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.