Sometimes you need something big and horrifying to shake you up, uproot you and make you re evaluate literally everything that defines your life. Everything that you believed in, your goals, your vision for your future, the meaning of your past and everything else in between.My turn to face that big horrifying moment had come. It was May 2021. When all hell let lose. My world fell apart. And I was suddenly lost trying to grapple at what remained.
I lost my father.
My worst nightmare had come true. He was the healthiest and the most disciplined man I had ever seen and even he couldn’t escape his fate. The story of his life that was not written by him, dictated by the Universe. Yet another casualty of the pandemic. It all happened so suddenly that, my mother and I just could’t fathom that he is no more < passed on>. It was the worst time in my life. My mother also covid positive at the time, recovered after a month only to realize that a part of her had died forever.
Our lives had all so suddenly changed forever.
As a family, my mother, my father and I have always been close knit. We shared everything with each other. We had our silly fights, stood our ground about our opinions, were open- minded to hear each other out, poked our noses into each others lives incessantly (welcome to every Indian Family) but always always had each others back. We were dependent on each other and prioritized the time we spent with each other. Family, love, compassion and the unwavering support.
I am so grateful to my parents, because they sacrificed a lot in life to make me who I am today. They prioritized my happiness, my wellness and my growth over everything else. Coming from a middle class family, our values were extremely grounded. My parents gave up so many things for me to succeed. They kept adding dreams to their buckets, the time for which was not now. ‘The time shall come’, they would say. ‘When you have settled down, when you finish masters, when you get a stable job, when you get married and so on..’ It was an endless list of reasons to postpone the things they wanted to do together. The things they wanted us to do as a family together.
And sadly thats what made sense the most to them. They paid for my under grad, helped me get a loan for my masters, make sure that their future is secure, their health is secure and a million other things that all took precedent over their dreams.
I moved out of home for my under grad within India and then moved to the US for my masters and life was going exactly how my parents had planned it. Their daughter was a good kid, focussed in her career, obedient, education in one of the top schools, top colleges and now ready to graduate from a prestigious university in the US. Sometimes I wonder, if it was a dream come true for me or my parents. But anyway, too late to contemplate that I guess. I had booked my parents tickets for July 2021. They were excited, I was excited, life was great minus the regular pressure of school finances, friendships, “relationships”, mental health and yada yada… you know how it is.
We are so busy focussing on our future that we forget what we have today. The food on our plates, the shelter, the good sleep, the fact that we made it through yet another day, and we especially forgot that he have each other.And suddenly out of nowhere, my dad passes away. Everything had changed. We no longer had each other. All we have is a bucket full of dreams and lots of questions about where all the time went. All my parents plans just shattered in one night. My life plans that my parents had made just got thrown out of the window. I had never imagined how life would be without a parent. And suddenly I was living it. I didn’t get time to grieve, collect my thoughts, figure out what was happening or anything. I was suddenly handed this extremely heavy and precious rock which I had to carry and protect at all cost. I had to brave up and be there for my mother who had lost her entire world. A whole new milestone had began for the rest of my life.
I didn’t have the privilege of spending quality time with my father as an adult. You know, the time when you know “things”, and he knows that you know “things” and you know that he knows that you know “things”. My father was a quiet man, he said just as much was necessary, was very content in life, always in a good mood, smiling, warm and welcoming. He had no qualms about life. He minded his own business, never raised his voice, took care of himself, independent and had some crazy level of self control in life. He was the epitome of the buddhist way of following the middle path in all aspects of his life - food, fitness, knowledge, emotions and spirituality. But alas in spite of all this, his destiny allowed him only so many experiences in this lifetime. He also didn’t have the privilege to know the adult me. See me drive, eat the food I cooked, see me take care of myself, be financially independent and play some chess with me, have intellectual conversation with me, argue about why boyfriend was the perfect guy(at the time :P), watch some regional comedy movies and just enjoy some quality time knowing that he has done the very best in life and his daughter turned out pretty great.
Talking about boyfriend, my boyfriend at the time who also I should credit to have acted as another catalyst to this more evolved journey. My view of life until then was pretty straight forward. My childhood, circumstances and economic status only allowed me to dream about certain things. For some reason, my dreams and career came with an asterisk which indicated that it was only applicable if it came with stability and the lowest risk of failure. So in spite of my dreams of making a career traveling or dancing or writing or as an artist, I had to choose the typical path. Join the rat race and follow the herd. And I have come to realize that at some level this is not wrong, but in the process of running the race, we forget some things.
Coming from a different family, different childhood, different circumstances and just different view of life he was suddenly nudging me towards a life which is more present. He showed me a way of life which was far from what my parents had planned for me, or what I had imagined for myself. But it was definitely something along the lines of what I had dreamt. I am grateful to him, as he planted the seed of dreaming beyond my constraints and owning my life. Break the barriers of economic status, financial stability, family responsibilities and pressure on the future which we have no control over.And after we broke up, suddenly I was alone, back on the drivers seat of my life, with no new clarity, no direction and absolutely no stability. It took losing my father, my boyfriend, and myself to escape from the mundane understanding of life and to set myself free.
Between the opportunities that my parents lost, waiting for the right time, the opportunities that my ex- boyfriend was seizing in the present, and my place at the eye of the cyclone, a new journey was beginning.
After struggling to stand on shaking pillars of values, being lost and frustrated, unsatisfied with the things i spent my energy and time on, for almost 2 years, I am now slowly beginning to find myself again. Traveling and new experiences have really helped me find ground, regrow my roots and redefine my values in a new way. Though I haven’t yet found my purpose, I have learnt to embrace the uncertainties in life, the journey and the story as it unfolds. I have uncovered a new path led by duties and being present to experience life. Making each day worth becoming the best possible story
This is my journey and wanted to share my experiences and learnings along the way!!
Cheers to this bitter sweet beginning!