Sunday, June 24, 2007

Letters To My Father. Letter 3.

Dear Dad,

You were such a kind, compassionate man. You taught me so much about the human condition and about social responsibility. You were interested in everything and we talked a lot on our walks together, not just about me and my personal issues, but about the human condition in general.

I loved listening to you and your friends talk about the state of the world. The opinions didn't matter, and you never required that friendships be based on agreement with you. You respected people like Martin Luther King and Edward R. Murrow. People who had the courage to speak the truth no matter what the consequences won your respect.

You questioned, probed, and analyzed everything. I learned the Mosaic method from you. Yes, it's actually a formal method now used by intelligence gathering agencies. Kind of funny when you think about it. Learning encryption from you was pretty cool. I've never thought about Alice in Wonderland in quite the same way since you showed me how to use it to encrypt messages. Invisible writing was a lot of fun too. The methods are lot more sophisticated now and use computers. The concepts haven't changed that much though.

If you were a young man in todays world, you would have been a total computer geek, of that I'm sure!

Being born at the turn of the century, and growing up during a time when technology was being developed that has changed todays world so dramatically must have been exciting for you, though. Your generation built the foundation for everything that today's generation has.

My love of mysteries came from you, in those early days, when we sat and solved puzzles together. I bought a game called Mind Trap to play with my children, to stimulate their minds in the same you stimulated mine. Books and puzzles were as much an integral part of my children's lives growing up, as they were of our life together.

You taught me to appreciate and never take for granted the material things that I had.

You taught me that being a middle class princess was a shallow and superficial life. That there was an exciting world out there, ready for me to explore.

You taught me that helping others was the path to self-fulfillment no matter what career path I chose or how much money I had. That the poor deserved my respect and help. That money wasn't everything.

You not only taught me these things in conversation but showed me this approach through your actions.

When Satwant lost everything, you stepped up to help her re-establish herself and her life. You sacrificed, and asked us to do the same. When Mom objected and said we couldn't manage paying our bills and Satwants, you said to her, Look at everything you have. You have so much and she has nothing. We can sacrifice some of this to help her get back on her feet. And you did. When you died, your brother Jerry stepped in to fill your shoes. You not only took care of her financially but you went every weekend to help her set up the store. Painting, cleaning, building.

You gave all of yourself when you took on these projects.

When I decided to donate my kidney to my brother-in-law, everyone objected. The reasons given were numerous. I was told that I was being stubborn and that I didn't "listen". However, the real problem, in my opinion was, that, as usual, no-one was listening to me, or trying to understand where I was coming from. They didn't want to hear me, they just wanted to tell me what to do. As you know, that approach has never worked with me.

I know that you would have understood and supported me because you were the one who told me, and showed me through your actions, that when people were down, that was the time to step in, take responsibility, and help without condition. That's when it meant something.

You also told me, and showed me it was wrong to expect something in return. Help should be given freely and without conditions placed on it. To place conditions on it was manipulative, sleazy and wrong. This approach was taken by unethical people whose intent was to use and manipulate and not to help.

I wanted to help Jerry and Devinder because they were there for me when I needed help. They gave it to me freely and without condition. They were good people who were deserving of this. So, I did.

Thank you, Dad,

Your loving daughter, Kitty
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