I always thought of my father as a bit of an escapist. He would sometimes not confront people because he just did not like them, and he would walk away from them rather than trying to talk to them about a problem. However, he never did that to me. I remember spending hours fighting with him over certain ideas and thoughts – I would be called a liberalist, I would call him conservative – and the fight would continue over cups of hot, sweet tea and bowls of potato curry. We would mostly fight over ideas and ideology – he would be more about choosing a safer path to face relatively few hassles – I, on the other hand, would argue about doing what one loved.
Our arguments, however, were mostly momentary. Till the day when I chose to pick up English, a subject I loved, over Accountancy, a subject I tried to love. I tried for two whole years to love Accounts, but I could not. I would understand the matter, do the work, get nice grades, but in my heart I knew I was not happy.
So, when I came back home after signing up for English and tore the application papers for a prestigious commerce college, I realized I had burned my boats. My father took one look at the papers and told me that he would not pay a single dime for what he thought was a ‘wasteful subject to study’. I grimly accepted the challenge and moved ahead with my work. But I was not sure how to pay for the college.
That was the time when my aunt, my father’s sister, stepped in. She had always wanted me to choose my own destiny, and as a child, we had shared a strong connection. A professor, she knew why I needed to study the subject of my choice, and aided me, not by giving me money – no, she could have done that very easily, but she knew I would not accept it because my pride would not allow me – but by giving me something to do which would earn money. She also gave me money to buy books – which I vowed I would return, and told me she would be there if I needed help, but I should learn to pay my own bills, because that is what will make me independent. I took heed, and did exactly that.

I tutored students, sold old books, jewellery and cosmetics to my friends, read palms, and in short, did everything I could to ensure that I repaid her the money. It was the only way I knew how to, and she let me. In the process, I started earning quite a bit of money, which I would then save, to pay for college, tuition, my daily expenses, and I saved the rest. I became much more practical, worldly, and, to be honest, grew up. And when I presented my exam results to my father, who had thought I would flunk, he knew that despite everything, I would not give up pursuing what I wanted to do. 
I am forever indebted to my aunt for believing in me, and knowing that I would be able to achieve what I sought out to, but only if I worked hard, and I thank her from the bottom of my heart. Check HDFC Life website for finding out more about how you can help in making sure others around you are more self-reliant.
Disclaimer: This post is in association with HDFC Life and Indiblogger.  
Written by Poorna Banerjee

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