Friday, November 30, 2012

Of Advice — Received and Given

I am just amazed at the amount of free advice that is given out and received each day — all well intended and some very profound.  Some said in jest but precious all the same. So, here it how it all began…

‘Get up early, it makes you healthy wealthy and wise’, said my sleepy wife. It was 6 am. That morning I met my friend Ganesh from Mumbai and he mentioned quite casually that the best advice he received was from his colleague Kumar, who told him, “Sell your bike before you go to Bombay,” This seemed to be an everyday advice anyone would give, but not for Ganesh. This called for his giving up something he really loved – his bike. And yet he knew that there was some truth in the advice as given his health condition, he could not afford to take chances. He said that over the years, he could count off many near misses he has had on the roads in Bombay and remembered Kumar. Advice, oftentimes, may not be the thing you want to hear!

That afternoon, I met my colleague of many years, Ravi, and he said he received the best advice from me! I had asked him to ‘add some focus and commitment to life’ and asked him to ‘buy a house’. He had said it was beyond his means. I added that most things were ‘within your grasp, beyond your reach’, and that he should try. Today, he is a proud owner of a flat in Mumbai, and his appreciation (pun intended), knew no bounds.

This was beginning to be interesting. The same afternoon Venkat, a head hunter called me. I got the best advice from him several years ago. He had told me: “You don’t get far being a rolling stone, so don’t change your jobs every 3 years.” Precious! How can I ever thank him enough? Incidentally, he called to let me know that he had changed his job, but that is another story.

I came home. The maid servant was engrossed in her mopping. I lauded her for it. She responded saying that it was her duty to ‘do simple things exceedingly well’. Here she was giving me some sage advice in a graceful way. I was touched.

Later that evening, I met my sons, one of whom told me, “You got to relax, Dad!” And the other came in a few minutes later and added, “Dad, you got to chill!” I called my mother who lives in Chennai, who asked me to take care of my health. Big hugs, mom!  Advice was raining on me. My wife asked me not to “think too much” but remain “in the moment.” This was a Family package of advice – precious indeed!

It occurs to me that the world cares, people care, friends care, family cares and just about anyone you meet – care for you. They all express it in different ways.  We like some of the advice we get, some we don’t. I recognize that if anyone gives an advice, it is because they care!  I felt good.

A dear friend called me and advised me to pen my thoughts. Even as I write this, I am beaming with the joy of gratitude, of a day well spent – heeding the priceless advice... of the priceless!