May 3, 2011

{Is Raka Perfect?}

I know Raka will freak out when she even reads the title of this post.  A lot of you who have read the book have asked me if Raka is perfect.  The reason for that is that book does not have any stories of her messing up.

First of all I have to assure you all that Raka is just like any other seventeen year old who is excited to finish high school and ready to leave for college.  During middle school and high school Raka had her fair share of “goofy” moments.  Yes there were times I grounded her. Also I have to admit that there were times I grounded her for what she thought was the wrong reason. We argued and if I did not yield, she stubbornly stated that I was mean to ground her for no good reason. In most of these occasions when she felt she was justified, she was more right than wrong.  There Raka, I said it.

I have always tried to set boundaries and consequences before issues arise, that way we both know what the boundaries are before they are broken. Just like a police officer who stops you for speeding is simply following the laws and consequences for breaking the law.  He/she can use personal judgment, but the law and consequences are predetermined.  For me, that made it easier to be nice to her, even when she was in trouble and had to be grounded as a result. 

Raka taught me this very important principle of being nice in moments of punishment when she was just five years old.  She had made some mistake and I said something to the effect, “Bad Raka.” 

Raka in turn told me, “Dad, I am not bad.  I am never bad.  My actions were not good.” Yes Raka, I got it. Since then, as and when her actions have not been good, there were no easy outs, but she was always a good kid and I always enjoyed showing love to my princess.

Now, some of you may be curious about the nature of Raka’s goofing up. None of them were serious. For a first generation immigrant dad, who did not go to high school here, I am relieved that she is graduating from high school with a lot of friends, proud of her accomplishments, and excited to go to college at NYU.  As I started writing the book and the blog, I made a pact with Raka: I will not write about anything that embarrasses or hurts her. Hence you will see that the book and the blog do not talk about Raka’s goofs nor about things that cause her pain (e.g. the divorce), as reading about it and reliving it will only cause her more pain.

Today a world of opportunity awaits her and she is excited to face it with open arms.   Of course just like any other parent I am worried about her living in NYC, as I myself have never lived in a big city. My daughter stepping into a world that is unknown to me is kinda worrisome.  

Though my head is full of worry, my heart is simply full of belief that Raka is ready to go out and take care of herself in the world outside. I am relying on all your prayers and good wishes to help Raka be the best she can be in all aspects of her life. May the mishti-hashi (sweet smile) that she is special for be there with her forever.

I love you Raka.