One of the most striking things about me is how fast I walk. People who have struggled to catch up with me certainly know it. :)
I got it from my father. From a childhood of running behind him, struggling to catch up. He is 79 now. Yesterday I took him for a walk, while he was visiting us. And I noticed how easily I overtake him now. I had to consciously slow down to let him catch up.
I also noticed how he is still as curious and passionate and fascinated by everything. The world renews itself for him every day. He has lost none of his childlike curiosity or his enthusiasm for life, progress, action. He is struggling to find publishers for a book written by some obscure person in Palakkad 50 years ago. Every new thing I show him fascinates him. Today we got up early and drove 30 kms to look at an ancient tree.
Maybe that is the only blessing I should ask for too - to never lose my sense of wonder.
I also noticed how he's become quieter and more reflective, contemplative, for long hours. At peace with stillness. The man who walked and talked faster than anyone else. The man who fought tremendous obstacles in his younger days, but did not become bitter, hard, and closed.
Maybe that is the only gift I should ask for too - the gift of stillness.
I sense a new responsibility today. I am his waris, his inheritor. I must carry forth everything that is good in him. Maybe there isn't that much time left to learn....
Like he taught my brother and me on the first anniversary of his mother's death, which he celebrated with a simple lamp lit in front of her photo, and no religious ceremonies - "Be kind like her, carry forth her legacy of kindness and generosity. You don't have to do anything else."
17 June 2018
I have no waris, no inheritor. I will leave no mark. But the universe will go on, the wheel will turn. And there will be gifts passed on, in one form or the other, from one human being to another, related or not....for we are bound by our affection for the people we look up to, to carry forward what is best in them.
Because, as my friend Arvind Krishnan said:
"Not all of our ancestors are of our blood.
Neither are all of our descendants.
All of us have descendants we do not know."
And so my brother and I are not my father's only inheritors. His influence is huge, vast, and boundless, spread across all those who crossed his path across a life full of struggle, but which he also chose to fill with wonder...