Letter to my unborn child...

Dear child,

You will be here in a few days and I feel completely unprepared. I was, what I like to call "baby ready" right out of engineering college. I had begun liking kids and couldnt wait to have my own. I waited 8 years for you to come in my life. And now that you are almost here, I feel completely unprepared.

I have no idea if I would make a good father. I was lucky to have a really great set of parents. They let me take my own decisions, let me make mistakes occasionally, form my own opinions, in short, they let me be, well, me. What else are good parents supposed to do if not this? There is no set Key Result Areas for parents. There are no finishing schools, no second chances (per kid). My parents I think did a good job. And still, there were times when I was really mad at them. Maybe it is a sign of growing up or something. Maybe there comes a time when you realise that for the halo our society creates around one's parents, they are after all human and they are susceptible to mistakes too.

I guess, this is the reason why I am writing to you even before you are born. I hope that when you read this at 13, this letter will be still written by your 29 year old father. And maybe he might be more understanding than your 42 year old father who has salt and pepper hair and who your girlfriends think looks like George Clooney.

I am also writing to apologise in advance. I am going to push my dreams onto your shoulder. No matter how good a father I try to be, I might sneak in a few words about IIT and how you should try and get into engineering and how MIT has the best labs and you should work there etc. I am telling you now - I will love you no matter what college you go to or what you decide to be in life.

Interesting people, I have found, do only two things - They either create something or solve problems. The really interesting ones do both. If you are doing this, you are doing life right. Your looks wont matter, what car you drive or where you live wont matter. It doesnt matter what your friends say, or your relatives or even what I say. Being happy matters. Being happy is an art and like every art form, it get better with practice.

Your mother and I love you very much. We already love you, even before you are born. We loved you even before you were conceived. You know what? I was 14 when I first met your mother. And she was just 13. It must be funny imagining you parents to be little, no? I remember saying to myself that she had the prettiest brown eyes I had ever seen. I also remember thinking that she would make a good mother. Amazing no? That the 14 year old me would feel that a 13 year old girl will make a good mother? But tell you what, in all the years that I have known her, my belief in her has only strengthened.

I wish I could insulate you from all that is wrong in this world. But I wont be able to do that. Come to think of it, maybe that is not a father's job. A father's job is to guide, I think, not cajole. If you find this to be incorrect, please let me know. There are going to be times in your life when you wouldnt know what you are doing with your life and where is your life going. Everybody will tell you to do what you love. But no one will tell you how to find what you love. I am sorry I cant tell you that either. Only you can find love, in work and otherwise. One trick that I have found is to listen to your heart more than your mind. Your mind is plagued with what they show on TV and what they write in the papers. Listen to what your elders say, including myself. But dont buy everything we say. Most 30 year olds I know dont know what the hell are they talking about. Extrapolate that to all other age groups. But do listen to elders and ask them questions. This is the only way to gain experience without experience.

We are people pleasers, your mom and I. There are very few who dont like me and I dont think any person in their right frame of mind would dislike your mom. Being likeable is not the same as people pleasing. Refrain from picking up that habit from your parents.

Make mistakes. It's very important.It's okay to fail at things. It is not okay however to not give your best. Think about it, if everyone halfassed everything what would the world be like?

Those who say luck doesnt matter are lying. But over time, I have found, luck evens out. Once luck evens out, only hard work stands tall. There is no substitute to hard work. At the same time, not everyone, no matter how hard working succeeds at everything. Faraday, found out the relationship between Electricity, Magnetism and light. One has to have some divine intervention to find that, I feel. But when Faraday was made to work in a glass manufacturing lab by his jealous boss, he failed miserably for 4 years! You might not succeed at everything. But succeeding at everything is not the aim of life.

Some of your friends are going to have better parents, maybe more educated or who earn more than us or they have better toys or have a good looking boyfriend/girlfriend. You dont know their story. You havent walked in their shoes. Dont be jealous. If you learn to do that, teach me how.

In closing, all I want for you if good health and a good life. Happiness and joy. Experiences and lots of trials and errors. Lots of love and an honest heart, my child, will lead you a long way.

Lovingly,
Daddy.



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4 letters to the editor:

    Beautifully written and many congratulations!

    Can't help but hope your child becomes a writer. She / he will definitely have the genes for that :)

    On January 15, 2015 at 12:51 PM     
    S said...

    I went all 'awwww' while reading this letter. Parenthood making you mushy? :)

    It felt like reading the Sunscreen song :)

    Happy new year, by the way. And congratulations for the baby.

    S

    Dear Arshat,
    Very well written piece. I found this letter unique and interesting. Unique, because it is written to an entity that is still taking shape. Interesting as the reader enjoys from start to the end. It also showcased the way you think. They say ‘the clarity of expression comes from clarity of thought, which in turn is derived from the clarity of purpose’. I wish to congratulate you for succeeding in this endeavour.
    I like your observations like “Being happy is an art and like every art form, it get better with practice.”, “But do listen to elders and ask them questions. This is the only way to gain experience without experience.” “Being likeable is not the same as people pleasing.” “But succeeding at everything is not the aim of life.”
    Your praising (paras 6, 8) the mother of your “would be” child serves an secondary purpose as well.
    Third paragraph smelled your assumption of a male child that I suppose was unintentional. Also many places apostrophe was missing (don’t, won’t etc).
    Love & best of luck to both of you parents,
    Mama

    On March 11, 2015 at 3:36 PM     
    Reetika said...

    So heartening to know that men like you exist in reality! You really couldn't wait to be a father... I have never seen a man with such strong parental instincts.. You are a blessing to those around you and an inspiration for many parents to-be by way of your positive spirit. You WILL be a great parent!! God bless your child and the whole family

    Reetika