My dad passed away two and a half years back. This is what I should have written to him when he was alive…
Thanks, dad, for suggesting (ok, insisting!) that I study accounting in college, and then become a Chartered Accountant, and then get an MBA. And for paying for all those bills (I did not appreciate enough the sacrifices that you and mum made).
It set the base for what I did later on in life. I may not have appreciated it then, but realised later how much it helped me to get to where I am today. Yes, I did stop listening to you after that, but you supported my crazy decisions… to come back so soon to India, to join a start-up bank, to join a start-up VC fund, to start an infrastructure fund and to retire early. After all, you stayed with the same company for over thirty years.
Thanks for being tough with me when I needed my butt to be kicked. And for all the whacks I got from you. For the man-to-man talks (including the brief one on sex) and for being there when I needed you. For the car set that I threw into the pond, and for the guitar, and for the cycle, and for my first pair of jeans. For teaching me how to change car tyres. For the beers when I was a kid. For sending me to the student counsellor when I failed in three subjects in my prelims at school. For not giving up on me when I did not get the high marks you used to get or when I did not excel in sports like you did.
Thanks for teaching me that I need to pick my battles carefully and that I do not need fight every issue. I remembered the lessons you learnt from that IAS officer. Life has been a lot more enjoyable thanks to these lessons. You may not have followed that advice yourself, but I sure did. It also helped me deal with some crappy bosses much better than you did.
Thanks for making me realise the importance of networking. I keep repeating the story about how Aristotle Onassis remembered details about the people he met. This is one life skill that has really helped me, especially since I am rarely the smartest guy in the room.
Thanks for ingraining in me the need to do the right thing, irrespective of the consequences. That moral compass made decision making so much easier. Thanks for teaching me to care for people.
Thanks for showing me how to be a great father and husband and that family is so important. This filter also made decision making so much easier, because I know what to focus on. Thanks for showing me how to be a great father-in-law and grandfather… let’s see if I remember these lessons when I reach that stage.
Thanks for letting me know how to be critical, without being judgemental.
Thanks for teaching us that we should not follow a religion blindly and that we should challenge things that do not sound right. Your Catholic faith gave you great strength, but you did not act as a sheep and follow the religion blindly. You told us that it is ok to have doubts about our faith and that all of our questions may not be answered. The book you gave all your children, The Shepherd, was so powerful.
Finally, thanks for the training on how to swear! After all, my first word was “idiot”! Fiona was recently at your old company, Bharat Petroleum, and met some folks there who had just joined before you retired in 1988. They remembered you because of your caring attitude. And your humour. And your colourful language!
And I am sorry that I did not thank you enough when you were around. But I do not worry about that too much, because you taught us not to worry about things that can’t be fixed.
You are remembered a lot, and not just on your birthday and on Father’s Day. In my presentations I talk a lot about these lessons that I learnt from you.
Thanks for teaching me how to be human!
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