I knew a man, a magnanimous sort of man, who found freedom in so many ways through his way of being and actions.
He was born in a small village, in a small mud house, in which he and his three siblings, along with his parents and their cow and goats, resided.
He was the youngest of the lot, and although small in stature he was one of the leaders of his immediate family circle. His father was a poor farmer who believed in the old ways of raising his sons.
As the little boy grew up into a young man and exceeded in school with ultimately a Civil Engineering Degree, he moved from India to boldly venture out in the world and stake his claim in a foreign country, England.
I often wonder what thoughts must have run through my father’s mind as he moved to a new land and met obstacles he had to overcome. He managed to earn enough money for an airplane ticket and gathered his belongings, and with his father’s best wishes, he left his homeland for England.
He couldn’t find a job and decided to trim off his beard and turban and applied for any sort of work he could find to earn a decent wage.
He did so as a double-decker bus driver. I would ride up top. I would also ride up front and watch him through the periscope next to the driver.
He did this routine and he did it well. He earned enough to pay for his nieces to get their PhD’s, as well as help his eldest brother to immigrate to Canada.
I heard of so many stories of people this man helped, and I often wondered how did he manage it, what must he have felt inside and what obstacles he might have faced.
In a few years, the man married and brought his lovely wife along. They had a family and moved to Canada with their son. That would be me.
He began anew. He again took on jobs well lower than his education, but did so with determination and conviction.
I didn’t think much if his work as I wasn’t aware of much of what he did, and I only came to realize some of it during our times together – through our discussions or his mentoring.
As he aged he took on many more jobs, various professions, and he never once said no to ensuring his family was provided for.
I recall a few times asking him openly what he wished to achieve in life. He always responded the same. “I have a responsibility to my child and my wife to be there and provide financially, to have a roof over their heads, food, clothes and much more.”
I understood what he said, but I didn’t understand why he did what he was doing until I had my own son.
At that time I realized this man, who I have known all my life was grooming me towards manhood and more so to fatherhood.
I learned his ways, and I learned that he was a brave man, a warrior, who took on so many jobs to just earn some money to feed his family.
Most of all, I learned the man to be a kind and caring man, a wise man, a man who helped so many people and was so much in service … a focal point of his faith.
I realize today that my mate father Surjit helped me become the man I am today, as I am merely a reflection of him.
I praise manhood and freedom, as I choose to be the man I am today. I do so via my father’s teachings.
I miss him tremendously, and I love him. I honor his legacy here among you.
Dad – you did a great job at your role. You gave me the freedom to be who I am.