Sunday, February 26, 2017

'A letter from a father to his daughters' - A Must Read!

'A letter from a father to his daughters'
A Must Read!

Ace badminton player and coach Prakash Padukone wrote a letter to his daughters, actor Deepika Padukone and golfer Anisha Padukone, as part of Sudha Menon’s book, “Legacy: Letters From Eminent Parents To Their Daughters “. In it, contrary to the traditional style of Indian parenting (or at least the stereotypical one), he emphasizes the need for parents to let children do what they really aspire to do. In this post I have tried to publish excerpts of the content, taken from various sources as each content was a bit different, but had very important meaning, and a video in which Deepika Padukone herself read the letter, and was totally overwhelmed, as much as I was when listening to her read the letter, and also read the letter myself. The words resonate very closely with my own thoughts, all the more reason it touched me so hard.

What is important is that all the Children, be it Girl or Boy of this New Generation should listen to this video and also read the letter, to try and understand the pain and thoughts that go behind the love of their parents for their children. At the same time Parents should take a leaf out of this letter in a way as to change their thoughts to allow their children to blossom into what they dream of. A delicate balance though but not a difficult one.

Watch the Video Below and you can read the complete content of his letter below it. 


The Letter:

"Dear Deepika and Anisha,

As you stand on the threshold of life’s journey, and I want to share with you some lessons life has taught me. Decades ago, as a small boy, growing up in Bangalore I started my tryst with Badminton. In those days there were no stadiums or courts sport people could train in. Our badminton court was the wedding hall of the Canara Bank near our house, and it was there I learnt everything about the game. Every day we would wait to see if there was a function in the hall, and if there was none, we would rush there after school and play to our hearts content. Looking back at my life I realize the most important thing about my childhood and adolescent years was my refusal to complain about a lot in life. I was thankful for the few hours we could hit the shuttle back and forth.

In fact the foundation on which I based my career was my refusal to whine and weep about everything, and that is what I want to tell you my children, there is no substitute for perseverance, hard work, determination and passion for what you do. If you love what you do, nothing else matters, neither awards, compensation, even the gratification of seeing your face on newspapers or television.

When I won the All England Championship, the prize money in badminton had become significant, 3000 pounds a huge amount in those days, but that did not distract me from the joy of putting India on the map in this game.

Deepika, we know that you are in the film industry because of your love for it. Early on in life, even as a child of nine or ten, we knew that you were meant for modeling and to be under the arc-lights. You were a natural. Even so, at 18 when you told us that you want to shift to Mumbai for a career in modeling, we felt you were too young and too inexperienced to be in a big city and in an industry we knew nothing about. In the end we decided to let you follow your heart as we thought it was cruel not to allow you to follow your dream for which you lived and breathed.
If you succeeded you would have made us proud and even if you didn’t you wouldn’t have any regrets that you hadn’t tried.

I was fortunate that my father gave me the freedom to follow my passion for a game which held very little promise of ever making money. His approval changed the course of my life. Had he forced me, I would have been a miserable, average engineer plodding through life. The amount of efforts I put in my game never varied from the very first day to the day I retired. Even in my toughest days I focused on what I had instead on dwelling what I didn’t. I had the ability to make the best of the worst circumstances and remain steadfast to my goal.

In the last few years, we have seen you mature into a young woman who has her head on her shoulders. Maybe it is a result of the responsibilities that came your way at an early age. Sometimes parents underestimate their children’s capabilities which bring me to my other belief: you can either like what you do or you can be passionate about what you do. If you only like what you do, you will become an average player, but if you love what you do, there is every chance that you will excel at it. For then, no hardship, no sacrifice will be too much to achieve your goal.

Remember how I constantly tell you both about the importance of making up in the world without waiting for your parents to pull strings. I believe it is important for the children to work hard to make their dreams come true and not have things handed to them on a platter.

Anisha, you want to be a professional golfer and I know you will let nothing come between you and that dream. At sixteen, when I was representing the country in badminton, I travelled second class and often in unreserved coaches on trains, sitting, eating, and sleeping outside filthy toilets in the train for a couple of days simply so that I could reach the training camp and better my game. I see that passion in you. I don’t know too many young people who work sixteen hours a day and I see that the fruits of that passion are already coming your way.
Looking back… Even during the toughest times, I focused on what I had, instead of dwelling on what I did not. Thus, at the end of my career, I had no regrets, or any desire to ever return to the game, for I knew that I had truly given all to my passion.

…I believe it is best for children to work hard to make their dreams come true and to not have things handed to them on a platter. And it makes us immensely proud to see that both of you have followed our counsel and are making things happen for yourself.
When you are visiting home Deepika, you make your own bed, clean the table after meals and sleep on the floor if there are guests at home. If you occasionally wonder why we refuse to treat you like a star it is because you are our daughter first and a film star later. The cameras that follow you everywhere and the lights will eventually fade, and what will remain is the real world. Deepika, I have learnt that you can’t always win in life, that everything you want may not come your way that events don’t turn up the way you want them to. To win some, you have to lose some. You have to learn to take the life’s ups and downs in your stride.

Dear Deepika, you are in an industry where there is much negativity , but I hope that you are a game changer in it. Strive to generate positivity round you though you are too new and too small a player to effect a big change. If you can live your life without harming anyone, or talking badly about anyone, you can set an example for others. Often you will find people who will lie and say untruths about you, but remember never to retaliate or talk their language. If what they say is untrue, ignore it. And if it is true, use their criticism to improve and transform yourself.

The things that really matter in life are relationships, honesty, and respect for your parents, and elders. Material success is important but not fundamental to happiness and peace of mind. I can’t tell you enough about the rejuvenating power of prayers and a little faith. You know it, of course, because offering prayers is a long-standing tradition in our family… Spare a few minutes of your day, even if it is just twenty, to close your eyes and meditate, to think about God and you will see how much that faith in His power will strengthen you.
In the end when your career is behind you, what remains and for you is family, the friends you have made who will stand by you. Live a life that is healthy, my children, and one that will allow you to live with your own conscience. Everything else is transient and remember; no matter what, we will always be there for you.

Lovingly Papa."

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