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How my father's advice changed my life

June 13, 2019 14:20 IST

We'd asked you, dear readers to share your father's best advice.
Rediff reader Sangeeta Mithal, 54, from Mumbai writes about her father Brij Mithal, aged 85 who lives in Gurgaon.

Sangeeta Mithal

IMAGE: Sangeeta Mithal with her father Brij Mithal.  Photograph: Kind courtesy Sangeeta Mithal

My dad is my best friend.

He has been my guiding star both in my personal and professional life.

He has always had a major influence in my life.

Our friendship is such that we can enjoy a glass of wine when we meet.

Today, if I am content with my success, it's because of him.

He never made my sister and me feel that we were any lesser than my brother.

He always treated us as equal individuals in whom he had full trust and faith which was backed by my mother.

We were brought up in an environment of love, freedom and respect.

We had our space and were free to become and do what we wanted to.

For us, age was just a number as there was no pressure from him to get married at an appropriate time.

He has always been there for me in his own way without actually being over protective.

He is a businessman and I have traveled with him extensively during which he gave me a different perspective to life and exposure to the world.

Most of his actions were like silent advice. From my schooling days till my marriage, he groomed me into a confident educated independent woman of today.

There are a number of instances from his life that impacted me.

I learnt from him the power of never giving up and treating people with dignity and trust.

He always encouraged us to take decisions and experience different things.

Even though he is a vegetarian, he encouraged us to eat meat as during the 80’s and 90’s vegetarian food was not easily available outside India. He prepared us to travel the world.

His outlook towards life is very broad and futuristic.

In early 1980's, when my sister and I were still in our late teens, he made us travel to Singapore and Bangkok.

He wanted us to gain firsthand experience of how to fend for ourselves and travel safe.

He always believed that it was better for us to learn from our mistakes.

When I was 20, he gave me some advice that actually changed my life and made me the person that I am today.

The usual course of action for most girls whose parents ran a family business like mine, was to finish higher studies and get married.

Like most girls my age, I too had no specific career plans or goals.

In the late 80s, I had just appeared for my first year masters' exams and was waiting for the results.

When I heard about a job opportunity in a reputed international airline from a friend, I decided to apply for the position of ground staff. I did not let anyone know.

I went through multiple aptitude tests and interviews, never expecting to get through the final interview.

I got the airline job at the airport as ground staff. It was supposed to be working on a night shift.

While I was happy and excited about the appointment, I was a little apprehensive and nervous about how my family, especially my uncles and aunts would react to the opportunity.

Various emotions and thoughts ran through my head, as no girl in my family had ever gone out for work and that too at night.

My parents were happy when they heard about my appointment, but I told them that I was not going to accept the position, as it involved night shifts and my uncles and aunties would not like it.

That very moment my father stood tall and told me: 'You don’t worry about what the relatives will say. Your mom and I will handle them. You do what you want to.'

The rest I know is history.

Sangeeta Mithal

'I'd always wish him to walk besides me and be my friend,' says Sangeeta.

His simple yet powerful stance helped me take a decision that gave both purpose and direction to my life.

In his own way he empowered me to take a constructive decision and onus of the outcome.

Joining the airline was the best decision of my life. I graduated from a student to a professional, having experienced the highs and lows of working both in India and outside India.

My father encouraged me to take up the managerial position offered to me by my employers outside India.

Since I was unmarried, he knew that I was going to live on my own in a strange far off country but that didn’t deter him.

I was able to experience and attain job satisfaction, financial independence and self-confidence to deal with any situation.

Training and interacting with multicultural and multilingual people during the course of my work moulded me into a flexible and caring human being.

Thanks to my Dad’s advice I was able to spread my wings and become a role model for other girls in my family to work and live their dreams.

I will always be my daddy’s little girl and he will always be my guru.

I'd always wish him to walk besides me and be my friend.


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