Sunday, March 31, 2013

Of Affection, Appreciation and Gratitude

I left for my morning walk and came near a park. An eight-year-old child running off the park into a busy road had my heart racing. Suddenly a man appeared from nowhere and scooped up the child, just in time and laughed heartily. And the child screamed with joy, “Dad, you saved my life! You are best father in the world.” That was father-son bonding at its best. Whew! No chiding, no shouting; just two souls in a bond of affection—precious, timeless.

Tea at home after a walk was a routine affair. My neighbor dropped in with his daughter Priya, a youngster who had secured admission into a good technology college. My wife congratulated Priya and sang her praise in high notes, only to be told by the neighbor that this was not a big deal, etc, downplaying her achievement. Priya was a bit under the sun and under the cloud at the same time, and she ran off.

The afternoon brought in news of an unfortunate nature: A good friend and a guru of many years passed away after a brief illness. He was 63. I shared the news of his demise and wrote a few lines of what VS Mahesh meant to me, on Facebook and other groups. Felt guilty that i had not told him this. There was a flood of eulogy from people talking about what a wonderful man he was … and this went on for a long time. We captured our thoughts in a page, which we sent to his widow, later that week.

This morning I was deep in thought of those 3 incidents. It struck me that as we grow older; our propensity to express our affection for someone goes down. Our appreciation, and our gratitude, and what people mean to us, goes down over time. It does pick up when one is a lot older, as in a grandparent’s unbridled love of their grandchild, something that they missed out as a parent, unrequited love, no holds barred ... Small wonder grandparents are loved the world over. 

The child taught me unconditional love. I am sure Priya would have loved to be acknowledged. And what use of praising someone when he long since gone?

Perhaps, in our living day, can we catch someone doing something right each day? Can we appreciate someone once a day? Can we let our friends know what they mean to us? And express gratitude to people who made a difference, in our lives … when they are still around? Maybe you want to start right now? Call your aunt / uncle / dad / mom / friend anyone! And let them know what they mean to you and why. I am sure VS Mahesh would have loved that.