parent of the month, PARENTING

The Biography of a Victorious Father

HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!! We truly treasure the fathers that make our family feel strong and complete. I am introducing today, one such rare FATHER. Read the story of this parent from his child’s narration and in the end, bask in the wisdom shared by this marvelous human being. Today, we are talking about Mwalimu Desai or in other words Mr. Raman Desai. (Mwalimu means Teacher in Ki-Swahili).

It is not like diamonds are found everywhere.  Precious things rare, so are precious people. 

Mwalimu Desai is a highly sought out person in Mwanza city (Tanzania country in Central East Africa) and immensely loved by the locals. Mind you, do not be fooled by his simple dressing – usually a pale white or brown pant with a simple T-shirt tucked into a black belt. The Kikapu (a little bamboo suitcase) and his white hat are a part of his signature dressing. As he passes the streets filled with hustle of several hundreds, watch his popularity wave by.

Behind the warmth of this soothing smile, is a man who has fought the worst battles of Parenthood in a span of over 2 decades; nightmares that can make our skin disown us and yet through the turbulence, he has managed to emerge victorious. He kept moving on through the rocky roads of life and demanded victory over each moment. Today his life may seem to be at a lot more at ease while he still continues to spread his down-to-earth generosity. Jan 15th of this year, he celebrated his 81st Birthday!

The crux of this biography is – “It is easy to survive through the toughest times but it is not easy to LIVE through life’s traumas, emerge victorious and yet continue to live with enthusiasm, modesty and selflessly”.

                                                                              HIS-STORY

Raman Desai experienced a sudden crash in his financial situation at the most crucial juncture of life. He had 2 kids, one who was 1 year old and other just 5. All of a sudden the roof over his head was ripped off, everything was lost, everything! Having 2 children to feed and a very simple salary to work off on, he knew, he had no choice but to STEER through his situation! For 25 years since then, he put his sweat and blood together to ensure that his children get EVERYTHING THAT THEY DESERVE. In that tough journey, he had the courage and companionship of the most important person – his Wife: Late Mrs. Vandana Desai.

                                              A MESSAGE FROM HIS SON

  • “Dad had a very basic salary. He would wear old clothes for several years, even patch them up so that they would last longer. It was a tough situation financially but dad and mom never brought those troubles to the forefront. They did their best to give us everything they could and always gave priority to our needs. They would work for 20 hours a day (with no exaggeration). Yes, 20 hours – day and night, cyclostyling; which they did for years! (*An ancient device for duplicating handwriting, in which a pen with a small toothed wheel pricks holes in a sheet of waxed paper, which is then used as a stencil). If you know how a cyclostyle works, it requires a lot of hand effort and doing that for so many hours each day sounds painful! 

  • This was just ‘One of the several jobs’ they did to make sure we had food to eat, clothes to wear and books to study from. In fact, I had a major illness as a child. I had severe asthama since age 4 till my 20s. I would get asthama attacks and my health would be down for days. Mom and Dad had to call the doctors in emergency several times, stay up late at night for days together. NEVER, NOT ONCE, did they complain for the long drooling hours of no sleep and the efforts they had to put in for my care. I knew I was strictly not allowed to eat certain things but I would be careless but still they stayed calm and accepting of me. It is phenomenal how affectionate, caring, and kind they were.
  • Dad gave us the best education. We had to be sent far for our education starting standard (Grade) 7th. It was a tough decision as expenses were higher with flight travels, abroad stays and lots of other challenges especially due to my health problems. We were some of lucky few children who were sent out of Mwanza city and in the States for higher studies. There were other parents in town who could very well afford it financially but they did not send their children. With my parents, it was the opposite situation. We literally went abroad with pennies in our pockets but my dad’s faith, his courage and his support did it for us! It was completely unimaginable and I still cant fathom how my parents did it.
  • Till date, I do not know how many LOANS he had taken over the years to put us through these schools;  he has NEVER told us or made us feel short. And today both me and my sister are well settled at such wonderful jobs and lives. We continue to follow my dad’s philosophy – he always taught us to be generous, kind and content with what we have. We were among the poorest in town but yet, my parents gave the most donations of food to the needy.
  • They taught us to give others even when we did not have enough to eat at home. They taught me to help others and they always PRACTICED WHAT THEY TAUGHT US. They also instilled in us the values of FAMILY LIFE. For several years they stayed awake and worked 19-20 hours a day, yet they would remove time to play games with us each evening. They also added a lot of fun and humor to our daily lives, it did not even make us realize what their sorrows were. And in spite of all those sorrows, they have always supported us in our endeavors and wishes.

                                        A MESSAGE FROM MWALIMU RAMAN DESAI

My (late) wife and I have never asked for any help. We worked day and night to raise our children in the right and the best way. And even when our children were small, they extended help to us. Yes, there were times when we argued and fought. It was not all rosy and easy. But love abided within us and in the end, we were one always! This is the greatest challenge of a parent – to teach unity and love to overcome all the small difficulties or faults that we see in life or each other. Our goal was to bring them up and give them the best type of education that they can lead a good life and help other needy people.

