What should a role model be like?
I have been very blessed in my life to be acquainted with some wonderful people. Many friends, family, colleagues, helps and all other people whom I have encountered in various spheres of my life have had profound impacts on my through their thoughts, values and actions. After each of these interactions, I have come out affected in beautiful positive ways, grown as a person and learnt immensely.
Two of such people in life, currently, are my cook and her husband. Simple, unpretentious and kind, both of them are great people that I have had the pleasure of knowing. Especially my cook’s husband is an exemplary man, to whom I want to dedicate this post. This is the only picture I managed to find of him unfortunately – this was a day when he had come home with his family and we had clicked a group picture without much posing or planning.
So, who is he?
Narayan, is a fifty year old man. He is a carpenter by profession and lives in a small neighborhood. He has two children, both grown up. His daughter is studying at a commerce college and his son is in between odd jobs after dropping out of college. His wife cooks food in a couple of houses around.
What is his life like?
He gets up in the morning at 6 AM, gets ready and eats breakfast prepared by his wife. He is out for work by 7AM – he works at a small construction company where he does a lot of work related to woodwork and carpentry. He returns home by 8 PM at night, has dinner by 8:30 and spends time talking to his family. He is off to bed by 10 PM.
What’s exemplary about him?
Out of the meager money that he makes (he is a school drop-out with not many occupational skills), he has somehow managed to secure for his family the basics required for a comfortable living. Though they have never managed to buy their own house, they live in small rented place which has the basic furniture and appliances. He wants his children the get the best of education and tries to encourage them to study well. Though his son has dropped out, citing lack of interest, he still strives to help his son earn some skills that will secure him reasonable employment. His daughter, who is the apple of his eye, is a hard working and diligent student.
While his wife has taken up cooking jobs to supplement his income, I have never seen Narayan put any pressure on her to work a certain way or amount, to run the house in a certain manner or conduct herself with predefined rules. When she is upset over something, he rather tries to cheer her up by trying to trivialize the matter. When she is unwell, he himself calls me up and says she should be taking rest today and apologizes that she will be unable to cook. When his son leaves yet another job, he maintains his calm and tries to keep his emotions to himself.
Why do I think of him as my role model?
While, it’s a natural instinct that parents have to give their children a good life, it is something else to be wholeheartedly unconditional about it. Parents usually give up on dreams or hopes for the sake of their children’s dreams. But very few parents try to put themselves in their children’s shoes and understand the reason behind decisions taken by then. I see a lot of parents from all financial and social backgrounds putting pressure on their children to take up certain professions / subjects / lifestyles etc – and they do it by saying “I gave up everything for you” or “I sacrificed my entire life for you”. This is nothing but a form of blackmail.
Truly these parents love their children and want to make sure they live a good life, it is their own biases, opinions and knowledge that is being forced on the children many times. Narayanan, always encourages his children to follow their own dreams. Despite his humble background, education and world knowledge, he has a very progressive and wise outlook towards life in general. He believes in following the established societal customs and inheriting the good out of the wisdom that has been passed by our predecessors, but he believes in analyzing that information for what is valid and what is not. He believes in questioning the facts and deciding for himself what is right or wrong, what applies and what doesn’t. And that wonderful and excellent quality is something that helps his children.
He makes a difference!
I believe that we can idolize many different people for different admirable qualities that each of them may have. I idolize Narayan for his warmth, kindness and passion towards his family. I feel that he lives his life with utmost integrity and the right values. Unassuming and generous, he is not looking for appreciation and that's what makes him truly special and worth celebrating! I would love to imbibe some of his warmth and kindness too :)