Man is a social animal. So though we can boast whatever we are today is because of me and my ideology, it actually develops throughout our lives starting from our childhood to the last breathe. What we are today is the amalgamation of traits that we descend genetically from our parents and the learnings that we incorporate consciously or subconsciously from the society, environment, and family.
So today when HDFC Life http://www.hdfclife.com/. has prompted the topic to reflect on a family member who has guided and encouraged us to grow into a better, more self-reliant person, I have only one face that comes in front of my eyes.
- The old man, leaving his countless stories of life which he narrated to me during my studies, basking in sun, or while sleeping alongside during the night at the age of 83. My grandfather – Ramanand Prasad. I was 15 at that time but the stories has built the character in me.
I admire him – for he is the person who cultivated the character in me without teaching anything. It all just came by example that he set himself and today we realize that it’s imbibed in our character as an integral part now. Be it respect for woman, devotion for work, belief in self, or making one grow into a self-reliant person.
They had come to Patna in 1942. My Grandfather used to narrate proudly whenever I asked him about circumstances leading to settle here.
“We had come to Patna. I had left Janaki in a dharma-shala near the station to finish some work. On return I found her waiting on the footpath with the luggage, taking lunch from the tiffin-box along with my sons and a gutter flowing just behind. It felt me so bad that I finalized this piece of land the same day.”
He would say recounting his memories. He was an inspector during the British rule and was transferred to Patna in 1942. The freedom bug had taken its control. His attitude towards fellow Indians had aroused the wrath of the Britishers and left him with no choice but to take compulsory retirement. Janaki Devi, my Grand ma from there took the charge and brought up her eight – sons (seven own and one step) and one daughter. Herself a daughter of land lord and an Inspector in the British Soldier, she had never known hardship. Leave aside working; she had travelled only in Palki’s from her village escorted by barahils. But situation made her strong and she turned into an Iron Lady. From here the role got reversed. My grand-father took charge of the kids and she managed a social worker assignment in the railways.
I had seen him standing by her side in all odds for all office related issues.
The most aspiring part was his zeal and support to his daughter-in-law, my mother in her studies, & even helping to look after the kids when she used to go to the college. Imagine a father in law doing these in the era of 60’s. My mother got married at the age of 15 just after her board. Seeing her zeal in studies, unlike other families where the bride gets crushed in family rituals, he took personal interest and helped her all out to complete studies till the level of PG & BEd. He even encouraged and helped her to go for Govt. job as he did for his wife. Having an extraordinary command in English, hindi, urdu and homeopath, he would himself help her with all studies. Even I got all my training till he breathed his last esp. in English from him.
Today the circumstances are more favourable and there are numerous forums and opportunities to help becoming self-reliant. But he has set examples through such daily course of life which made my mother self-reliant and thus imbibed the same in me which appears a very natural trait of mine. I am indebted to him.