It began with the arrival of a family of five. Grandparents, mom, dad and son. At 83 and 88 the grandparents were undoubtedly the youngest minds wrapped in elderly bodies I have ever met. Mr.Rama Aiyar and Mrs. Rajam. Formal introductions began. At the very beginning grandma comes out with a statement about grandpa – “He will tell you he is a self made man – Don’t believe him – I made him.”
On prodding Mr.Rama Aiyar recalls the milestones in his long life. He was born in 1928. He had his upanayanam( wearing of the sacred thread) at the age of 7, asked for Bhiksha ( a tradition of begging for alms with the purpose of ego conquering) for another 9 years. He completed his SSLC, then Intermediate and for years he did handful of temporary jobs. At 21 he married the crossword loving, ever smiling and practical Rajam. He went on to do his BA in Economics, after which he joined Caltex, and then LLB,ACS,FCS and at 75 attempted his ICWA.
Grandma has the punchline reserved – ” He still hands over my medications to me daily, pill by pill, after verifying the expiry date on each of them. You see he feels I am illiterate.”
Now we skip a generation to elaborate on Akshay. The grandson. He reminded me so much of Dustin Hoffman in the film Rainman. This fascinating young man lives in his universe with a variant of autism. But from within that universe he communicates through his music. Carnatic music. Name the song and the raga, he will sing it with such elegance that will leave the listeners transfixed. Keerthanas, Shlokas, Mantrams rain down and then suddenly I realized that Akshay is abled differently, nothing more nothing less, and I am humbled.
Then there are the epitome of kindness. Usha and Swaminathan. Their kindness and concern is not just reserved for their son. It spills over to every one present. Their resolve to play the game of life with the cards they were dealt with, armed with perpetual smile and kindness in their eyes, left me speechless.
Some greek philosopher is credited with the saying” All I know is science, All I don’t is God”.
In these days of knowledge at our fingertips, all I can say after observing our guest family is, my pranams to all of you in teaching me lessons on the importance of being humble and kind, at all times.
I now know less and less of more and more. My God just got bigger! – Murali