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As a kid, I hated waking up early but my dad tried to inculcate that habit in me. And now, I finally understand how lovely mornings are!
There’s a piece of my childhood that I have carried with me unknowingly. It was one of those things I disliked doing as a kid but was asked to do over and over again since I was in school!
However, today, these are the same things that are gently ingrained in me and hold my hand while taking me towards joy and gratitude. And if there’s one person I am grateful for doing so is my father.
Every time I came home from the hostel, early in the morning, he would say, ‘Wake up. Look at the birds outside in the garden! Such beautiful species that no one gets to see these days. Come let me show them to you!’
If I still hadn’t woken up, he’d say, ‘How can you waste your mornings just sleeping in?’ And honestly, that’s my favourite thought to live by as a grown-up.
My dad would let us sleep in on some mornings, but on some Sunday’s he would say, ‘Don’t waste this day by sleeping in! It’s an off day! Make the most of it!’
I totally get it now. Every day you wake up for work but the off-days are for you. You wake up for yourself. Mornings are to be welcomed by rising and shining with the sun.
Let me tell you what he would say on the days that I listened to him and dragged myself out of the bed. My eyes were half-closed all the way to the garden where he would proudly ‘show-off’ his plants to me.
He would specifically point out to the blooming ones in spring and say, ‘Look at these! I’ve planted them just for you since you’re coming home.’ This would make me feel very special until I heard him say the same to my sisters too!
As we walked around the garden, he would continue saying, ‘Look at these beautiful colours. All kinds of flowers.’ Then he would ask me, ‘Do you like it?’
I never knew how to add on to his joy with any enthusiasm. All I would say was, ‘Yes. Beautiful. I like this one and that one.’
Argh! I feel like that’s such a dead reply to give to someone who dedicated their hard work to you.
He had one more question that he would often ask us, ‘Do you love and enjoy being in nature?’
My answer to that was always ‘Yes,’ since I didn’t really understand his question. I didn’t know what it meant to call oneself a nature lover since I believed everyone was a nature lover. Who doesn’t like being surrounded by nature.
Today, however, I understand that everyone appreciates the beauty of nature in its presence but it is also about the ones who long for nature in its absence.
One of the mornings, after I went back to the hostel, I mostly woke up exclaiming, ‘Oh no!’ since I was late for my classes. But that was not it – I would still manage to reach in time after rushing and having a quick bite for breakfast.
That’s when I noticed that whenever I woke up at the hostel, I woke up with my heart thumping. This was quite different from how I woke up at home and I didn’t like this feeling.
One weekend, I woke up early and had my first great morning. I may still be late and rush during the mornings, but the moments of getting out of bed with that first hour to myself are calming to me. It may not give me the best start always but it sure is a calming way to start the day.
That’s what my father did, slowly and gently to his children. Without pushing us, he simply transferred his love for nature to us. No matter how much I hated waking up early, it is my favourite things to do now.
I feel like I’ve wasted a day of my life if wake up after sunrise. And I am so grateful to my dad for not just making me an early riser but also getting me to love every bit of it!
I am often asked why I wake up so early in the mornings. To that, I like to say, ‘Let it be a secret present that better be unwrapped silently one dawn, and opened with eyes closed on the second morning; only to be touched and felt on the third morning until you’ve been addicted to it on the fourth.’
Picture credits: Still from Bollywood movie Angrezi Medium
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