All these 60 years of my life I was doing every bit to get in a position where me and my family can lead a normal and a comfortable life, if not luxuriously. After 40 years of hard work, when I thought I’m done and have achieved almost everything that a common man can aspire, I was told otherwise. Though it was just an advertisement but something in me got disturbed after watching it. The advertisement has 2 versions 1 each with Saif Ali Khan and Shahrukh Khan. Both of them feeling proud of their celebrity status and showing off the power of money and obviously thinking if they have made it large. For a moment, I felt so offended and insulted that just because I am not a celebrity and I don’t own a Merc or a BMW, I have achieved nothing?
I thought it was momentary and will go away but it wasn’t that easy. I don’t completely blame that advertisement for this state of mind of mine. There surely are other factors attributed, one of them was definitely retirement from my job and dependability on children for various needs. The shift in a man’s life from a bread earner to merely a consumer is a big thing. Easily said but hard to digest. My family on the other hand was aware of my cluttered state of mind.
One day while sitting in a library with my favourite books and a cup of coffee I noticed a very old man sitting at a table across me. There was strange sort of peace on his face. One can really get mesmerized by the serenity his looks possessed. I couldn’t control, got up from my seat and sat beside him. He looked up and gave me a welcome smile. I wanted to talk to him and was just looking for an apt opportunity to start the conversation. I don’t know why but I was really getting anxious to talk to him as if he held the key to my inner questions. Finally, I asked him for a cup of coffee as I ordered for my second cup. Though he declined my offer for a cup of coffee but then the conversation triggered between us. As the conversation was growing I was getting fonder of this man. The level of wisdom and simplicity of his thoughts were just remarkable. Somehow, I was getting tempted to share with him my state of mind and the reason of my stress.
In a few minutes we decided to take a stroll in the garden just outside the library. Though I asked him to take a seat on a nearby bench but he insisted on walking. Anyhow, the conversation between us took a desired turn and I shared with him my set of post retirement fears and insecurities. I told him that even after spending all these years of my life for the fulfilment of each and every need of my family I’m lacking the sense of accomplishment or achievement.
After listening to me patiently for good 10 minutes, he smiled and said, ” You know what, I had same fears and insecurities when I was your age some 25 years ago but one thing that was not similar between us was the sense of accomplishment. I had that sense of accomplishment or achievement because I always feel that everyone you meet in your life is a hero of his own little world. As you told me that you have a wonderful family and caring children, shows that you have always been a good husband and a wonderful father. In this life, what really matters is how you do that you do. If you do it with full conviction, sincerity and authenticity that is what makes you a real super star. You might not have earned enough money to buy yourself materialistic luxuries but I’m sure you’ve earned the love of your family and that too me is a real luxury. Every stage of life is important so is the old age. Now that you’ve possessed enough amount of wisdom from your experiences all these years, it is time for you to spread it…….” The conversation continued for good 2 hours.
While returning home I was totally lost in the thoughts of that meaningful conversation with the old man. As soon as I rang the bell of my home my grandson ran shouting towards me saying, “You are the best Grand Paa in the world…”. It was then actually, all the words of that man started making ultimate sense to me.
And it changed from ‘Have I made it large’ to ‘I have made it large’….