This is a story of my grandfather, who passed away last week, leaving behind a legacy of grit, determination, honesty, and love.
It is not an easy task being a parent in the millennium. Imagine being a single parent in the 1930s. In the 30s, a brave young widow moved to a large city, with 2 young kids to feed. My great grandmother had lost her husband at an early age. My Grandfather was an infant and he had an elder sister, who was also a kid when they lost their father. With no male support, my great grandmother moved to Madurai with her two kids. Our community is a small, but a wider community and the great-grandfather who passed away, had written a will naming my grandfather as its heir, but only after he turns major and until then everything would be taken care by the relatives.
A lonely young woman, with 2 little mouths to feed and she has to be dependant on relatives to support their lives. But this lady had a strong determination and willpower. She faced all odds and made sure that she brought up 2 fine citizens. Never did she loose focus and she had faith in God and her kids.
With no father to look up to, my grandfather must have faced an endless array of paths. I can imagine myself, being lost in the wild with every path leading somewhere, but not being sure where. But this kid was different. His eyes were radiating brilliance and always on a lookout to learn new things. Now “Learn new things”, is the keyword of his story. He never ceased to learn. He never let go of any opportunity to learn. He became a voracious reader. By the time he became a teenager, he was proficient in Tamil, English, and Hindi. His mother supported him in all his reading needs, but nothing was enough for this young mind. He was in search of books, newsletters, newspapers, articles, everything that was printed. He was fascinated by the world of books. He went on to author a few books on his own, but the first book he authored and published was handwritten to multiple copies by himself. Such is his devotion to books.
This kid’s voracious reading habit was put to test when he joined the American College in its first batch of Bachelor of Commerce degree. But academics were blown away by this kid and he came out with flying colors. A Gold Medal as he passes out of his class was just a beginning of many accomplishments that were waiting for him.
A kid without a guide is like a chariot without a horseman. He could have taken any path, but this kid took up books as his guide and choose the right path and stayed on the course till the last breath.
He was introduced to the world of photography by books and this made his brain go crazy. He started buying camera and gear with very little money he could save. But he masted the art of making the most out of the least. As a kid, I grew up in my grandfather’s darkroom, holding his hands and watching him with fascination as he brought life to light. I used to be amazed at the amount of gear he has and the way he takes care of it. Now, this story is about my grandfather, so let us get back to him.
It was the time of marriage and my great-grandmother found him an angel, straight from heaven, Parvathavarthini. I have no words to describe her. My grandmother is love personified. Fitting to her name, she was the Goddess Meenakshi herself with her unparalleled beauty and unbound love and affection. The young couple were made for each other. But things started falling apart. Any business that my grandfather would try, would eventually fail. He was ridiculed by relatives and mocked by friends. But he had an angel to look after him. He kept trying relentlessly and never did his loose focus on his “Honesty” code. He travelled the whole nation and would never miss out any new business opportunity. But the man was not a risk-taker. He would play it safe and careful.
He paid taxes to the last penny and his every business transaction was recorded in the books for the government to inspect. Such is honesty of that man who was always mocked by fellow businessmen for his integrity.
The young couple did not have any children for a long time. After years of waiting, they were blessed with two beautiful daughters: Thenmozhi and Suganthi, named after his love for the Tamil language. Never did my grandfather worry that he had no son, as he was busy in showering his love and affection on those two kids. Today, I witnessed these two little girls who have grown up to be the fine women, stand over the mortal remains of my grandfather and weep like little girls lost in a wild world. But this is not the story of my mother or aunt, so let’s get back to my grandfather.
People thought, my grandfather was a coward, but they never realized honesty is the true form of bravery. He lived by a code and preached his code. He would never spend unnecessarily as he knows the value of money. He would never indulge in any kind of intoxication. He believed in himself and not on fate. He had no respect for superstition. He had respect for fellow human beings and he would always put family first on his priority list. These were the simple codes, that my grandfather followed. His self-developed personality was his sole guide in this world.
