughter and to you.

Suvro Chatterjee said...

Thank you for the kind words, Amritaksha. My best wishes to you too, for everything you do.

I was looking sadly at how few people have even bothered to write in with a one-line 'Sir, good luck for your daughter'. And remembering how much how many thousands owe me, if only in kindness, attention when they wanted it, and blessings. If I have not reason enough for misanthropy, who does?