24/02/2015 4:07 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

9 Things That Make Us The Way We Are

We had our school reunion about a week ago, and it was my first ever. There was tremendous excitement in the air. After all, we were catching up after about 28 years! Thanks to technology we could locate most our batchmates who flew in from different parts of globe especially for this event. We met as though we had never really been separated; in fact, we were bonding better with each other now than we had as kids. Each one of us had his or her story to share, and it seemed no one had been spared the rigours of life. This meeting here, of the past and present, made me introspect about one question: what makes us who we are?

If I was to ask a bunch of people this simple question, each one would address it differently. To some it could be their prized IIT /IIM degrees, to some it could be their fine skills as an artist and to some it could be their trophy spouse!

Here, I take the opportunity to address this question in a slightly different way. I believe we are less about the degrees that we possess and more about the wisdom we have garnered. We are less about the numbers reflecting in our pay slips and more about the number of friends that we can count upon. We are less about iPods and iPhones and more about intellectual conversations.

In my opinion, what makes us who we are is a sum total of:

• The way we have been brought up by our parents.

• Trust and love between our parents.

• The financial security of our family.

• Our teachers, who often leave a lasting impression.

• The crèche where we spent time as toddlers.

• Our friends and neighbours.

• Our interactions with extended family and acquaintances.

• Our experiences in life.

• Our fears and failures, which could be due to a shortfall in one or more of the above areas.

Most of these values, these fears, are instilled in us when we are children and as we grow up we carry them along with us, albeit unconsciously. All the big and small decisions that we make as grownups in day to day life are based on the various factors that shaped our identities. As we learn from our experiences, it becomes important that we consciously instil the correct values in our children so as to make them not just the best students of the school but world-class citizens.

When I was walking out of my school after reunion I felt a sense of honour. My school, my teachers have done complete justice to me.