Introduction Picture this. You are by the bedside of some who has been a great inspiration in your life. Your maternal uncle. Sad he is dead and gone. His children, your cousins are weeping uncontrollably. One after another, the entire locality turns up. You find housemaids, sweepers, electricians, auto drivers, teachers, lawyers, and even a judge of the local court. Your uncle had been so good. He would help anyone in need to the maximum extent. Though not so rich, he was rich at heart. He would appeal to the rich and organize some help to whomsoever needed at any point in time. Every single person sings paeans of praise about the departed soul. Your aunt is at the bedside, somewhat composed. She does cry a bit, but is comforted by her brothers who had traveled the whole night to be with her.
What does this tell you? What do the scenes mean to you? A whole of things really. The five important lessons of life, that we need to always understand are: a) Death closes all, but fame lives forever b) Values and Character are imparted only through action c) There are very good people and bad people everywhere d) If you align with those who are very good, your life will be far better and e) Life is so short that we should constructively use it right now.
Death closes all, but fame lives foreverSince the family does not like any publicity of any kind, no reference is made, even indirectly to the person quoted above. He had made a big difference in the locality of Coimbatore city called Vadavalli ( now a fully developed locality). The most important lesson is that we feel miserable at those times. Immediately, we think that we have to give up our weaknesses. For example, being short-tempered or in a hurry, even on sensitive matters. That resolution vanishes like trash within 15 minutes. What happens? We had simply lost what we had learned. We had totally forgotten what struck as significant learning from the lifetime of such a nice human being.
Yes, death closes all. Everything that we had done. The anger we had shown on many, the corruption that we might have indulged in, the kind of negative responses we might have shown to anyone who wanted our friendship, and so on. This would mean so much. Once we come close to observing something like what has been mentioned above, we should learn that for the rest of our lives, we still have a big chance to make this world a far better place to live in. By just giving your bus seat to an elderly person. By getting a cup of tea to a really old beggar. Such small actions, within our means. The key question is: do we do that? If yes, we have made some progress. If we do not do it, we have learned nothing. Death is common to all. Rich or poor, good or bad. Politically well connected or not. Kamaraj, the greatest leader of Tamil Nadu, is cherished even today, by thousands of volunteers. Even today, many youngsters live very simple lives and try to take his life's lessons to every corner of India.
Values and Character are imparted only through actionDon't we come across doctors who still charge just rupees ten and treat patients? Don't we come across hospitals offering free medicines to the poor? Don't we find someone like Mr. Sreedharan, who by a stint of his hard work, made many a metro train service possible in this country? Did we not have one Dr. Kurien of the Amul fame, who made a big difference to millions of farmers? Did we not have Dr. Venkatsamy of the Arvind Eye Hospital, Madurai, which still treats millions of poor people free of cost? What do we learn from them? Empathy. Kindness. Selflessness. Life is far removed from being just commercial. And so on. We should make our children read all these case studies. One particular Youtube video is now so famous. Though it is in Tamil, the words speak for the action. From the most humble beginnings of a Government school in Madurai, rose one of India's best IT leaders. His name is Shiv Nadar. He is the founder of HCL. He has donated fifteen crore rupees to totally revamp the school that he studied in. This school now looks like a CBSE school. If only every single rich industrialist were to emulate him, most of the Government schools can give the private schools a run for their money. He has actually been inspired by Azim Premji of WIPRO. Hats off to such leaders.
Actions speak, more than words. It is not without reason that Mr. Naveen Patnaik and Mr. Nitish Kumar are so famous today. They may be in politics but they are the last hope for the Opposition. If only the leaders can sink their differences and zero in on any one of them, India will be totally different. We always need a tough opposition in India. Sad we do not have it now.
There are very good people and bad people everywhere We live in a land where some stupid politicians had fanned the worst of hatred of the Muslims. A person of that community was murdered for just eating beef in his home. On the other hand, we have had the members of the same community who landed in Chennai, all the way from the Gulf countries, mobilized money and manpower and cleaned up all the garbage in some many localities of the metro city, after the severe rains in 2015. These Muslim brothers were praised by all. We still have this nasty habit of painting every one of any community with the same brush. We ought to understand that over ninety-nine persons out of every hundred in the Muslim community want peace. They are totally against terrorism. If we add fuel to the fire, our next generation will always be in danger. No one can shop happily in a shopping mall. Or see a movie in a cinema theater. We need to just understand the bad people and keep away from them.
If you align with those who are very good, your life will be far betterDecades ago, there was a collector, whose name was Swaran Singh. Though he hailed from Punjab, he immediately picked up the Tamil language. He was very honest and did wonders in the town of Tiruchirapalli, where he was posted. He dared to question the politicians. He had many enemies in the local mafia of a local party. Yet, he won the hearts of hundreds of thousands of people. When he was about to be transferred, the entire people of the city went on a strike, protesting against his transfer. He won the hearts of people by taking on the big time rowdies. He removed encroachments. He held continuous dialogue with the local residents to understand their concerns and address them. He improved civic amenities so well. Today, the same city, in central Tamil Nadu, with a good number of quality educational institutions, is amongst the fastest growing B class cities of India.
Does this sound like taken from some Hindi movie? No, it is a true life experience. Hundreds of children swore that they would be very honest like him. Those who wanted to enter Civil Services were so keen to learn from him. Endless interviews of his appeared everywhere. What do we do? Simple. Just emulate such great people, and be close to their lives. That is, be inspired by the good in them. The way they go about imparting values to others.
Life is so short that we should constructively use it right now This is another big lesson. Have rupees ten thousand with you? Do not blow it up. Put in a savings account. Start seven new recurring deposit accounts, with just Rs.200 for say, five years or above. Do not worry that the interest rates will go up. The Government of India will never do that. They will dish out some fake figures of lesser inflation. Every single pie now saved can come in handy when we need it most. Even this is effective time management. The list of all that we need to do, is endless. Let us make a start somewhere. And get going before it is too late.
Conclusion No matter who we are, no matter what our achievements or failures are, we need to understand that we can always learn. Life has so many things to teach us, only if we try to understand some basic facts of life. The five mentioned above are all simple things that we come across. Yet, we can indeed learn so many things from each of them. Right now.
Some more points:
1. You and everyone you love will die but you don't know when. So start living your life. Start loving, never be pasted with past difficulties. Love everyone, their good and bad. Never be too attached to anyone as it will bring tears later.
2. You can't make everyone happy. We try to make everyone happy by changing ourselves and tend to lose everyone and lose ourselves. Try to find happiness in everything you do. Nobody can play your role better than you, so stop pleasing everyone and enjoy your life. Nobody can wear your shoe and no one will understand your difficulties. So stop seeking sympathy and live your own life.
3. Time is of the utmost value. Try to enjoy life as every second count. Live your life to your fullest.
I would conclude with the quote " Life is an ice-cream, enjoy it before it melts"