The story of an ordinary man

This man lacked the ‘intellect’ intellectuals are known to have. He believed in the goodness of others, more than his own. He was like an open book. When this man was successfully steering his boat, he jumped from the boat, in search of a new shore. His family couldn’t understand why he left them afloat midstream. Even in the most trying circumstances, he did not try to clarify and explain his standpoint. He thought, one day people will understand him. He did not like the idea of giving justifications for his actions. He never intruded into the lives of others. He too did not like others’ intervention in any of his matters. He was not a go-getter. He was happy if something came to him in an ordinary way. He was full of love; as if the world is made of only good people. He possessed nothing, but was full of contentment. It did not bother him if someone was ahead of him. He also did not think that he was a laggard. He did not like to give, or receive guidance. He was so ordinary that no one considered him his competitor. His ‘invisibility’ to others, even to his own people, was not a matter of remorse for him. He had limited desires. His bank account did not have balance. What he earned, he spent. He was a confident man.

The difference between need and want was fully evident in the dresses he wore, and that included his specs and footwear. In the only picture I saw him well-dressed was the picture that was taken at the time of his wedding. In the picture he is sitting next to his pretty wife. He did not like to use towels. ‘Gamcha’ or his ‘dhoti’ was enough for him to wipe off the remaining water from his body. He would never travel first class. He preferred to use bicycle. Distances never bothered him, as he was so confident about the mechanical prowess of his legs and his bicycle. He could not sing, nor he had any idea of what is good music, but he loved to listen to music. He loved if someone sang for him. He loved if someone explained to him what the song wants convey. He liked to serve good food to his visitors, but any food was good for him. He disliked doctors. His prescription - follow nature’s laws and you will not be sick. He considered doctors more like instruments than humans. He preferred home-made doctors, like grandmothers, who know everything about medicine without knowing anything about the sickness. He could bear pain.

Since he did not like to offer views on most matters, he was never asked to offer views on most matters. He had a relationship with the world that was deeply spiritual. He was like a wandering ascetic. He was not a house holder in the stricter senses, though he wanted to have a corner in his tiny home, among his people. He took particular care that he was not bothering anyone. He tried to maintain this consciousness until the last breath.

The day he died he was among his people. It was a peaceful event. During those last moments, people who could not be near him, he wished they were with him. He wished them all the best life can possibly offer. He was not sorry that he was not leaving any assets for anyone. He believed that assets are something that are made, and not for giving on a platter. His children, he thought, were his assets.

This man was a father, but he never behaved as if he was a father. I am fortunate that this ordinary man was my father.

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© 2017 by Dr Purnendu Ghosh