Who am I?
Who are you?
This question is disquieting since time immemorial!
Am I the name people know me by ?
Am I what my parents call me hard headed, weak, adamant, helping, Naïve,
OR am I what my colleagues experienced me to be an arrogant, protective, sincere and committed person
OR am I what my friends think – strong, understanding, happy go lucky, short tempered, person who does his own thing and doesn’t listen to anyone
Or am I an understanding, doting, loving, supporting, father that my daughter believes me to be?
For 30 years I lived my life like this – a mix of all this – being what people thought of me in the various situations – being arrogant and being understanding, being patient and being short tempered, a good listener who doesn’t listen to people! (Surprise!!) A weak yet strong person.(Laugh)
Well is this me or are these my behaviours, behaviours which change as per the situation, or are these opinions of different people who hav,e experienced me in different circumstances!
I guess most of us live through our lives listening to and then having opinions, judgements about ourselves and living boxed in these.
Aman our son, was born in 2000, and within the first 3 years of his life I got the answer to Who I really am? And from that day my respect for being human, my respect for humanity altered.
So what really happened… What we – me and my wife, observed was unbelievable
From the start, say when Aman was about 1.5 – 2 years old, he wanted to do everything himself,
I can take my bath myself – and after about 40 min he would walk out of the bathroom with some soap on his face and the whole bathroom looking like a beach! –
I can make my own chapatti’s,.
He would take away the spoon from our hands literally saying I would eat on my own
His self esteem and self belief right up there
He would get into a car and sit on the driver seat.. very nonchalantly he would say – where do you want to go? – at 3 full of self confidence.
It wasn’t easy to keep him away from jumping into the pool, or holding on to a dogs tail while walking on the road – actually once he got a injured by a pet German shepherd while playing with him at a friend’s place – there was no word like fear in his dictionary
He would amaze us with his questioning ability – his questions would be innumerable and creative, the zest to know about everything and to explore everything was unstoppable.
And it was not just him – this revelation led me to observe 100’s and 1000’s of children and I could see it – it was staring in my face as a fact! – Everyone born with all these powers! – self confidence, self esteem, fearless, inquisitive, exploring, not giving up, self expressed!! Some of these very apparent and some trying to shine through the clouds of experiences that had suppressed them…. To put it in my daughter words ‘ main kuch bhi kar sakti hoon’
And here I was for 30 years of my life I had been collecting labels and it was the labels who were living my life. A good boy, I will do it my way son, a caring, loving and yet short tempered husband, a happy go lucky friend, a sincere, honest, truthful employee.
Things happened and people around me gave judgments – arrogant, hard headed, Naïve, protective, strong, weak, caring, patient, short tempered etc.. and then I lived my life through those judgments.
When I could see them as labels – put on me – I got the power to take them away. It was an amazing experience! A rebirth.
And let me tell you – It wasn’t easy – it took years of practice and persistency – falling back into the box and taking them off again and again and again. and as time progressed these seem to loose their stickiness.
But I can tell you even now this simple method of taking these labels off is giving me goose pimples, it’s a whole new experience!
A rebirth of a no-limit person – with labels – but with the insignificance of the labels!
Things I couldn’t have done / or even imagined doing became possible.
The biggest impact was on my self expression. From being a person who would dare not open his mouth in front of a group or authority, even as a VP of a multi national the management meetings and presentations were an ordeal. To someone who was free to speak up in front of huge crowds, strangers.. speaking at conferences and seminars From my teachers and school mates hadnt heard my voice to being called to being on TEDx talks
I even had the courage to leave my job at the helm of my career and create a fresh start by setting up Parwarish institute of parenting, going against the grain and making it happen, just not giving up despite all odds.
Each day of life is like a new day in life waiting to be explored and experienced. A day of growth, learning, falls and fun.. with the zest of a 3 year old and an experience of a 47 year old
It’s impacted every aspect of life and experience of life is transformed.
I Dream with my eyes open now! I dreamt to make a difference to every child. I say to myself how can I sleep when I have woken up to life. Thanks you Aman for giving Birth to a father!