To the man who gave me an opportunity
This is personal entry, but I feel the contents of it should be shared. This was a eulogy I wrote and delivered for my late uncle, James Narain. May he Rest in Peace.
I’d like to start off by saying thank you Dada.
I’ll miss you.
Anyone who spent time with my Dada knows that he loved to tell a story.
I’d like to pay tribute to him by sharing a story of my own.
This story starts before I was born, before I could have ever imagined living the type of life I know today.
There are a lot of things I am thankful for; many of those things are a result of having an opportunity.
The type of opportunity that only exists after a trail has been blazed.
James Narain was a trailblazer in every sense of the word.
He was brave enough to come to this country and confident enough to succeed in it. He helped my family and many others come to Canada in search of a better life.
This was only the beginning of understanding a new world. I was only 2, but my first memory is with Dada, it involved me spitting out of a car window, at least that’s how he told it.
As I grew, his influence continued to guide me, even if I didn’t know it. He taught me how to tie a tie, how to type on a typewriter, how use a photocopier and how to work an office phone.
I should mention I was about 5 when he taught me these things.
It wasn’t just those practical skills that stuck with me though; it was also his uncompromising set of values and personal standards. At a time when it was common and expected that immigrants, particularly Fijians take low level jobs, he demanded nothing less than a corner office. When he didn’t get one, he made his own. He valued education and often encouraged me to pursue knowledge.
I can’t remember very many times when he wasn’t wearing a suit. I admired that. Many of us today work in offices and use computers, and have opportunities we may not have been born with; I’d like to think he had something to do with that.
When I got the news, I was shocked. I denied it. I guess we all think our heroes are invincible. Dada, you may no longer be physically with us, but one thing is for sure, your legacy will live on.
Through me, through all of us.