Father’s Day Decoded in a podcast and a Poem!

Father’s Day was this past Sunday (21 June). The day is an annual reminder of that most important man in our lives – Dad or Papa as you may call him. For those fortunate to have your father in your life today, consider yourselves truly blessed. My father Kaushal Ji left us six years ago, and I miss him every day, but I also thank him every day for all that he taught me in our time together. I have expressed my childhood feelings with my father in this Hindi Poem Where i always found the aura of my dad bigger then my mothers influence.

Kunal, as a young kid standing in the right hand side and his father is in the left hand side of a donor in Galta.

में पहली कक्षा की पहली पंक्ति में खड़ा था ।

जब मुझे यह अहसास हुआ की मेरे सिर पे

मेरे पिता का साया,मेरी माँ के आँचल से बड़ा था। 

कैसे पिता ने अपना हाथ झटक कर मास्टर जी के हाथ में थमा दिया था । 

ऐसा लगा जैसे अपनी ज़िम्मेदारी को किसी और के हाथों में संभला दिया था 

फिर भी पिता का साया माँ के आँचल से बहुत बड़ा था ।।

यह अहसास मुझे तब भी हुआ जब मेरी पहली टीचर ने,

मेरी पहली गलती की खबर मेरे पिता को पहुँचाई। 

उस गलती की सजा मिली तो पहली बार मेरे पिता के हाथों की सख़्ती,

मेरे कोमल गालों को सहलाई। 

यह वही हाथ थे जिन्होंने मुझे जीवन में उँगली पकड़ के चलना सिखाया था। 

यह सोच कर हम ताउम्र नतमस्तक रहे और पिता के बताए रास्ते पे चलते रहे

पिता का साया माँ के आँचल से बहुत बड़ा था।

इसीलिए शायद में पिता के काफ़ी क़रीब खड़ा था। 

जब पिता को शीर्ष पे पहुँचते हुए देखते थे तो लगता था,

यह कभी हमारी भी मंज़िल होगी।

यह वो पल होता था जब पिता के पैरों पे चल कर

में अपने सपनो की उड़ान भरता था।

माँ यह देखती थी तो गर्व करती थी,

और अपने आँचल को थोड़ा और बड़ा कर देती थी।  

पिता का साया माँ के आँचल से बहुत बड़ा था।

इसीलिए शायद में पिता के काफ़ी क़रीब खड़ा था। 

I am the father of two young American Indian kids. Both are intelligent, introspective individuals. But that does not mean that my wife and I have it easy – because I think parenting and the word ‘easy’ don’t go together. Do you agree?

I have been a husband for almost twenty years, a CEO for nearly sixteen, and a father for seventeen years. Of all the three roles, I think being a CEO is the easiest. As much as I love and admire my daughter and son, parenting is perhaps the toughest job that any man or woman can handle. I mean, come on, there are no days off!

Those of you who know me, know that I love to ask people how to do things better, differently, especially in business. If we could tap into every father/mother’s parenting experience and feed that data into a supercomputer, we would arrive at some tremendously insightful results.

But since we can’t do that, I decided to have a candid discussion with a group of three fathers – Dr. Purna Bikkasani, Mr. Rahul Shukla, and Mr. Ram Jakhotia. All of them have done a splendid job of raising their kids in the U.S. while managing successful careers. Today, their children are happy grownups working in diverse fields such as medicine, business, and entertainment. Also joining the discussion was Dan Nainan, of Indian and Japanese parentage, who worked as an Intel executive, but found his calling as a comedian and voiceover artist.

The panelists opened their hearts to share the joys and trials of fatherhood, with Dan sharing his quintessential experience as a child of mixed heritage growing up in the U.S. Each panelist shared insightful and funny anecdotes of their learning curves as fathers.

When you hear the discussion, you realize that each individual has a unique journey as a parent, but the common thread tying all three fathers is the desire to see their children happy and to accept their mistakes as parents. 

For instance, Ram Jakhotia shared how he nurtured his son Ravi’s desire to be a professional musician, which would not be an acceptable career choice for most immigrant Indian parents. Dr. Bikkasani talked about how he hoped his second son would pursue medicine, but that he was completely supportive of his son’s desire to be an entrepreneur. Rahul Shukla felt that his son Akash was not aggressive enough to be a business leader until he realized that Akash’s gentle demeanor made him more likable than Ram himself.

As parents, there are some things which we sometimes don’t want to compromise on, especially when we come from traditional societies such as India. For Ram Jakhotia and his wife, that condition was a college education. So even though they were supportive of their son’s decision to pursue music as a career, they insisted that he at least complete a college degree. 

And then there are circumstances which are beyond a parent’s control. In such a situation, Dr. Bikkasani recommends that never break the emotional connection with your child. Even if you don’t agree with your adult son or daughter’s choices, you must allow them the freedom to pursue their life.

Honesty is the best policy, as per Rahul Shukla, even when your young child asks difficult or potentially embarrassing questions. It’s vital that you answer truthfully and in a manner that their mind will understand. When a child grows up in an environment where no topic is forbidden for discussion, the ease of communication flows into the parent-child relationship well into adulthood. 

Today’s children are far more questioning of authority than we ever were as kids. Rather than overpower that spirit with a show of parental authority, parents must use reason, logic, and even humor to make their children understand a point of view. That’s especially true for American Indian children exposed to two entirely different cultures. Your child may or may not appreciate their cultural roots, but it is your job as a parent to ensure that they at least understand both facets of their lives.  

The panelists conceded that it’s difficult but not impossible to strike a delicate balance between the Indian and Western values. That’s something that has impacted their fathering styles. With his first child, Dr. Bikkasani played the traditional father role, where he was barely involved with the daily care of his son. But with his younger children, having been more exposed to the American way of life, Dr. Bikkasani was more hands-on. There is so much candidness in this discussion that I urge everyone to listen to the podcast. I promise that you will walk away from it wiser as a parent

personal letters

Kunal Jain View All →

Made in India, Serving Humanity, Living in Safety Harbor Florida, USA. Healthcare Entrepreneur. Author ”A Philanthropist Without Money” Driven by an inherent desire for knowledge and creative thinking, I harnessed my “Mid Life” energies to becoming a student again, challenging myself to take an executive course in ‘Global Healthcare Innovation’ from Harvard Business School and a Master’s degree in Entrepreneurship from the University of South Florida. Not satisfied with personal success alone, now I’m on a mission to help other aspiring entrepreneurs through mentoring, nurturing, raising funding, and connecting people with more possibilities.

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