Friday, February 20, 2009

The other side of the story

Yesterday, I woke up to a sms from a friend, “hey, congrats! Your dad is in the papers. Mint, first page…” Now, I am not a fan of Mint, or for that matter, any business newspaper (yes, I am an MBA, so what?). The only thing I read in Economic Times is the Dilbert strip and the editorial. But as soon as I got the sms I jumped up and logged in to check the online edition of Mint (a new personal low). So that was what my dad was cribbing about the night before when he called- he doesn’t like the press, especially perky young journalists who ask uncomfortable questions (may be that’s why I am so enamoured with the profession). As the page uploaded, I stared at my dad’s pic, complete with a tie and blazer (he hates that outfit), screamed at my mom and grandmom and the three of us stared at the pic together… before long I was shamelessly forwarding the link to some of my friends who knew me well enough and hated me well enough to not judge me as an arrogant vain brat! Then again I called up my dad, super excited, and congratulated him. He seemed a little taken aback, and then calmly told me, “Did you even read the article, or just looked at my pic? The point is that my company is in trouble and the results aren’t exactly great, so all that publicity is actually negative publicity. But of course, you are too illiterate to appreciate the gravity of the situation…” I was, but who cares, my dad was in the papers, not something that happens to a middle class girl every day, and I had every right to be foolishly excited!! And then, I went back to thinking…

He was a typical simple, suburbian Bong guy raised in the small town of Asansol, not too ambitious, with typical simple middle class dreams (or the lack of them). He did well in school, but did better in sports. He went to St. Xaviers to study Chemistry Honours, and then succumbed to the usual pressures that affect a teenaged boy, new to the city life. Bad habits, hostel life, active Naxalite Politics of Bengal, competitive football and yes, serious obsession with Communism (Marx, Engel, Lenin, Che Guevara… he read them all) and very little of Chemistry, resulted in the inevitable- a 2nd class in graduation, and therefore no admission to M. Sc and therefore wrath of my grandfather, who refused to support him anymore. The next step was to get into something which was easy to get through and did not have a qualifying cut off in graduation. The only option was C.A. and so by elimination he tried his luck in something he had no background in. For somebody who had never done accounts, who wasn’t a commerce guy, who had never heard of double entry accounting, it wasn’t a good start. I don’t know how he managed to clear his C.A. in his first attempt with an impressive all India rank (hard work and application I suppose, something I am not used to), but thereafter it wasn’t smooth sailing either. He decided to get married when he earned a “handsome” salary of 1500 bucks per month, most of which went into house rent and baby food for me. My earliest memories of my dad go back to the time when he used to accompany me to my landlord’s flat downstairs to watch Mahabharata on Doordarshan and patiently explain it, when he carried me on his shoulders for hours as we explored the zoo in Kolkata every year during winter vacation, when he would wake me up after coming home from office much to mom’s annoyance and read to me and disappear to Liluah every alternate weekend to play cricket or football with his friends. While my mom worked hard to raise me into a “cultured” young lady (she enrolled me to godforsaken classes for Bharatnatyam, art and swimming), my dad was the one who spoilt me, who let me explore my wild streak, and yes, who dressed me up and photographed me randomly. And somehow I managed to grow up, with terrible manners, cheering for Azharuddin, fighting over who is superior between Monica Seles and Steffi Graf and reading Satyajit Ray and Enid Blyton: since my dad liked them, I never doubted that they were the best! And one advantage of starting out with nothing, is that you get to celebrate every little thing: television, phone connection, internet, a new car, and finally a new house- I was involved in each of these purchase decisions, and solemnly informed about the sacrifices I will have to make in order for us to have these things.

As he climbed up the ladder, he made it a point not to get along with his bosses and there was a time when he permanently carried a printed resignation letter in his pocket! He wrote long letters to his superiors, and got it proof read by me. Very often he would come home and gleefully tell me how good it felt to give a piece of his mind to a “stuffed, left brained jerk” (I am not naming names… he is kind of famous). And once, when a frustrated CXO asked him, “What’s your problem in life”, he replied, “You are!!”… So yeah, my dad kind of rocks, and while personally I think he would have made a better philosophy professor, he must be a pretty decent finance guy too…

But yes, that man in the papers is still my dad, somebody I pee-ed on, someone who signed my report cards with a sigh, someone who taught me to play cards, someone who wrestled with me when I was obsessed with WWF… and yes, someone who still doesn’t know how to knot a tie and waits for me to go home so that I can do it. And yes, he is definitely much more interesting and not a boring pompous guy spelling out meaningless jargon- why would anybody publish that shit is beyond me…

10 comments:

webstar said...

awww..Daddy's li'l girl!

Viswa Sandeep S said...

nice one..congrats..really nice story..hats off to ur dad!

Ashwin said...

i knw him too, i knw him too..impressed and awed

Hemant said...

wow maa.. well written.. m too proud of grand dad ;)

Aashay said...

Congrats! Am sure you'd appear in the newspapers soon enough too..For completely different reasons of course...For drowning a company, and committing massive Frauds.. Apparently missy would be busy blogging rather than dealing with the Financial Woes!

Shimonti said...

@ webstar
awwww.... not so lil, but yeah, still daddy's girl for sure!

@viswa sandeep s
thnks man... someday u will b famous too, n 4 all the rite reasons! u sure hv the finance in u!

@ashwin
yes loser, u know him too. :)

@ hemant
welcome to my blog... but was it necessary to call me maaaa on a public forum? get a life...

@ aashay
awwww... really??? u think even i wud b (in)famous?? i really dnt care what news I make, as long as I make some!

Aditya said...

Nice post! And how anyone can study accouting and be good at it is something I don't think I'll ever understand.

koo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
usha said...

dad's awesome lil girl..u wl sure make him proud with ur writing

Anonymous said...

Amiable brief and this post helped me alot in my college assignement. Gratefulness you seeking your information.