I have seen people make fun of him, disrespect him and also insult him. But he never raised his voice against them. I clearly remember by names , everyone who insulted him and today as his mortal remains lie calm, I see all those heads hanging in shame, guilt and respect. Honesty would not give you immediate results. It would take one’s lifetime to bear fruits. My grandfather did not live a grand life, but he had a fulfilling life. His life had no regrets. He had no regrets. He has made the world a better place to live for everyone in his family, extended family, employees and business circle. Right from his sister’s family, to the budding generation of my kids, my grandfather has made sure that everyone had and will have a good life to lead.
I am proud to be his grandson and today as I bid him farewell, his whole life, as I saw it, flashes before me. To me, he is a superhero with unlimited powers who led a life by a code! There won’t be another Son, born on this earth like him. May his soul Rest in Peace and guide me forever!
Mr. K Ramachandran
Perfect son, loving husband, doting father, prolific academician, honest businessman, greatest grandfather, wonderful human being and an epitome of Love and Honesty.
No matter what you try, your world is not falling in the right place as you expect it to be. You feel that life is broken beyond repair. Your hope starts fading into the sunset. But still you keep going. You don’t give up. You don’t accept defeat. Sometimes you accept defeat, but still keep going. These are not something new to most of us, especially me.
Sometime we contemplate on the need to continue? Why mustn’t we give up? What is keeping us going? What is the need to keep running? What is fueling the fading desire to live? Is it our commitment to the people around us? Is it love? Is it the family bond? Is it the materialistic passion?
Sitting in the darkness of the room, surrounded by nothing but darkness and a distant howl of a stray dog, the mind drifts into strange continents. The pressure to find answers keeps mounting. Answers to questions that have been asked a zillion time since the inception of man kind. Questions that don’t seem to have any sort of finite answer. Tears rolling down, but not crying. Eyes closed, but not sleeping. Thoughts wandering and trying frantically to cure the mind. A deep desire to return to normalcy. But not sure what is normalcy. This state of mind is neither hell nor heaven, but somewhere between. Tired of being tired, the mind and body exhausted, floats into a state which most of us know as ‘Sleep’. Sleep is again not a state of normalcy. The pain is subconscious. The subconscious is never at rest. After hours of struggling with dream, wake up being tired than before. Puffed eyes and sweaty palms are collateral symptoms of this state of ‘living dead’. The state of being a Zombie.
But when you move away from the physical state of being human and look at the life so far from a distant, you feel that it’s a gift. A gift which is supposed to be enjoyed. The purpose of the gift may not be clear, but the fact that the source and destination are same in this journey is as clear as the crystal waters of the pacific ocean. If the source and destination is same, they what is the need for the journey? The purpose is to gain knowledge and a learn. No I am not talking about the text-book knowledge. In fact I am not even clear on what is the kind of knowledge. Don’t understand the meaning of spiritual knowledge. But all that is known is that there is something that is keeping us on course. It’s a force that guiding us and the source of faith. Trying to get rid of all sorts hope. Hope is something that is concerned with the current physical state. Hope must be replaced by faith. Faith keeps you on course and faith guides you. Faith is carried over from one plane to another. Faith is the Highest common factor in all dimensions.
அரிது அரிது, மானிடராய் பிறத்தல் அரிது
மானிடராய் பிறந்த காலையின்
கூன் குருடு செவிடு நீங்கி பிறத்தல் அரிது
கூன் குருடு செவிடு பிறந்த காலையின்
கல்வியும் செல்வமும் தான் பெறுதல் அரிது
Now that is the only reason that the current physical state is a gift. Of all that I know, being a human being is the only way to gain knowledge and understand faith. The prayer is not for materialistic gains. It’s not to honor hopes. It’s not to set the life in your expected path. But the prayer is to help transfer faith and knowledge to the next physical state. The prayer is to show the path and to reach the destination. The prayer is not to give happiness, but to understand the real happiness. The present life is a direct refection of past actions. Actions that could date back to eons and that could have been taken place in any plane. The reactions to these actions must happen now are sometime in future. Not so sure about the past or the future, present is all we have. Why not try to balance the equation now, with the only tool we have: the present.
