29 August, 2014

to kymaia: welcome

a bundle of freshly minted hope
to begin with...welcome to this world!

you were born on the same day of the year as i was...42 years earlier. in that way, you are without doubt, the best ever birthday gift i have received from anyone, and perhaps will remain so forever

before you were born, we did not know whether you are a boy or a girl, and so your mamatashu and papa bear had a bet: if you were a boy, i'd get to name you, and if you were a girl, she would. i chose "alexander". in the event, it is probably a good thing you were born a girl, kymaia, as you will surely testify when you finally read this post!

note: don't worry too much about your name. the person maketh the name, not the other way around

it is still some years before you can actually read this. but i am assuming that when you are ready, willing, and able, you will do so, and you will know what your papa bear, your uffybaba, your father, your full-time fan, your whole-life supporter, and (hopefully) your first friend felt at the time when you were born

right off the bat, i must confess that i have always wanted to be your father, for the longest time that i can remember, even when i did not know about you, or what being a father meant. hopefully, i will learn how to be one as you learn how to be you. we are both, in that sense, babies. so, pardner, we'll just need to be patient with each other, what?

most fathers talk of the amazement, the wonderment, and the joy they felt when they held their babies for the first time. i won't deny that i felt those too. but the one overwhelming sensation was that of hope

hope is an overarching feeling that can perhaps (in a vague, but definitive, way) answer the age-old question posed by every philosopher, thinker, and curious human: why do i want to live? in fact, according to some, this is the only question worth answering. human life can survive on nothing more than hope. everything derives from it

the 12th and the last shloka in the bhaja-govindam stotra composed by adi shankara, a renowned 8th century hindu philosopher says:

दिनयामिन्यौ सायं प्रात:
शिशिरवसन्तौ पुनरायात: ।
काल: क्रीडति गच्छत्यायु:
तदपि न मुञ्चति आशावायु: ।१२।

meaning that: despite time moving on, and life progressing in a cyclical fashion...despite every evidence to the contrary, man lives on hope (there are other, more cynical interpretations of this, but they do not give enough credit to the genius of adi shankara, and so, i prefer to believe that this is what he meant). what i want you to notice is the use of the word "aashavayu", the "oxygen of hope", for that is what it truly is

for me, you, as a fragment of me, as my baby, as my genetic expression and extension, and my shot at immortality, signify hope...

...in a large way, hope for me, for your mamatashu, for your grandparents and your family, friends, and loved ones...

...and in a smaller, albeit important, way, hope for humankind, and for this earth. every infant born, crying from the mother's warm, comfortable womb, into this harsh world, looking curiously at the new universe...learning, absorbing, questioning, acting, and influencing every other being, living or non-living, around it...denotes a small fragment of a new hope that this earth, and humankind on this earth, has

so...welcome, hope! here is what i wish for you:

i hope that you be all you can be, and want to be
i hope you touch as many lives as positively as you can
i hope you find love, and give love, which is (as you will realise later) one and the same thing
i hope you create fresh, new, sparkling ideas, and things...in that order
i hope you dream, and you do, and that your dreams are always slightly larger than your doings
i hope you win, and let win...lose, and let loose (and no, that is not a typo)
i hope you give naturally and without expectation or making the taker feel inferior, but also learn how to take gracefully and without feeling inferior
i hope you are always happy, cheerful, and more importantly, hopeful for yourself, and this universe
i hope you learn when to speak, and when to keep your silence (and when you do, maybe you can teach papa bear too!)
i hope you find the right people, and the right books, and the right ideas at the right times and in the right places
i hope you keep your word, and hold others to theirs
i hope you trust others as a default setting, regardless of the hurt this may cause infrequently...and that others feel right in trusting you
i hope you grow up to be a good human, and never doubt if that was a good thing
...and i hope i can be the father you hoped for, and deserve!

welcome again, pardner...let's make this happen!