A letter to my daughter on her 2nd birthday

Laaija 'Leia' Oinam

Today, my daughter is 2 years old and I’m unfortunate that I won’t be by her side. I’m writing a letter to her and making it public so my readers, friends and family will, in a way, remind me to keep my promises to her.

Leia

During her first year, I was working on my first startup and I missed most part of her earlier months. It was easier on her as she have no understanding of my absence. By the time we were together for about a year, I had given up on my failed startup. I knew that I had to be away from her again when I decided to take another plunge, get-up from my failed attempt and try harder. I just wasn’t sure how soon that would be.

However, the ultimatum came when my application to the Silicon Valley Winter 2010 Program of FounderInstitute was accepted.

Now that she’s 2 years old, understand separation and the very fact that I’m not there, had been making her hate the words “Bye Bye”. She would be angry at her mother — “No Bye Bye! No Bye Bye!” These days, she cries, “No Bye Bye” when anyone dear to her says “Bye Bye”.

Those words used to be something she likes saying, knowing that I’d return back home and watch TV together, play around, sing & dance all night, swing in the garden whenever she wants. The last gleeful “Bye Bye” for her was when I left her early this November. She felt it was routine until she realized I was not returning for quite a while.

Dear Leia,

Happy Birthday to you!

I hope you’ll read this one day and forgive me for not being there. I hope we can cherish these moments of separation, in the hope that we’ll spend more time together in future. By the time you read this and ponder upon the lost moments — you’ll no longer need me to help you with the swings, you won’t need me to push you all around in your scooter, you would even have stopped crying and nagging me to buy you a new balloon each and every-day.

To most people, I was more of a heartless person hardened by the bitter experiences of life. I had hard time respecting relationships and had never pursued one meaningfully. However, after you were born, I began to realize the deep impact and importance of human relationship, love, forgiveness and the ability to express them openly without burying them deep within myself.

You’ll soon learn that Life is hard and very-unforgiving at times. There will be times when you feel that the whole world is conspiring against you, trying to prove you wrong even at some of your best intentions. Many a times, you’ll be left alone to fend for yourself, even out-casted in some cases.

You’ll also learn that when the going gets tough, when you’re in your weakest, you’ll be tempted to take shortcuts, you’ll try to get away by lying, doing superficial actions just to make you feel good in front of people. I know that you’ve to learn through all the facades of life, but let me tell you early-on, its always better to do the right way. There is always a right way of doing things.

Patience is a virtue you’ve to learn and practice right from your early stage in life. Modesty is something you’ll learn when you faced multiple failures and able to learn from it. Honesty is another you’ll want to practice and master when people have cheated you. Do good and you’ll earn goodness.

I can give you an excuse for being away from you today but I won’t. However, I’m trying and will do my best that I will be there for you more often than not, in future. I’ll tell you lots of stories when you grow up, I’ve lots to talk to you. I’ve lots to teach you from all the failures that I stumbled in my life.

With all my love.
  • Atif Haider

    Emotional.

  • Touche!

  • Durairajs

    In my 28 years of experience I havent see anything like this letter. I am confident that your daughter will be one of the luckiest girl.

  • KP

    This is lovely. I think we all sacrifice a lot of things to be what we are and our loved ones will understand some day what it all meant to us & how deeply we loved them.

  • Lovely, sincere, heart warming and emotional letter indeed. Just when you begin to get cynical about the art of blogging and the sincerity that has become a rarity today, I stumble upon this. Thank you Brajeshwar for showing heart! I understand your emotions and I'm certain your daughter too will.. one day. The beauty of the written word is that it transpires time and I hope you keep writing these letter to her as often as you can for that is the legacy that you leave behind; a chronicle of history that will help chart her future in the years to come. A word of practical advise (unsolicited in the Great Indian tradition of course): Get her a li'll dog! A man's best friend for life and the most loving companion one can grow up with. All the best with the entrepreneurial program and may 2011 bring you all your dreams closer to realization.

    • Thanks Ritesh.
      Unfortunately, my wife is kinda allergic to dogs, cats. So, pets are ruled out. My daughter loves them though. We used to go out specifically for her to play with the neighbors' dogs and chase them around.

      • Yes, you should probably try a dog like a Dobermann which has very little hair/fur and most people otherwise allergic to pets especially asthmatics get along real fine with them. They are most disciplined and contrary to popular belief are very intelligent, loyal and loving dogs and rarely bark. You can try a little puppy for a few months and if your wife still can't fathom it, the pup can be returned to the breeder.

  • Anish

    Lovely letter. Best of luck Brajeshwar for new ventures .

  • Guest

    Brajeshwar,

    I would like to agree with the other comments on this post but I can't. I guess you will always have some one who will disagree and that will be me for now :).

    As much as I want to share the enthusiasm of your new adventure, I would commend you to think about the price that some one is paying for it. While we (I include myself on this issue) are in the moment and experiencing the rush of building something like a new company, we often forget some one has to pay for it and many times we feel that the best individuals to pay for our adventures are within our family members.

    They'll understand, right? I mean, some one has to pay for their food, shelter and maybe toys, or that is what we want to believe. I for sure don't know your past but as a child what would you rather have? More things or more time with your parents? Unfortunately, and I know this is hard for a lot of "entrepreneurs" to understand but kids value time more than money or things.

    Take a moment to think about this. Your child will only be a child once in her life time, she will never be one or two again, ever. Also, be honest with yourself, once you have not attended her first and second birthday, what makes you think it will be easier to attend the 3rd or more? Wouldn't it be easier to miss the next birthdays?

    Thank you for confirming to us how sensitive kids at their early age by your statement:

    "Now that she’s 2 years old, understand separation and the very fact that I’m not there, had been making her hate the words “Bye Bye”"

    She is only two and she already understands what it means for you to be away from her. Wake up and be aware of her feelings and how some times we have to sacrifice something else besides our little ones. Their young years are a lot more important than what we want to believe. Thank you for sharing your sentiments in this post but what I see is a selfish person who feels guilty for leaving his family on such special occasion and wants to make himself feel better by writing a letter that hopefully one day his daughter can read and maybe understand why she was left alone on her birthday. Time will only tell if she will take this with "awwww, daddy" or a "I can't believe you rather spend time on a start-up than with me". There are a lot of people doing start-ups without having to neglect the family so it is possible.

    Now, for the no-so-harsh comments 🙂

    I really wish your new start up works as you expect and that you can make all that money that you need and be successful to then be able to be with your daughter all the time she needs and your wife as well! How can we forget her!. But then again that is a whole different story.

    And remember, no one in their deathbed wish they had spent more time at the office...

  • Belated Happy Birthday to your daughter, baby Leia. This is a beautiful letter, Brajeshwar and
    thank you for sharing it. Love conquers all and at the right time, there would be no explanation.
    She will love you just the way you are.

  • Anonymous

    Cheers Bro, I could always see your true self buried deep within. It just needed a stir. Thanks to Leia to introduce you to your real self. (She's cute btw)

  • Brajeshwar, wish you all the best with the program. This post stuck out for its sincerity and I wish you all the best with what you are doing in life. It's a tough life being an entrepreneur.