Monday, August 17, 2015


Pic.: Chetna Shetty

A fellow-learner in our Tai Chi class seemed quite disheartened and restless during our session, last morning. “Relax my friend,” I heard Kannan trying to cheer up this fellow-learner, “Don’t take it so seriously.”

Kannan himself was a student… After more than eighteen months in our Tai Chi class, he himself wasn’t getting so many moves right… and, on seeing the disappointment of our fellow-learner, Kannan had said the right thing: “Relax my friend… Don’t take it so seriously.”

But, then, Kannan could go only so far… For, the fellow-learner wanted it ‘perfect’, and it was not happening…

Later, while I was with Kannan alone, he told me this: “When I was battling for life in the hospital (Kannan is a cancer survivor), tied to tubes, masks and machines all over me, when all including my doctors couldn’t tell whether I would come alive or dead, I would worry about the people at home – my wife, my son who was still studying… I would worry about the strain they would come under if I was gone… I would worry about a hundred other things…But, here I am… alive now… I can talk, walk, think, laugh and love… I am alive, and that’s the greatest gift, the greatest miracle… Why have a heartburn over one or two wrong Tai Chi steps?”

To me, Tai Chi was just a metaphor. Kannan wasn’t talking to me about just Tai Chi. He was challenging me to think: “Why lose heart over anything in life… Why grumble, why remain thankless?”

On my way home, after the class, I saw a missed-call from Prakash, a dear old-student,  and now friend, of mine. I called back. He said, “Sir, I had called to give a sad news to you… Kishore expired last night!”

I froze for a moment. “What?” I managed to react…

“Yes sir, he had a massive heart attack,” Prakash said.

I had taught Kishore, too. He hailed from a well-off business family. Kishore had two lovely daughters, who were given the best of the best education. Right since he was a little boy, Kishore and his entire family would spend their every Sunday at the service of their spiritual Master and His organization… Yes, come hail or come tsunami! So, yesterday, when Prakash gave me the sad news, the first thought crossed through my mind was: “It was the day, Kishore had dedicated to God for all his life. It must be God’s wish!”

However sad, mad and painful it seems, what Kannan was saying is absolutely true… There is no point in losing our hearts over a few wrong Tai Chi moves, or, for that matter, a few crores… Our real joy and blessing come to us clasped in every breath we take, every heartbeat… and, every feeling, that whatever is given to us is a gift, a grace… the greatest miracle of our existence.



Anonymous said...

Good article.Very thought provoking

Abha Sah said...

Gerry, I love the way you have clubbed together 'a few wrong Tai Chi moves' an 'a few crores'.

Looks like Kannan's advice not to take it so seriously has got to you.

His joie de vivre is inspiring because it comes from his suffering and is not the heady flush of an indulged youngster who
has not experienced lif in all its moods.