Somebody told me, Problem is defined as a situation that is born when you expect something to happen in a particular way, but it doesn’t happen as expected. Expectation and hope are the primary reason for the ‘Zombie’ state of the mind. Expectations to be replaced with acceptance and hope to be replaced with faith and then you discover the fuel cells that keep you going.
As I sit in this comfortable chair with the air around me conditioned to make me feel good, the roof above my head, the sophisticated architecture of my workplace and a state of the art workplace, I feel blessed. But we are one among millions. We are blessed so that we can help the “not-so-blessed”. There are a million people out there who don’t have a roof over their head, who survive on a slice of bread, who have never seen pure water in their life and have always been in clothes that barely hide their body. We read about abandoned babies, abused kids, child employment, malnutrition, famine hit families, human trafficking, and so on. But what we read and hear are mere stories for us. Its fate and reality for the first person involved in it.
So what can we do about it? Shall we Give? What shall we Give? How about a tinge of smile?
In my personal experience, when I give a poor kid a packet of biscuit, the smile that crosses his/her face is totally divine. So let experience divinity. With project timeline hacking us, deadline chasing us and the family commitment pecking at us, 24 hours is barely sufficient for us to meet the ends. We may not have the time to visit an orphanage or old age home. But the least we can do is “donate” money. Even a small donation would make a sea of change in someone’s life.
This children’s day, let touch lives of someone who is under-privileged. Some kid out there is calling out to you. Lets reach out and help with as little, or as much as possible.
Visit GiveIndia.org and select a cause and organization that suits your charity budget and make a donation. Don’t expect anything in return. Just give that money from your wallet and enjoy divinity. Word of caution: Please don’t procrastinate. The process is very simple and quite straight forward. If you have any queries, feel free to contact me. <-
Visit GiveIndia.org’s Children’s day gallery and choose a cause to donate.
There is still a lot of soul-searching to do and this, I think, is going to be a never-ending process. We are brought up with certain values and life teaches its own values as we grow up. Our personal behavior, human relations and ideology are based on these values of life. These values get hard-coded to your genes and it takes a gargantuan task to make any changes to one’s personal values. We make decisions based on these values as well. When I talk about values, they can be anything and everything that determines your actions and characters.
We tend to think that everybody will appreciate our good behavior, respectable actions, humanitarian thoughts and principles. But it’s not the case always. The society is a mutant. It has evolved into a system with exploitation as its core belief. The society is always on a look out for the weakest link. By default, it assumes that people with good values are the weakest link. If they are exploited, they seldom raise voice against the elements of society. When it comes to exploitation, the society is united. The negative synergy is used in tandem to trample the good soul. If it’s a bad soul, society thinks twice before applying any force against it. They have a highly evolved fuzzy logic in place that has learnt that any force applied against the bad souls will recoil and bounce back at the miscreants with greater strength. Hence the weaker links are never spared and the stronger ones are never dared.
The society has a misconception that the the souls with good values are the weakest. On the contrary, sticking to good values needs more force. I consider people who stick to their values as the strongest.
Coming back to reality, the weak links are always caught in the crossfire between the actions of the society and their self-conscience. It doesn’t take lot of time and effort for the good to turn bad. But the inbuilt values are the barrier. Most of the times, this barrier is very difficult to cross. Very few times, the society succeeds in breaking down the values of a person and successfully converts them to the dark side. Such converts have a greater dark force than the inbreds. The converts strike with unbearable velocity. They are like a volcanic burst. All their emotions and personal values that were hurt and insulted explodes with the greatest force that a society of humanoids can actually bear.
But such converts are rare. The values are so tightly interwoven with their DNA footprints, that its very difficult for the dark force to take over. The torments of the society is accepted as a part and parcel of life and people adapt with the society and evolve mechanisms that helps them live with it. Ultimately there is a supreme force that is ruling over both the sides of the force. The verdict will be sent out soon and the day is not far…
It is human nature to Imagine. Imaginations often wild and sometimes mild. When a person is promised a big gift, his imaginations start working and the emotional quotient is on the rise until the gift is realized. We tend to plan the future based on our imaginations on how to future may shape up. It is this imagination, expectation and planning that’s the root cause of depression. We fail to realize that there is a universal power that is in control and our life is a meticulously pre-planned universal event. This plan is not known until its executed. Sometimes our expectations coincide with the plan and we are happy and if not life teaches us to learn to live with it and cope up with the plan. I am now trying to learn this very tough lesson… Hope I fall back in line soon…
From a distance there is harmony,
and it echoes through the land.
