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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Being My Father's Daughter


I have seen the difference in the expressions. When I say IIT-IIM, the eyes and mouth open wide in wonder, and a “WOW” escapes the lips. And when I say IBS, the forehead creases into a frown, and a clueless “Where is it?” is what I invariably hear.

Some weeks ago, I met a girl from another branch of my college. She was also interning at L & T, so we just got talking. Among other things, we discussed our families, and the moment I told her that my Dad is an IIT - IIM, she said, “What?? And you are in IBS? You should be ashamed of yourself!!”

I laughed it away then, but right now, even as I put it down, I can feel tears springing up in my eyes.

Okay, so my father is an IIT - IIM. And any guy with even half a brain can say just how smashingly brilliant that combination is. Even as I speak of it to someone, I can sense the admiration in the listener’s eyes. And simultaneously, I can see this hint of disbelief, probably of mockery even, that someone like me is my father’s daughter.

Unlike my father, I did not like Maths and Physics in school. I was, still am, petrified of those subjects. It was probably this fear that prevented me from scoring well in them. But I loved the languages that we were taught, and was very keen on pursuing literature post school. Somehow, commerce seemed to be a more “lucrative” option then, and so I took it up. The outcome was disastrous – I could NOT take those dry, tasteless, juiceless subjects. Over the years, I have seen that commerce students and engineers possess a certain aptitude for logic and analysis – I lacked that totally. To make matters worse, because I had a good score in my ICSE, I got through to Podar, supposedly the “best college for commerce”. And I was disgusted with the professors and the dilapidated infrastructure there. I remember sitting up at nights, crying away, because I hated what I had to study. I wanted to drop a year and take up Arts just so that I could go to a better college and study language and literature. But I stayed put.

Finally, when I was in Class 12, I went in for an aptitude test. And it showed, not surprisingly, that I had tremendous inclination for the arts – media, literature and language. I put in all I could and finished off with my final exams, and succeeded in scoring an 81%. Okay, so that isn’t an amazing score, but it was a massive uphill task for me, what with subjects I can still puke on.

Mass Media was the most enjoyable part of my education ever. I loved every minute of what we were taught. We had subjects like Creative Writing, Cinema, Photography and everything else that I could positively gorge on. And so it’s no surprise that I scored well throughout.

But then, graduation came to an end and MBA seemed to be the most ‘suitable’ course. Honestly, I was never very sure of it – but because I did not know what else I could do here in India, I started with the coaching classes.

I don’t know if this makes me sound like a loser, but I felt like I was back to being seventeen again, where I just did not enjoy what I was studying. Apart from having Maths to deal with, I also had to study English - something that I had loved throughout - in a very different, very uninteresting manner. But I kept at it. Ultimately, after long months of struggle and frustration, I got accepted at IBS Mumbai.

I know that IBS - M is not even in the same orbit as IIM – B. Sometimes, when I compare myself with my father, I feel ashamed. And embarrassed. I could never have the same perseverance, the same go-getter attitude that is so characteristic of him. He is a workaholic; I work just as much as necessary. He has happily sacrificed a lot to be where he is today and to give me such a comfortable life; I find it extremely difficult to give up things I love. He is exceptionally organised; I am just the opposite. He is a perfectionist; I am laidback. He is an accomplished artist; I draw like a four-year old.

But sometimes when I ponder over how I have always been so different from my father, I think of all the good things I have inherited from him. To begin with, it is from him that I have learnt to have a drive, a passion for executing all my responsibilities sincerely, regardless of whether I like them or not. (At the cost of sounding immodest, I’ll say that I wouldn’t have been a good student throughout, if I had just given up). My love for languages has been his other gift to me. My love for books is a third. My love for animals, a fourth. A liberated attitude, the need to be extremely clear and precise in expression, and emotions towards inanimate objects like old writing pads and letters are some more. Most of all, it is his simplicity, his sense of humility that I find in myself. And there is so much more than I can enlist.

For all that I am, weaknesses, radically different interests et al., my father has accepted me and cherished me. When he is strict, I know it is because he wants only the best for me. So no matter what happens, to me, my father will always remain a Legend. I can say effortlessly, that I am the luckiest daughter in the world, to have been born as my father’s only child. I don’t think anything I ever say can explain how much he amazes me, and how much I respect him and admire him. To me, he will forever be the benchmark – I will always measure any man who is important enough to me, against my father.

