Introduction Every human being has memories. Most of such memories are very good in almost every middle-class home. This is mainly because we often remember the sacrifices of our dear parents. The small joys of living with less. The jokes, the fun, and the frolic. The abundance of nature. The rather unpolluted environs of those years. It has happened to me too. Three people had a profound and a huge influence on me. While two are dead and gone, one is still alive. It is through them that I learned to a) adjust with whatever I have, at anytime b) never compromise on values c) control anger at all times d) take a philosophical view of life and e) look forward with all optimism.
The three persons and their names are not even changed. The first is a dear person, whose name was Dr. Senapathy. He had a doctorate in psychology and worked in the same city of Ahmedabad, when I was then working with the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. He was a Faculty Member with the Entrepreneurship Development Institute of India, Ahmedabad. The second person was my own mother Ms. Padma. She was the epitome of simplicity and happiness. She had her own fears. However, she was deeply religious and stuck to values of the highest order. The third person was one superb lady, whom I used to call as Sarnam aunty. She is still alive. When I bump into her at her residence in Chennai, I have nothing but happiness. Such is the nature of memories. Am sure these sort of memories would as well be there with any member. It is for us to recall such memories and constantly go down memory lane.
For, happiness is a state of mind. It has nothing to do with money at all. Memories are like waves of the sea. I would often take off to the beach at Tiruvanmaiyur, Chennai and recall all such memories with friends. The sea waves would help me in recollecting all happy memories.
Adjust with whatever I have, anytimeThis is a superb value I learned from each of the aforesaid role models. My father was a superbly honest Personnel Manager. HR was unknown in those days. He was very strict with employees at BHEL, Tiruchirapalli. This township, to this day, is a huge melting pot of so many cultures.
Life was tough. The earnings were never enough to take care of four children. Yet, my mother would never ever compromise on any aspect of food. She would go around looking for discounts and utilize all of them. In those days, the groceries were never packed in plastic covers. They used to be packed only in thick paper covers. She would always tell the four of us that one day we will all be settled. While I did my MSW from the prestigious Loyola College, Chennai, my younger brother went abroad after his engineering degree to the US while my sister lives in Dubai. Yes, today each of us is very rich or at least upper middle class.
But the memories of yesteryears are still fresh. The cane that she would have to beat me with when I exceeded all limits in poking fun at my younger sister. The fun that we had when we taught few words of Tamil to new migrants from UP. Their children and our classmates spoke Tamil in less than twelve months and would speak in Tamil with all of us to escape being beaten by their fathers!! We would twist whatever happened and reply in English!!!
The bonding was infectious. None of our friends was very rich. All of us had similar problems. This increased the bonding between people. Years later, when Dr. Senapathy came into my life, he very much taught me to be happy with whatever I had. He guided me so well even later. Unfortunately, he died of cancer some five years later, when he worked with the prestigious University of Madras, and the shock was so overwhelming.
Never compromise on valuesMy father could have minted money through corrupt means. Today he is 90+ in age. He often recalls all the good times that we had when my mother was around. The stress on values is so huge. We always paid all taxes. My mother would never speak ill of anyone.
My mother would teach me that any money earned through illegal means will haunt us later. The sins will always come back. She would quote any number of case studies to reinforce this message. Today, when she is no more, only such memories keep me very happy. Keep me glued to whatever I do and never ever compromise on values. She would give money for charity off and on. She would hear the stories of all servant maids and counsel them. She would support them in whatever ways she could.
Sweetest memories -- all of them. The perfect gateway to the happiness of the tallest kind. Memories that remind each one of us that the world is still a nice place to live in. Sornam aunty would go one step further. She would narrate so many good stories from her own experiences. Each of these stories is so fresh in my mind even today. She would even screw my ears when I did some mischief. We always felt that she was part of our family.
Control anger at all timesAnger is such a natural human emotion. To claim that one does not have it is absolutely false. We all have anger. Yet, each of the three role models made me forget anger. I recall with immense pride all the numerous occasions of counselling that extended up to even three hours. Dr. Senapathy had a good background in psychology, and this helped a great deal.
The trick is to relive such sweet memories. All our anger will vanish.
Take a philosophical view of lifeMy mother taught me this thoroughly. She would often say, "ethai kondu poga porom sollu?"( Tell me, what do we carry with us when we go from this world?").
This is one message that has always hit me very hard. It has helped me to have a big balance. To understand that whatever happens is always for something very good to happen. To understand what we can do just now. To appreciate the bigger tasks around us. To at least walk the talk to the extent possible. For example, carrying jute bags during shopping. The little things that we need to do. What would we live behind if we ourselves use plastic?
The list is endless. The more I meet with people who have the same wavelength, the more am wedded to the philosophical point of view. Members may try this. It is not a panacea for all ills, but sweet memories that help us to stay glued to a philosophical view of life does help us a great deal. Dr. Senapathy would just reinforce what my mother would always talk. About Sornam aunty, this space is not enough. I would have to write three articles. Yes, stay glued to sweet memories and the rest will fall in place.
Look forward with all optimismThere is always a better tomorrow. Life is not static. The better times will always come. Today when am 60+ and know that I can contribute something in my own way, the sweetest memories hit me like the sea waves. Or the tidal waves that I very rarely get to see on television.
One always has miles to go before he or she sleeps. So do I. However, the sweetest memories would always help to stay tuned, to go ahead and look forward to something good. Everyday.
Every member may please try to recall such memories. That is, the sweetest of them. They are sure to refresh us, to help us be happy.
ConclusionSweet memories are always sweet memories. It is very rare to see good role models today. The rat race is on. Yet, only such sweet memories can help us recall all the good things in life. There is another important message -- let us be good role models for our children. At least to the maximum extent possible.