Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Parking Attendant Father

Yesterday, while returning to my car after an event at a hotel, a parking attendant heard me speaking to my wife in Telugu. And introduced himself happily saying he is also from our home state in India.

As my wife remembered something and went back to complete her goodbye-remarks to her friend nearby - for a full 15 minutes, which is actually very less by her standards - I had time to chat with this man.

He said he's been working in Bahrain for over 10 years now, doing various jobs, the last three of which have been with this hotel.

I jokingly said, "You must have made a lot of money in the last 10 years". He laughed and said, "No. I did not pass even my fourth grade at school there. What money can I make here?"

"I spent whatever little money I made by taking care of my family... by sending money home for the education of my daughters."

I found out then, that he has three daughters.

The first has finished M.Sc, B.Ed, and is teaching in a junior college in Nizamabad. She was married two years ago.

The second has completed MBA, with Finance specialization, this year. (He asked me if she can get a job here in Bahrain, and if I can suggest some way).

The third is in her final year of MBBS. She is now an intern, training as a house-surgeon at a hospital in Mahboobnagar.

This has completely stumped me!!

Here was a man making his meagre bits and pieces, struggling, and yet succeeding, in giving his daughters his very best.

I salute this man who broke the mould of the traditional Indian father - known for just saving money to make up the dowry for daughters, or for conducting their marriages.

But instead, here was a man who gave them education, and esteem, to aim for the best of the world's careers.

This, I believe, is true "Women Empowerment" at an individual level. Not the collective empowerment that politicians yap about, without making progress.


(And yes, if you know how a young lady with an MBA in Finance can get a job in Hyderabad, or Bahrain, do let me know).