We live in a society, where many parents are still obsessed with ‘log kya kahengey’? It is sad how they choose to please their relatives than their own kids. They are so bothered by what people will say that they don’t hesitate to sacrifice their kids’ dreams. From education to job to marriage, many parents force their kids to make a choice that pleases their relatives and society in general. And, what is even sadder is how even well-educated and rich parents don’t shy away from falling into this regressive mindset.
But, recently, we stumbled over a heartwarming story of a father, who stood for his daughter against his own relatives. He didn’t shy away from cutting down toxic people from his life just because they wanted her daughter to give up her dreams and follow regressive social norms. He not only shut the society but also encouraged her daughter to spread her wings to fly.
A proud daughter spoke to HoB and shared the story about her inspiring father – who refused to bow down to a regressive mindset and let his daughter fly.
While talking about her difficult childhood, this daughter mentioned how she was raised in a poor household and was ashamed of her father’s profession initially.
“As a kid, I felt ashamed of my father. He worked at a small shop on the side of the road, fixing people’s gas stoves and cookers. We lived in Supaul, a small town in Bihar. All we had was a kacha house, and a mitti ka angaan outside. And we ate the same thing most of the days–roti, onions, and achaar. Amma sewed clothes to help our family sustain. I wore Bhaiyya’s old clothes to school and wrote in my same old notebook every year, while other kids got fancy new Navneet books. I’d be mortified.”
While she may be ashamed of her father’s profession, her father was no less than a real hero!
“At 10, I was asked to write an essay on ‘family’. I simply wrote, ‘Bauji is a businessman, and Amma is a tailor.’ And that’s also how I introduced my parents to everyone. One day, during an argument, a boy said, ‘Tere baap ki paan ki dukaan hai, don’t fly.’ I ran home crying, and told Bauji, ‘Why can’t you work at an office?’ He wiped my tears, and said, ‘Money isn’t everything in life.’ But back then, I didn’t realise the value of his words.”
She realized the value of her dad, when, unlike other fathers, he fought against his own relatives for her dreams!
“What kept me going everyday was my hunger for knowledge; but society couldn’t digest that. And over time, I realised how much Bauji defended me! When relatives pointed out that I was ‘too’ loud, or too into my studies, Bauji would stop talking to them. Girls in my city with well-to-do fathers were married off after 10th, but my Bauji was busy saving for my higher studies.”
She further shared how he gave her some of the best life lessons on equality, courage and strength.
“He even taught me that there was no difference between men and women. While girls in my area went to cooking classes, my father cooked for us. I realised that I had something none of them had–a father who cared about my dreams. It changed the way I looked at him. I felt proud to be his daughter! I started wearing my old uniform with pride, and happily used my torn books. And when I decided to get my masters in Pondicherry, people said, ‘Why waste money? Marry her off!’ But Bauji just supported me.”
While people were spreading rumours about her, she was busy achieving new milestones.
“Over the next 2 years, people in my village spread rumours about me. ‘She probably got pregnant and ran away.’ But, instead of getting offended, I’d laugh–Bauji had taught me that. And he taught me how to be confident, too. I still remember, the first time I anchored an event in my neighbourhood, I was so nervous. I told him, ‘I can’t do it.’ But he said, ‘Just picture everyone in the audience as a sack of potatoes.’ I laughed and killed it on stage. Since then, I’ve only moved up in life. From performing guest lectures at universities to sharing my life at a TEDx, ‘the sack of potatoes’ has worked for me! And when I spoke on the TEDx platform, Bauji couldn’t attend, so he bought a television just to watch me! Today, I’m completing my PhD, and working as a Diversity Trainer & Researcher. And if you ever meet Bauji? He’ll tell you all about it with his head held high!”
Concluding her father’s inspiring story, she mentioned:
“Now, I do my best to spoil him. Every time I gift him a new shirt or a watch, Bauji says, ‘Beta, don’t waste your money on me!’ But how do I tell him–the little girl who was once ashamed of being a Paanwala’s daughter, is ready to place the world at his feet!”
At IFORHER, we are in awe of such an inspiring father. Hope many more parents would seek inspiration from him and take a stand for their kids. Because if they don’t who will? What do you think about this inspiring story? Tell us in the comments below!