Harimohan Paruvu’s book This Way is Easier, Dad – How my daughter saved me from growing up, is the most interesting title of a book I have come across in recent times and I couldn’t wait to start reading it. The book was surprising in a number of ways.
A father interprets his daughter’s actions and words, learns from the way she views the world, and applies the thought behind her actions to his life. Sharing that knowledge with the world at large, is what the book is about.
Ruminating on the title, one would think a father should be a grown-up to nurture a child. So how could his daughter help him not be a grown-up? Being childlike does not bode well in the stressful lives we lead, where being left behind and not being able to compete in the rat race is a fate worse than death.
The author’s daughter, Anjali, is untouched by the ugliness of the world and has a uncomplicated way of looking at things. Like most children, she has a fundamental way of dealing with life, which is something adults can imbibe to make their lives simpler, and to find out where their priorities lie.
Anjali’s way of getting what she wants is to work towards her goal till it is accomplished. She is resilient and doesn’t give up easily. Like most children her age, she doesn’t throw tantrums or demand something. She puts forth her points in a way which gets the attention of her parents, and then backs it up with a suitable plan. As adults we need to think more creatively to arrive at solutions, and not always bank on tried and tested routes.
The book is divided into six parts.
- How to deal with the world
- How to be happy and how to love and be loved
- How to deal with people
- How to approach life
- How to get things done
- How to flow with abundance
There are many chapters under each part providing us with examples from Anjali’s life. The author narrates his daughter’s activities and what he learnt from them. It is followed by the adult’s take, in italics, which is shown to be cynical, and ends each chapter with a return gift, a positive message to the readers.
In one of the anecdotes, Anjali’s parents decide to see the world from her eyes and go down to her level, and hence eat sitting on the floor. This act might seem juvenile but has a valuable lesson in store. It was interesting to note that both children and adults behave in the same way when they are the ones in charge.
The moment she felt she was dealing with us from her own space, she automatically became the boss. She felt secure, opened up and took ownership intuitively.
Many such examples can be applied and used as management principles in the work sphere.
Your true happiness comes from what really gives you happiness and not from the popular idea of happiness. You choose.
It’s funny how we make the biggest decisions of our lives based on our happiness, but more often than not forget its application in our day to day lives. As adults, we ought to be more aware of what is the cause of our unhappiness, and what can we do to alleviate it.
Anjali plans her own birthday party with lists of party games, party food and the friends she will invite to her birthday party, and who will help her, well in advance. Here she demonstrates that planning and taking responsibility for our own happiness is our own responsibility.
If you want a happy time in your life, plan and organize for your happiness just as you would for other areas of your life.
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- The author conducts interviews with Anjali since she was four till she’s seven years old. The interviews are placed at the end of each part. Amusing and insightful, they chart Anjali’s growth.
- The cheerful cover makes the book look appealing.
- The book is peppered with illustrations, most of which are endearing and apt.
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- The book feels crammed with advice and sometimes becomes a tad repetitive, when it feels like we are being force-fed the same information in a different way. Less is more would have worked in favour of the book.
- The activities of Anjali are interesting, but sometimes the sanctimonious advice at the end (‘A Return Gift for You’) makes it boring.
- A few errors in grammar and punctuation affect the flow of the book.
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- The crux of the book is to remain in touch with our inner child. And to celebrate life and live in the moment. The life of an adult is stressful. Some room for childlike antics, and a perceptible change in the way we think will perhaps make us more trusting and open to the universe. We should stop beating ourselves up over failures and take pleasure in the small victories.
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- I am not a fan of self help books and This Way is Easier, Dad was leaning heavily towards it. In the beginning I scoffed at the lessons in the book but it started to make sense as I read on. The author uses Anjali as a spokesperson to make some pertinent points we all know, or rather knew as children but have forgotten as adults.
Be childlike to win in life!
A copy of this book was given to me by the publishers, Jaico Publishing House, in return for an honest review.