I hope other parents feel encouraged and inspired from this message. That is the purpose of me writing here. Consider your child as a lovely plant in the garden. The tree grows with time and only the one which is nurtured the best from inside, no matter what weather conditions were outside, bears fresh, fruits for years to come!”

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parent of the month

The Biography of a Devoted Father

This post and copyrights belong to Rima Desai

Parent of the month: Feb 2015, Part II

MR. PRADIP UNADKAT

pradeep uncle smaller size

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going”. Our parent today is an exemplary hero who adds breath to this proverb. Wading through the worst tides of life at an early phase of parenting, he was convinced that nothing took precedence over the well-being of his children.

Let us welcome Mr. Pradip Unadkat on our platform today as we celebrate his 59th Birthday on Feb. 27

Mr. Unadkat was born in Geita city of Tanzania country, East Africa. He grew up in Katunguru but the lack of finances refrained his education. With a stone on his heart, he began traveling to Mwanza daily to fetch money through work. Later he moved there permanently. At the age where other teens were talking fun and style, Mr. Unadkat had started full time work and with his blood and sweat, he built his business.

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Wishing you many more years of great health and happiness from Parenting Booth

 

A message from his son: Vineet Unadkat

My mother fell ill when we were very young. I was 8 years and my sister was 4 when she passed away. It was the darkest phase of our lives. Only someone who has lost a life-partner and a mother that early can understand the pain we all went through. Now that I am a parent, I can understand with more depth how dad must have endured the situation. I still remember the things he would do to make us happy. He did everything to ensure we don’t miss mom.

In fact, dad wanted to remain single but he realized that we both needed the love and care of a mother. Hence, for us, he remarried. This was very helpful to us because mom helped us learn moral values, be well mannered and she gave us the strength to fight against all odds. I can’t imagine growing up without her! Both Chandni and me are here today with mom’s unconditional love and support for all of us. Thank You dad for taking that step for us!

Dad also had to go through considerable financial hardships. Several nights he stayed up late to complete his work so that he could get his share of money to send us to school. It was only through his dedicated hard work that we completed our studies.

To fetch me a brighter future, he had to send me to another city for school and college studies. I was 15. This was the toughest decision on dad. Having lost his first wife, and then sending me away for studies was like another hollow at home but dad was tough as a rock. He knew he had to do whatever was needed for my progress. I lived with my uncle. It was only later that I realized dad and my mom had a play in large part to keeping up with my studies. For years, dad and mom sent several items to Uncle, including Pickles they made and Papad (thin, crispy lentil tortillas), in a way to repay what they owe.

If you know the Indian culture, pickles and papad are a very important part of our daily meals and hence considered a good trade. Making either of them is a tedious task.

                                                          

Special Qualities of Dad:

  1. Dad is the most helpful and generous person I know. He has dedicated his life to helping and serving others. He has helped several people in small and big ways. Mwanza is a closely-knit Indian community. Dad is one of the strongest pillars for others during their personal and during community’s cultural events. He attends to the guests, helps in serving food, and is also there to volunteer during medical trips or emergencies. Several times dad has left behind his work to help and serve others.
  2. Even though dad’s position was not financially strong to get my sister and me through our studies, he worked a lot more and ensured we complete our education. No words can express my gratitude for it.
  3. Dad is extremely forgiving by nature. Even if someone was mean, rude or did something very wrong, yet he would forget, forgive, and be helpful to that person.

“Dad from you I have learnt to be Patient. You have taught me that we will always get what we deserve and that everyone has to pay the price of his or her Karmas. Hence, I learnt from you to do good to others no matter what they do to me and as a result, ‘goodness’ will come back to me. I have applied this principle in my life and seen it work. You are amazing dad. I love you and I am proud to be your son! I am thankful to You and Mom for everything that you’ll have done for us.

A message from his daughter: Chandni Unadkat

When I was done with my school, I wanted to work but during those times, in my family girls weren’t allowed to work. Unlike other dads, my dad stood up for me, against the social norm and allowed me to work. He gave me the strength and became the biggest support of my life. In fact, due to dad’s support, I was able to contribute to the family in times of need, esp. when my brother was still struggling and trying to settle in USA. Every step of the way, my Dad has supported me, whether in my job or with the choice of my life partner. I was 4 when my mum passed away of cancer. These were the darkest days of dad’s life. Dad’s decision to remarry was tough for him but he did it selflessly, just for us. Being a girl and so young, he did not want me to be without a mother and because of that I feel my dad is a Hero. I love you Dad. You are my Hero, my best friend and God’s gift to me! I am blessed to have such wonderful parents in my life. Mom and You make our lives complete.”

Also read: https://mystyrimz.wordpress.com/2015/02/18/biographyofadedicatedparent/

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