While growing up, I was a big fan of self-help books; the kind that is filled with inspiring quotes and real life stories. Along the way I started thinking that I had figured the whole world out. That if you worked hard, persevered, had a smile on your face and always managed to make friends everywhere you would succeed.
Now, many years older but not yet wiser I realise those principles were a blueprint of how to succeed but applying it day by day is a different beast altogether. Mastering even one of the principles will take a lifetime.
Somewhere I feel I am lost, the drive to achieve diluted by events that took place over the last few years. Now I look up to my parents for all they managed. They are the real heroes.
In 1990 when dad was posted in France for three years by the airline company he worked for, we barely managed to reach there. There were passport troubles as we didn’t have any, and we didn’t have suitable luggage either.
To my mother’s eternal embarrassment, our luggage, which had to be tied around with nylon thread as the locks weren’t working, came undone in the middle of the Paris airport. So much for first impressions in a new country.
We were initially kept by the company is a residential hotel where you cook for
yourself. Thanks to my mother’s foresight, who had bought along atta (wheat flour) and jam, we survived the initial, bitter cold days when we didn’t have any money.
Over time, somehow my gullible mother and my busy father managed to make the land a home. They enrolled themselves to the university to learn the language, managed to make sense of the confusing city, visited all its nooks and corners and even made friends.
They also managed to drop me off and take me home from school everyday, no mean feat considering we had to take 2 trains and a bus to reach the American School of Paris.
Perhaps mom’s obsession with cartons and luggage emanates from the fact that she never wanted to be without suitable luggage again.