Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Why I didn't follow my father's footsteps and join the Merchant Navy

While growing up I was often asked this question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Not sure myself, I would say a computer engineer, a cricketer or some occupation that held my fantasy at that time. Hearing my answer almost everyone would retort “Wouldn’t you want to be an electrical officer or be in the merchant navy like your father?” And I would simply reply in the negative.

The same was true back then and even today. Electrical or electronics never excited me as they always sent shivers down my spine; thanks to the minor shock treatments that I received while fiddling with live wires and appliances. Regarding a job in the merchant navy, given a choice or not I never would take it. And these are my reasons.

Being the only son in the family, my father was the only one to whom I could look up to for guidance in men-related matters. As a child I wasn’t close to him, though I tried my best, but still never had that bond I craved for. Being away on one posting after another I was forced to turn to ‘Life – the teacher’ to learn the basics of manhood from observation or experience. Since the process I undertook took years to fructify, I had many fumbles and falls. These served as a speed breaker causing me to always be in a state of catching up. When my father was at home, having got used to his absence, inability to understand me and not liking his sudden pushing me to reach for excellence I counted days to his next assignment. The news that he was going was the happiest I could hear at that time.

Though the merchant navy paid well and in turn let me do almost everything, it prevented me from doing one thing – understanding my father. My father rose from abject poverty to secure a job that paid him well enough to take care of his family. In this process he had to face many hardships, change many jobs and deal with family feuds. Being the eldest in the family and the responsibilities that came along only made it tougher. These experiences made him tough and immensely disciplined, as well as a person not easy to handle and live with. 

My reasons for not joining the merchant navy are valid till date. I would not have any job that would keep me away from my family so much that they get used to my absence and I, in turn miss understanding my children or being a role model for them.

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