Let’s go back six years when I was in class 12th in Kota, preparing for IIT-JEE 2015. That year a school friend of mine also moved there, and he is one year younger than me. One day we were discussing Maths and Science streams, which subjects we liked and for which one we dreaded turning pages.
I boasted my performance in Maths and Physics in 10th class that motivated me to pursue IIT preparation. He bragged as a comeback, he was also good in these two subjects but opted to prepare for medical exams instead. That psyched me. No one does this kind of experiment. There must be an external force here. I couldn’t resist but ask:
“Why is your career not aligned with your interests? Why aren’t you pursuing something you really want?”
He said, “My dad (more explicitly, his dad’s elder brother is the decision maker in the joint-family) wants me to prepare for medical exams. He won’t allow me to go down the engineering path.”
That’s where he almost felt helpless, even cried. I could do nothing but provide my shoulder for his emotional breakout. I did suggest, but not force him to stand up and say to his decisive uncle to allow him in following his interest. That is a family issue, and you should never interfere in anyone’s unless you are a professional family therapist, because why would you? Don’t you have your own family to take care? Isn’t it challenging enough?
I just consoled him to flow with the situation, do what he is instructed and see if he can solve this problem in future. Because at that time he was 16, who would even give a damn to his opinion? Maybe when he is 25 years old, then he will have a confident attitude to stand up to anyone who would even dare to give him career or life advice. He might be able to convince his uncle too.
The realisation of family support
After this incident, I realised when looking at my condition, “What a supportive family I have!”. I was so busy in exam preparation those days that I rarely talked to my father. The frequency was, like, once a month. He is the only person who is sacrificing his life for my dreams, and I don’t even have time to talk to him every day! Yes, I was ashamed.
But after calming my friend, I realised we should never take love for granted. I called him a few days later, and we had one of the most prolonged talks ever. I talked about my friend’s situation too because we are family friends, how helpless he was, how we couldn’t help him even if we wanted to and how I am lucky to have the best family in the world. This gratitude is a way of seeking internal happiness.
The conversation was all about contentment and how our silent supporters show love with actions, instead of words of affirmation. I said “actions” because words mean nothing to my dad. He believes in actionable results, and why wouldn’t he, everyone has high expectations from their children.
Strong reflection from actions
Then a great thing happened yesterday. As I shifted my blogging routine to the morning and published my first morning-article yesterday, my father followed me on Medium. He never said that “What you are doing is phenomenal and change the world with your writing.” But that silent support is a way of telling all those things.
He supports me 100%, but he doesn’t need to say. His actions show his support. Everyone has a way of showing their love, and this is his style. We should appreciate our closed ones’ love language to empathise better with them and also with our close friends.
The same reflection flashed from 6 years ago, I called him again, and we talked for a long time. He even gave me some cooking ideas to try in quarantine. Let’s see how the cooking goes. But first, I should now increase my talking frequency with him. I have learned to live alone so well in the past seven years that I never need someone to vent, not even to my family. I just look at my achievements from the past that led me here and recalling the strong contextual memory associated with them gives the consolidated purpose to utilise the present moment while I still can.
Maybe the frequency is low because often we do not connect emotionally the way we connected with our mother (she passed away when I was seven years old), but there is nothing ice-breaker in saying “good morning” on the phone. I should start doing it more often because it can light up anyone’s day. It might have just done for you right now.
This blog belongs to a series of posts I am publishing in this 100-days streak. Today is day 24. Navigate to the end of article 22, which has the references from day 23 onwards. If you would like to read the ones before day 22, here is the first article that documents the ones from my 21-days streak.