THE 'HIGHER' DUTY
Pic.: Nirmala Sundar
Last evening, I spent, almost, two hours in Gunit’s* bungalow. I was visiting their place after twenty-nine years!
I knew Gunit* since he was in class 9. That was the time, I used to teach his elder brother, Karan* and four others, in their bungalow, who were studying for their twelfth-standard board-exams. I was very close to their family... Though Gunit wasn't my student, he would be very close to me, very affectionate and respectful. Parents, despite their wealth, had great respect for teachers, about which, they would be very vocal. “It is teachers like you who mould our children,” they would say, “You are their second parents.”
Both the sons were groomed, during their college days, to get into the family business. Karan completed his B’Com and Gunit his B’Sc. Eventually both both joined the business full-time and ensured that it grew well.
What I still remember is, that the family was very committed to a particular spiritual organization. The Sundays were dedicated for the ‘seva’ - the ‘service’. Come what may, that was how it was... for the entire family. I was very curious to know about the mind of the two brothers. “Are these kids forced into it?” I would wonder, sometimes, “What makes these young-kids ‘sacrifice’ their Sunday fun – the picnics, socials, lazying around and chilling out with friends?”
Some years ago, Karan and Gunit lost their dad. The business is, now, grown and diversified. Karan’s two daughters are studying abroad and Gunit’s only daughter is doing her ninth in a reputed school.
Are the wives of Karan and Gunit in tune with them when it comes to their spiritual organization? “In the beginning, it wasn't so as each one of them had affiliation to their own Masters and organizations,” last evening, Gunit told me, “We never forced anything upon them; in stead, we allowed each other to pursue our respective commitments to our faiths... We mutually agreed it to be ‘our higher duty’. We gave that ‘space’ to each other and, as time passed, they accepted our commitments gladly and joined the fold. It, then, became easier for us to talk about it to our own children... None of them show any resistance.”
Gunit wasn't making it up. Last night, I could see that as I interacted with his 14-year-old daughter. She showed me the very same seeds which I had seen when Gunit was her age...
Incidentally, yesterday was a Sunday – ‘the seva day’. When I had gone to their bungalow, Gunit and his mom had just returned from their ‘seva’, which had started at 8 in the morning... The whole Sunday had gone!
Or, was it this way: ‘The whole Sunday had been gained”?
It had to be the latter, sir... It had to be the latter... The fire I saw in Gunit, last evening, was ten times greater in intensity from the ‘flame’ I had seen twenty-nine years ago... It was all-consuming, all-embracing!
In the morning, yesterday, Gunit’s laadli daughter was expected to return from their week-long school-trip to Greece. Early in the morning, Gunit’s wife went to the airport to attend to the important duty – the ‘seva’... while Gunit went to attend his - ‘The higher duty’...
It was all accepted and performed in good faith... in great trust and joy!
“Dad, I am proud you did not miss your ‘duty’.” Yes, this was what the 14-year-old had whispered into her dad’s heart, last evening, as she hugged him on his return from it...
Yes, returned from his duty... The ‘seva’...
The ‘higher’ duty!
*The names changed