And it’s the hope of hopes, it’s the love of loves,
it’s the heart of every man.
It’s the hope of hopes, it’s the love of loves.
This is the song of every man.
And God is watching us, God is watching us,
God is watching us from a distance.
Oh, God is watching us, God is watching.
God is watching us from a distance
-Bette Midler – From A Distance
I was standing near a shop on the street pacing up and down the pavement. I was waiting for my wife and was thinking nothing and doing nothing. A girl passed by me and I barely noticed her. She got into a waiting car, but she came out again and walked towards me and questioned me to confirm my name. I immediately recognized her. She was a friend of mine from School days. The last time I saw her was on her marriage. We struck conversation and I came to know she has 2 kids. We hardly spoke for 2 min and suddenly I realized we had nothing more to talk.
As I was waiting for my transport to arrive, someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned to see a friend from College. He was in the same hostel and we used to travel together on weekends. He was there with his brother and another friend and we spoke for 2-3 minutes and again I ran out of conversations. For a moment I was happy to see a friend from the past. But within 2 minutes I realized that how the world has turned and has become filled with strangers.
My school friend and my college friend were real good friends of mine during the days. We have laughed together, joked, been through tough times together, played in the sun, planned tricks in hostel, conspired against teachers, gossiped, chit chat and we have done so much talking together. But today when I meet them, all I could ask them are these 5 common clichéd question…
- How are you?
- How is work going on? Where are you working?
- How is your spouse?
- How many kids and what are they doing?
- Been in touch with any of our other friends? if yes, a little update…
Maybe if we had more time, we could sit down and talk about the old times and turn the wheels just to refresh the past happenings. But nothing new could ever happen. We cannot conspire against teachers, we cannot gossip (coz, we are grownups..,). We have to be more mature on our approaches. We have to maintain our dignity. We have to display acts of respects for each other. But all this is not me. On the Inside, I am still a kid still trying to figure out why is there a fake wall around me, all of a sudden.
As my friends walked away, the lines of “Summer of 69” by Bryan Adams gently crossed my mind…
And now the times are changin
Look at everything thats come and gone
Sometimes when I play that old six-string
I think about ya wonder what went wrong
Standin on your mamas porch
You told me it would last forever
Oh the way you held my hand
I knew that it was now or never
Those were the best days of my life
Back in the summer of 69
18 years ago I tagged along with my Dad and his friends to watch “Ghost” at the theatres. Its more of a ritual for my Dad and his friends to go watch a movie on Sunday. Saturday evenings there would be a no-table conference at the street corner. Dad’s friends would come with all their reviews and ideas collected over the week and start deciding on which movie to watch on Sunday. Madurai is a small city and there was only one theatre that regularly played English movies. On this particular saturday, my Dad’s friends were totally wrong about what they thought about “Ghost”. They assumed its a horror movie and Dad immediately voted for it. He even agreed when I said that I (10 years old then) wanted to go as well.
At the theater, it turned out to be my first ever movie with Sexually explicit scenes. No matter how many times my Dad tried to push me under the seat, I was able to get a good glimpse and hear what was going on in the Blue Screen. I didn’t even know it was Demi Moore (until I watched Striptease, later with my friends), but I can still remember the embarrassing moments my Dad was put through. Thanks to Patrick and Demi. LOL!
18 years later Patrick is dead for real and will he come back (just like Sam in the movie) as a Ghost and whisper into Demi Moore’s ears that Mr Ashton Kutcher ain’t the right person for her? It will be a true Nightmare for Demi tonight!
Rest in Peace Patrick Swayze and let Demi live in peace. Don’t bother her. She is happy with her BoyKid Friend turned Husband, TrAshton Kutcher.