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Recently, just before Father’s Day, I received an email from an international website reminding to me to send a gift to my dad like I do every year on the day. That led me to three clear realizations.

1. Father’s Day was just around the corner

2. I used to send gifts to my dad every Father’s Day whenever I lived outside India

3. Now, my gifts have reduced to mere food deliveries from Swiggy or Zomato ever since I moved closer to my dad and once again share the same country code with him.

Burdened with the guilt of sending mediocre gifts to my dad and to compensate for it, I decided to celebrate the spirit of Father’s Day by writing about every gift that Daddy Dearest has ever given me. My father was one of the first in his family to have the privilege of going to a school (albeit below average) and then to a good college to educate himself. He didn’t allow his circumstances to dictate his future or that of his family. So, his first gift to me was education. He pulled every string he could to arrange for immediate money to finance quality education for all his children. He put me into one of the best schools in Delhi in those days. I would like to say that I made the best of that opportunity, but I know I could have done a better job. Yet he is proud of me. Fathers, I tell you!

His second gift to me again was education, but this time around it was higher education. I told him I was interested in finance and that I wanted to run a business. My brother suggested that I move to the US to study and my dad agreed without batting an eyelid. In hindsight, though it seemed unnecessary and expensive, my father didn’t think twice about how things would play out. I believe I did a lot more justice to this gift by doing everything right, getting straight As in classes and bagging one of the highest paying jobs during campus interviews.

His next gift to me also came out of the unbound love a father has for his child. I didn’t enjoy that high paying job one bit. My dad’s third gift to me was confidence. I quit a job that would have given me a life that most people only dream of. I had no clue where life would take me from there, but I knew jobs weren’t for me. He watched me move back to India without a plan. He must have been terrified for me, but he didn’t let it show.

His final gift (and by far the best) to me till date is upliftment. It didn’t come with the first job I quit. I tried working again in India, but I couldn’t. I went through some really hard times, sailing through failed start-ups. But he was of the belief that money only has as much value as you believe it to have. As I grew older and wiser (if I may), I have realized the true meaning of what my father said. It doesn’t mean that money is not important. It means that money will create a bigger impact if you get it from a source that you believe in. If you don’t like the job that pays you well, your monthly pay cheque can only buy you fleeting happiness. However, even if something you truly believe in pays you just a little, you live a far more satisfying life every day.

This Father’s Day, I felt truly thankful to my dad for all the gifts he showered on me and for allowing me to be myself. Today I am an entrepreneur and take pride in what I do.

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