And you know what? Honestly, the mockery, shame and embarrassment that I have had to deal with because I am not an IIT-IIM, or even remotely close, is an incredibly small price to pay for being the daughter of the wonderful man, the phenomenon that is MY father. I Love you, Papa, and I am SO proud to be YOUR daughter.

15 Words Of Wisdom (WOWs):

Smriti said...

I totally get how you feel. Being an only child can get a little pressurizing. But my dad will always be my hero too. I also feel like an under-achiever compared to him but I know that I'll be eternally thankful for all the good qualities I inherited from him. :)

JP said...

Hey, I didn't know you were an only child! I HAVE to give you credit for the introspective analysis that you have carried out - few people would have been able to do that at all, let alone on a public blog. I also admire you for the tribute that you have paid your father, and hope that he also reads this - he'll be doubly proud.. :) One thing I don't get, is how you didn't like physics and math :P.. kidding :)

soumya said...

o oooooo ooo ooo my my my. did u write this. hmmm very touchin misha.. Really stirred me up..But always remember one thing life is too short to ponder over trivial matters by comparing your life to any one ....you are precious in your own way....Dear Misha... So live to Love and be Loved... SRS

Kavita said...

Since i kno u very personally..i wud like to giv a very PERSONAL comment...so wht i wanted to say was...,(not undermining ur father's being an IIT-IIM) i belive d way u master d art of writing ur thots is at par with an IIT-IIM..not all IIT-IIM possess that...!! Also..I feel that U R VERY TALENTED..in your own which way..u are capable of doin things which even a combo of IIT and IIM can only thnk of..n i mus say..d excellence u portray in ur writing is as good as an IIT_IIM wud hav in physics or in ne other subject..!! KEEP IT UP....[:)]

Anshul said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anshul said...

Hmm... Just saw another side of u today. And it touched me. I just want to say here that a child father relationship is not a competition, never ever.So uncle being an IIT IIM is a different thing, you being an IBSian is a different thing. Children undoubtedly inherit qualities from their parents, but there should be no comparison specially on academic and career related stuff. U as a person are different and though u have many qualities that resemble ur parents, some qualities are unique to u. Only u have them. Nature is a funny thing. It gives each of us something unique. So u r unique in ur own sense. If u were an exact replica of ur father, or in that case everyone exact replica of their parents, where would the word EVOLUTION go.As far as ur friend's comment is concerned, I really do not agree with that. Saif's father was a brilliant cricketer, Saif is and actor. Doesn't mean he needs to be ashamed. U r unique in ur own sense, and all u need to do is keep ur parents happy. An IIT IIM is just a small part of life. What really matters is what keep u and ur family happy.

chandreyee said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chandreyee said...

Misha..being a daughter who adores her father is both good and bad..you have brought out both the sides at the same time...i must appreciate you because you have been able to compare yourself with your father very honestly and that too in a public forum..hats off to you sis.
It shows your love and respect for him..keep it up...

Polo said...

I realised I barely commment on your blog.
I just wanted to let you know that even though I don't leave comments, I read you everytime you have a new post up and love you more each time.
This by far is my favourite and the one that I relate to the most.
xx
P

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Anonymous said...

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Abhijit Kar said...

For Not Being The “IIM- IIT”

Going through your blog, I started feeling, perhaps, I, too, could have been also, the “IIM-IIT”, but learning about your beloved father, I could know many attributes which he possesses as ‘God Grace’ and you being the only daughter, the fittest ‘ONE’, had an aptitude to acquire all his qualities which makes you a perfect ‘PERSONALITY’.

The inner most blessings is that he has bestowed the simplicity in you, a capacity to look within, inculcated a boldness to open YOURSELF. To his views, having an expertise in Management & Technology, you had been able to be creative and manage yourself in the fields of Literature as well as Commerce.

This is because of the education as per your choice.

To me, you are an ideal daughter, essentially and a proud for your father. The entire family feels to be the luckiest to get you as the most affectionate daughter.

You may not be I-‘I-M’ BUT for Me, you are the ‘U’-‘U R’ having a skill of coming out of the confines of ‘I’-I’ ness and My- My’ ness, is a great transformation within.

Therefore, remember my ‘I’-‘I’ (is)-‘M’ (managed) and ‘I’(am)-‘I’ (Inetellectual)-‘T’ (Tatented). And not only that ‘I’ (am a)-‘B’ (Blessed)-‘S’ (Soul).

‘I’-‘B’ (BELIEVE in)- ‘S’ (SELF).

SO, …….. ‘U’ ARE THE ‘B’- BEST.