Pic.: Pradeep Nanda
My grandfather - dad’s dad – was an extremely shy and private person. As a farmer, he worked in our paddy fields, in the hot sun, all day long, which made his skin intensely dark-brown… and, yes, he wore on his body a piece of cloth just enough to cover what was necessary in a village like ours!
The grandma, on the other side, was exactly opposite… She was fair and lovely… exuberant… loved singing and dancing… had lots and lots of friends…. She loved to attend all the events and functions that were happening around…
The grandpa shied away from the crowd… Even with his olden-days’ bare-minimum-literacy, he was able to befriend books and magazines which were published in Konkani and Kannada… I saw him lying down on his bench, during his free times, and reading his favorite books (Konkani translation) by St. Augustine. He was, particularly, influenced by Thomas A. Kempis’ ‘Imitation of Christ’… He was fond of reciting the age-old proverbs and sayings… He had hundreds of them in his treasury.
Frankly, all of us around him took our grandpa for granted!
Being a private person – a shy introvert – my grandpa found solace in reading…
Did this trait come in me from my grandpa?
Grandpa spoke so much about Life and its philosophy…. He had in his treasure loads and loads of proverbs and pearls of wisdom…
Did I inherit this treasure from my grandpa?
I am not a farmer and I don’t toil in the hot sun all day long… My skin hasn’t tanned as my grandpa’s had… and I wear much more on my body to cover it… Still, like him, I tend to avoid the frenzy of a crowd… spend, almost, all my free time being by myself or by my very close ones… Prayer comes naturally to me when I am alone before the altar or even without it… but, I just can’t pray in a crowd… Just can’t…
Did this come to me from my grandpa?
Today, two my T.Y. B’Com students were discussing about the latest scandal involving a famous god-woman… I got curious and listened to them keenly… It was fun listening to them… They were college kids and knew how to laugh it out… and do it loud!
“I don’t blame any of these so-called spiritual babas and babes who are being exposed,” one of them said without blinking his eyes, “I blame us who have lost ourselves in the crowd… We act wired in a crowd, and, therefore, ‘we’ need to be exposed.”
I really loved what this young-man was saying. Instantly, I remembered how my grandpa, decades ago, would describe this madness of the mob – so colorfully and so effectively – with a timeless Kannada proverb:
“Jana marulo? Jatre marulo?”
Who is foolish… who is dumb and stupid – you and I, the people… or you and I, who get lost in a crowd and act weird?
Yes, who needs to be exposed?