I received this communication from the HR department, asking for a self-nomination to a workshop titled Work Life Balance. Training sessions for me have been those out of turn days, when you are paid to be on a leave and very importantly no phone calls! At the end of the session it is all about wielding the most powerful weapon, filling up the Feedback form. The Trainer would have by then undertaken many tedious tactics throughout the session, to ensure that the participants rate and rank the session most satisfactory. The learning had very little to offer when it required me to go back to work from the next day. Thus, the feedback on the session was a cursory end of the day’s attendance after a sumptuous lunch at a five star address.
But this time the training module sounded very different. There was a brief on the trainer and a write-up. What to expect out of the session? It proclaimed that the session was designed to help the participants strike a fine balance between the personal and professional life. Do not carry work to home and home to work!
As a father, it was a revelation. I did not want to attend the workshop for the paid holiday or for the lunch but wanted to come back home with a sense of relief and get back to work the very next day, charged up to even out the odds. When I came back home that day, I realized that I wanted a slice of the day for my son. I deserved to watch him grow up and I have to be unfailing in my work and life by balancing the day. I wanted to groom my son to be someone that I could not or did not become myself!
The first step to the grooming was to get him to a school, known to be churning out prototypes for success, one after another. It was an unending sense of accomplishment when he made it to one of the reputed schools and I was already visualizing him as that ‘someone’, I could not be. It was quite late for me to realize that I was gradually getting sucked in to a black hole of questionable discontent. What if, my son did not match up to a benchmark that I had created for him? He was growing up getting measured by a cup held by me. It is a cup, which never gets filled up to its brim.
There was something or the other that was always missing in him. It was him being untidy, messy, insensitive, laid back and sassy in his ways. All these were being recorded in an invisible progress report measured by my grooming barometer. It was never him or why he came across, the way he is!
I found it unbecoming of a father to be patient or empathetic to my son. I had to be grumpy, inaccessible and rock solid when it came to my external demeanor so that he always had to think twice before opening up to me. Questioning me was an unpardonable crime!
I was grooming him!
In the process I gave him all the time; the most relevant ‘take away’ for me, from the Work Life Balance workshop. And then one day, I woke up from my slumber when he had finished school with flying colors. My son wanted a friend, mentor and a counselor to help him chose his life. That meant, I had to unlearn all the years of self-imposed doctrines of fatherhood to reclaim a life out of our relationship.
“Well, that’s not difficult Baba”. Anweshan remarked with his eyes gazing at me but with a smirk. “Let me be a father to you for some time and you will have that someone that you wish to see in me! But the condition is, let’s make a trip, only you and me during this summer vacation to the city of renunciation to rejoice and re-discover the the city of temples, Varanasi”. He actually meant a revisit to our relationship to evolve stronger in our bond. We are making the trip this month, to come back as the best of buddies!