The Art of Relinquishing .
At a social club get together, my father and his cronies were discussing about the gen next. Almost all were bragging about their respective children and their achievements. They were all well ensconced in their careers. My father was always a shade reticent. His concepts of doing 'well' were a trifle different. He believed in being a complete man. A man who was not slave to convention, a man who dared to try, a man who took sole responsibility for whatever happened, a man with compassion and courage, a man who evolved continously, and who competed only with himself to aim higher, go further. A man who was magnanimity personified. A man who helped graciously and gracefully never belittling or reminding the recipient of his largesse. A man who religiously visited the remand home and taught the Guru Geeta to those children of a lesser God. A man with a tall and imposing figure.
His friends were really gloating about how their sons had made it big in their chosen careers.
His friends' faces and demeanors indicated a sense of pride, marvelling on their skills of parenting, flaunting their pedigree as it were.
My father was an achiever in his own right. Coming from a rather mofusil village from Konkan, he was totally self made, and had groomed himself over the years into a top level executive in the corporate world. When he decided to hang up his boots, almost all his friends and well wishers expected him to live a very sedate, tranquil, retired life. That was not his call. He set off all over again. He registered his own placement firm with barely 2 employees.
A new beginning, in an area where not many knew him. He had to start all over again. Almost everyone was rather critical of his venture or rather 'adventure'. My mother in her own inimitable tone responded with a 'How can I convince him to take it easy' look. After being at the pinnacle of corporate hierarchy for more than two decades, he effaced himself. He divested himself off his ego, identity, position almost overnight.
He would have to go to meet prospective clients. Often it could be the very people who waited outside his office when he was in the saddle. He would sit outside their offices patiently without any trace of discomfort. His self esteem was never subservient to any position or post. His happiness, joy de vivre was in working hard, sincerely and intelligently.
As a teenager, my father was a role model in many ways. He was very disciplined, never given to any vice, kept himself abreast by subscribing to Time and Newsweek, keeping company of well read and articulate people. He would goad me to inculcate the good points of every person I came across. He honed me to become a collage of all the virtues that could be imbibed from successful people.
In the twilight years of his life, he taught me the art of deconstructing the very identity that he had so painstakingly sculpted.
My father finally made his point in the ongoing discussion with his friends.
"All parents teach their children to become someone. Its excruciatingly difficult to begin all over again as a nobody. Identities are great but if one becomes a slave of that identity then the identity works to our detriment. The real Master is one who can discard this cloak at will and yet identify with the true Self who exists independent of any robe.
I am trying to teach my Son the art self effacement at the appropriate time. I hope he will master the Art of being 'No One' which is much more difficult and important than the science of being Someone.
Dedicated to my father on the occasion of Father's Day.