These are men who have moulded me, men who have shaped me, who have weakened me, who have strenthened me.
And once I am able to write about them, I will also write about their women - their mothers, sisters, wives, girlfriends, even aunts, and their reaction towards my presence in these men's lives and their presence in mine.
Let's begin with the first set of men - men in immediate family. What better man to start with except the man who brought me into this world. My father !
My father lives healthy at an age of almost 56 (I'm not a bad daughter, but I can't remember birthdays, even those of the immediate family). He's employed, functional, an academic in his own right.
A man of very few words at some times and almost verbiloquous at others, we're talking of a man of deeper and more profound thought than many other men I've seen. We're talking about a man who deeply believed in nurturing kids and human lives.
We're talking of a young father who spares 1/6th of his salary towards his children's reading and music training, a father who spends 95 % of his time outside his job with his children, a father who sets the priority right. Education followed by diet followed by clothing and shelter followed by luxury.
We're talking of a father who also has siblings without children or siblings who aren't married. A father who wants his children to not be brainwashed and yet be able to give pleasure to the extended family, children who are proud but not egoistic, children who are vocal but not loquacious.
We're talking of a father, who doesn't treat his children like property, who is able to talk about sex as openly as he is able to talk about work or music or studies. We're talking of a deeply spiritual person who is capable of questioning the dogma. We're talking of a person who has inculcated both leadership as well as follower qualities in his children, who has focused on moral science and ethics more than the focus on Business Administration or accounting or biology.
A father who says that people should study science because it gives you an approach to study and arts because it gives you an approach to life, cannot be a common man no matter how common he is.
Of course he's a human being, of course there are planning issues (no one can plan their and their children's lives to the t), of course there are temperamental weaknesses, but we are talking of love, affection, responsibility and a VERY STRONG desire to give the children a good life.
And that should tell you why I am the kind of headstrong and yet family-oriented woman that I am !
Today when I am 31, I know this one Man has made ALL the difference !
Thank you papa!
©Anupama Garg 2015 July