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Parent of the Month (July 2015): Deepak Chheda: aka ‘BHAISHREE’
“The waves of the sea tide high and low to test the strengths within you. They rise up high to see if you can fly when you cannot swim. They bow down low when they know that you shall glow even through a whole bunch of grey clouds!” ~ Dedicated to Dad by Rima D.
It is tough enough to be a Parent, think of being a Single Parent to two young girls with no real career or earning to begin with. In a NEED TO GET INSPIRED?! Read how this parent fearlessly faced all the challenges that life hunted him with…
Dad was just about to be 34 years when Mom’s sudden demise struck him with immense shock and grief. Then, he had an older daughter at 9 years and me at 6 years. Call it trauma or chaos, he not only had two daughters to care for but also an immense financial burden.
I still remember the day when I was wondering why people all around me are all dressed in white and why they are all crying. What would I understand at 6 years of age? One of the following day, there was an exaggerated silence in our extended living room. Dad was sitting quiet on the 2-3 seater sofa we had – the only furniture that accompanied the long room. Everything seemed empty, not only our hearts, but also our home, and it felt like even the dead living room was crying to be more ‘busy’. I was wearing my white and red two-piece night dress with red hearts on the pockets, beautiful frills. It was my favorite dress. I asked dad – “Where is mom?” He sat there with no response. I can only imagine, how life’s painful demands must have blown upon dad like a loud, commanding trumpet that shakes us from our dearest dream. But he made it through…!
I have seen Dad take heavy loans in an attempt to give us just basic living. We lived in a huge home which was granted by grandpa but besides of that, we literally struggled for even basic clothes or good food. People judged us from the home we had and thought we were rich. We also lived in a suburb that belonged to the elite class since grandpa built his home there and we had cousins that were truly very well off. Our family was socially knit and religiously driven. Hence we had several rituals to attend many times in a month and when all of this is put together, dad had a lot to keep up to: The worry of building his business from scratch, educating his daughters while on a heavy loan, having someone take care of us after school (since school ended by 1pm); get us enough clothes to keep up with the family and religious rituals, have maids to help us with house work – which was always a huge challenge, and a lot more… I remember his tears and worry when his very own close family members wanted to snatch our home and have us come on the streets. Dad had a legal battle to win to save his two daughters from being homeless, I remember that day when, the little child became his parent and said – “It will be okay dad” but inside my heart, I was hurt, scared, in anger. I remember tons of days of darkness, sadness, struggles in our lives where dad had to fight many social, emotional and financial battles…
I am honored to have learnt some amazing things from dad:
Excellent Organizational Skills: Until date, I haven’t met anyone who can beat dad in his organizational skills.
Social Skills: Over the years, I saw dad as very sociable. He was friendly, helpful and was quick to make them feel comfortable and good about themselves.
Hard work and the value of being Responsible: Maybe there are people more hardworking than my dad or maybe there aren’t! I cannot owe him enough to teach me this important value. Dad gave his best swim across the tough tides of life. He never backed from his responsibilities even when he had several strong enemies in his business and life. I witnessed him face them all with great courage.
God-fearing and religious – Dad exposed us to deep religious knowledge of Jainism and its rituals. Sometimes it felt like it was too much for a child but today I cherish those experiences and knowledge. It has imparted great wisdom and strength into me. He believed in God and taught us values like being kind, never eat animals, etc.. By belief in God and by modelling courage, he taught us to be Brave and Optimistic in life.
Skills with Kids: Dad is just super with kids. He did great in having cousins stay overnight, arranging games and activities with them, teaching us in fun yet educational ways, entertaining the younger tots, etc. I subconsciously learnt a lot about playing with kids by watching dad over the years.
Have the Faith: Dad taught without the use of words, that having faith and having an optimistic ‘expectation’ out of Life, always leads us to a ‘good’ place. He always taught me – “Never fear”.
Strong cultural roots: I learnt to interact with elders, be courteous, be rooted to my homeland, to my religion, culture, be curious of other cultures, etc all from dad through his wise advices and by observing him.
- Business Skills: I have observed him to be an honest, fierce and powerful businessman.
I have learnt a lot from him and still continue to. No parent is perfect and no parent should be, because all that matters if we are bonded with ‘Love’. Love makes it Perfect.
“Dad I am Honored for all that I have learnt from you. You deserve all the success that is coming to You for Jee and me know how much you have invested into us and into life! We love You Unconditionally and so do your Grand-children”. Also, a Big Thank You to Jinal di for participating in this and for being a great sister through and through all the years till now”.
Elder Daughter: JINAL
“Whatever I am today is only and only because of my Father. A highly organized person and extremely dedicated to his duties he has brought us up in a very cultured and disciplined environment. Playing the role of a mother and father is not easy. We have seen hardships he has faced in order to raise us so diligently. Spiritual and honest in his ways, he has given us a strong base to face the outside world. He always wears a smile and his simplicity adds a charm to his personality.
He can be like a child with his grandchildren and mold himself easily to his surroundings. Words are not enough to say or justify what I owe to him. Also Dad, Sarthak receives so much joy learning and playing with you”.
Dad continues to live independently by himself since 9 years now. He is as active as before but is living a simpler and a much more religious life now. He is now fiercely active in the Jain religious spectrum with his organization https://www.facebook.com/pages/International-Jain-Foundation-IJF-Mumbai/He is working towards creating more awareness of and support for the Jain Sect. His recent, Jain event in Mumbai was embraced with a huge sucess. He is commonly and respectfully referred to as ‘Bhaishree’ by all who know him in recognition of the work he is doing for the Jain Community. This name has been ‘gifted’ to him by a Jain Monk.
2 thoughts on “The Biography of a Fearless Parent”
That was a very emotional writeup. Perhaps you overdid it. But I am honoured.
But more important – I find both of you highly matured and concerned parents yourself.
God bless you both.
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