Being Baba: A letter to my baby son when he turns 25

"I know it isn't easy being a good man in this crazy world but knowing how your mom and I have raised you I know you are a good man and I want to tell you that however hard it is, it is totally worthwhile."

By Mihir Joshi

Dear Neil,

Thought I’d write to you so you could read this when you turn 25. I don’t know how the world will be 24 years from now and some of the things I’m writing here may seem outdated but I’m willing to wager that most things will still make sense. I’ve probably been telling you most of what I’m writing here over the last few years but just in case I’m not around, very likely because you’re studying abroad or something along those lines, you’ll have this old school letter to read and hear your Baba’s voice in your head again.

First things first, let me tell you how proud I am of the man you’ve become. I know it isn’t easy being a good man in this crazy world but knowing how your mom and I have raised you I know you are a good man and I want to tell you that however hard it is, it is totally worthwhile. Superman never had it easy, but he never gave up on what he believed in and neither should you.

When we first saw you about 25 years ago, your Mumma and I fell in love all over again. With you and with each other. The first year was incredibly hard and I’m telling you this, so you know that when you become a dad in the next few years, whenever that is, learn to be kind and patient with your wife. It will be the most wonderful yet challenging time of your life. But despite all the challenges, sleepless nights and hard work involved, nothing will give you more joy. This first year with you has been the most incredible time of my life so far and I’m grateful to God and to Neha that I have you in my life.

I jumped the gun a bit. Already told you about how you’ll feel when you have a baby. That’s for later. First, let me tell you about finding a good partner you would want to spend your life with. Let me start with you. Remember, no matter how much times change, being a gentleman will never get out of style. Being chivalrous and decent does not in any way mean you don’t think of women as your equals. To be honest, I think most women are way better than most men. Treat all of them with respect and the woman you fall in love with, never take her for granted. Say thank you, say please, always be honest and generous in your praise and never be ashamed to say sorry. Always remember, your relationship is bigger than your ego. I hope you don’t have to go through heartbreak, but it is very likely that you will. Don’t take out the anger of your past relationship on the one that will be your final one. I hope that your first love is your last but if she isn’t, make sure that the one you spend your life with eventually gets the best of your love. Learn from your mistakes and make yourself a better man for the one you will spend your life with. And when you find the right woman, make sure she always knows how much you love and appreciate her. Don’t do anything stupid. We are very capable of it. God knows I am. And when you are so, like I said, don’t be embarrassed to say sorry first.

I don’t know what you’ve done professionally but I hope whatever it is makes you happy. Because there is absolutely no point doing something in your life that doesn’t give you joy. At the same time, make sure it pays the bills. If you’re doing something you love, be satisfied with living within your means. In my life for instance, in the first many years when I was working in the entertainment industry, I wasn’t making a lot of money but I was okay living the lifestyle that my meagre earnings afforded me because I knew that I was one of the lucky few who was making money off his passion. If your work is also something you’re passionate about, you will always want to get better and that is the only way to achieve success financially too. If you’re good at what you do, you will get paid…even if it takes a little time to get there. And I’m going to reiterate something here. Be a good person no matter what field you work in. That’s the only reason, despite having zero contacts in the entertainment industry when I began my journey, I can now tell you that I’m friends with or at least liked by 90 per cent of the industry. And by the way that is all you should hope for. If more people like you than dislike you, you’re good to go. You can’t please everybody, and you shouldn’t try. Be true to yourself and if you can go to sleep every night thinking, I’m happy with how this day went…you’re doing all right.

That is how I feel about religion and I know you know this too. Respect people’s faith and the things they want to do but as far as I’m concerned, don’t get too caught up in the protocol. I know that there’s something bigger than us and very likely that is what they call God. But I found my “God” in my love for your mother and for you. At the end of the day, every religion asks that you be a good man and that you be good to your fellow man. Do that without getting entangled in the protocol religions ask you to follow. That said, if you do want to do something because it gives you peace of mind…go right ahead. Just remember, God did not tell you what to eat, what to do or how to live your life. It was probably me. Just kidding, I’m not your God but on that note, remember also to always love and respect your elders. Family is the most important thing you’ll have. Learn to value and cherish those who care deeply about you.

Also Read| Should we teach religion to our children?

You know me son. I can go on and on when I’m talking about something that means a lot to me. And always remember, you mean the world to me. I love you. Your mother loves you. And like I said at the very start, we are incredibly proud of you.

Lots of love


(The writer is a singer-his debut album Mumbai Blues won the GIMA Award for Best Rock Album in 2015-hosts his own talk show-The MJ Show and does live Hindi commentary for WWE. Follow him on twitter @mihirjoshimusic)

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