14 February, 2014.
Toady, I turned 50. The half-century mark in my life. My golden jubilee year. I probably didn't even realize in the year in which I crossed the exact half of my life span, that in those exact same number of years into the future, I would bid farewell to this world and to my physical existence. Life is so short when you think about it and we still take so long to actually reflect on our temporary existence in this realm.
On my fiftieth, I have chosen peace and quiet. Some time alone, just to reflect. To rewind into the exciting life that I have led and to evaluate my failures and successes as a human being. To begin on a happy note, I want to think about all of my successes, both material and spiritual. I am happy, thankful and grateful for the following:
Meeting and marrying the most incredible woman who is till date my best friend and partner in all things good. I share each and every aspect of my growth and prosperity with her. I am eternally grateful for her constant support and love.
Taking risks and grabbing on to opportunities at the right time. Our escape to Jubail opened up a string of good luck and success for us, both financially and socially.
Being a constant presence in the life of our son, for guiding him consistently and for showing him the right path. We may have been slightly interfering as parents (as opposed to regular parents) but today, he thanks us for it. He is successful and well settled.
For building a home and connections abroad as well as in our home town; for all the luxury of our lifestyle and for saving up enough for generations to come.
For being able to sit and write down today, that I am a truly happy and contented man.
I don't think of any singular instance in my life as a failure but instead, as a learning opportunity. Looking back, I feel that I have learnt a lot along the way and that if I had the opportunity to go back to my old self, these are the things I would do differently:
I would definitely stand up to my parents from a young age and tell them what they were doing wrong. I'd let them know that I wasn't happy with the way they took me for granted as a child. I would actually tell my mother when I was hungry. I would refuse to let them get in the way of my marriage. No child deserves to endure neglect at the hands of parents.
I would cut off all ties with the people who consistently tried to put me down in the early stages of my life and understand that they shouldn't be affecting me. I would never give anybody the right to define who I am and what I am capable of achieving. I would channelize my hate to positivity and growth instead of competition and the desire to prove myself at every turn.
I would stop Latha from being too strict with our son. I would slowly advice her that it wasn't really necessary to control his every move, every minute of the day. She understands this today, when we talk about it. She realizes that it was all a little too much because she was a young mother who was too scared to make mistakes. This kind of fear leads to another set of mistakes on the part of the parents, eventually. I guess this is something we would both tell our former selves.
I would correct my son whenever he was rude to his parents and try to make him see the vision that we shared for his future. It would only be a matter of time before things fell into place.
I realize that I have been to my nephew Vishnu, what Kannettan (his father) was once to me. I should have channelized his father's negativity out of my system and at least treated the kid with indifference. I may have been too involved in proving my own son's superiority at all times. What others do with their children should really not be my concern but in this particular case, all the hurt and hate from my past treatment at the hands of this man made me a constant spy of his failures and weaknesses. I channelized a lot of my time and energy into proving (mostly to myself) that I had done a better job at parenting. Unfortunately, an innocent boy had to be at the receiving end. This is what happens when people spread negativity around you. If I could go back into the past, I would try to stay away from that whole family so that their negativity does not creep into my life.
Human beings learn to thrive and survive. And it's not up to us to judge from a distance and bet on who is going to be successful in the end. 25 years ago, I wouldn't have even imagined all this. I'd never believe it if someone from the future came up to me and told me that I'd own a wonderful home in the city and have proper retirement plans and lead a life of luxury and wealth. We just have to leave tings to time and luck. And with hard-work, everything is possible. That's my only advice to the future generations. And if you're as lucky as I am, you can look back at your life when you're 50 years old and think, "No regrets!".
Read Part 1 of this collection here