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Happy Holi particularly to Ashok Saw

Happy Holi to everybody. Let the colours bring cheer and joy in as many dimensions as the array of colours that you play with.

My special greetings are also due to Ashok Saw, the taxi driver with Tab cab in Mumbai.

I met Ashok only once while he was taking me from the residence to airport and, as usual, the forty minute drive gave me the opportunity to explore the life of the young man who was at the wheels. He was unusually young for the job that is normally executed by people of over 35. Ashok said he was twenty five and has been driving for almost seven years! He had come to Mumbai as a fifteen year old and had stuck to the city.

On my further probing the young boy started pouring out a story that will perhaps find reflection in your and my life!

Ashok had run away from home in Jharkhand when he was just about to finish his school. He had been badly pulled up by his father for having bunked the school to see a movie and he ran away the same night. He has not visited his home since then. And, that was the start of an interesting conversation.

Me: Why have not you visited your home .. that too for ten years?

Ashok: Yes sir .. long time of ten years.

Me: Are you scared that your father is still upset with you?

Ashok : No sir.. actually my uncles had come twice to take me back with the message from my father asking me to return.

Me: Despite that you have not gone back? Are you still upset with your father?

Ashok: No sir. I think my father was right in scolding me. He did not even beat me.

Me: Have you bothered to call him at least on the phone?

Ashok: No sir.. I don’t know why but I am unable to establish that contact.

Me: Does not the fact that he has been sending messages for you means that he has forgiven you?

Ashok: Yes sir. I know he has forgiven me for that misbehavior. But somehow I do not have the courage to face him.

Me: Is your father an educated person?

I suddenly saw a different person in Ashok.

Ashok: Yes sir. He is a teacher and the highest educated person in our village. He is actually like the headman of the village and enjoys tremendous respect in the entire area.

Me: That perhaps explains why he was upset with you. He must have been pulling up every boy in the school who missed the classes and could not accept that his son was the culprit this time! It must have been a matter of his prestige and reputation in the village.

Ashok: Yes sir. When you put it that way I realize that must have been the reason.

Me: What about your mother? Don’t you want to meet her? Would not she have been missing you badly?

Ashok: Yes sir. My mother had to be badly hurt by all this and must have suffered the maximum.

Me: Despite realizing the agony she must be going thru you have not bothered to call her?

I could see Ashok was now trying to hide his tears.

Me: Now imagine. If you were to go back to your village and let your mother feed you and you rest your head in her lap till you go off to sleep just like she would have done if you were a five year kid?

I thought I should stop the conversation lest the boy rams the car somewhere in his emotional turmoil.

Ashok: You are correct sir. I was very close to my mother though there were three children after me.

Me: So you also have a family responsibility?

Ashok: Yes sir.

Me: So you are speaking about your father with lot of pride and refer to your mother with great love but still trying to stay away from them!

Ashok: now that you said it.. I am thinking the same way.

Me: Let me suggest something. Why don’t you forgive your father for what he did ten years ago and also allow him to forgive himself for that act? It is quite likely that the old man is feeling sorry but is unable to express it. Give him an opportunity to come out of that unfortunate event.

Ashok: Sir .. my father teaches the entire area but you have turned out to be a better teacher.

By then we had arrived at the airport.

Me: That is ok. Tell me what you are going to do?

Ashok: I promise I will go to my village for this Holi and start afresh. My father said I could even start my own taxi business and he will finance me. I will seriously consider that.

Me: That’s a good idea. Pls do call me and let me know after Holi if you keep this promise.

Ashok: Yes sir…

The young boy was now beaming with happiness in the thought that there was a solution to his agony. His problems were all of his own making and were issues that he had created in his own mind. He had been unable to unload that historic baggage and had ended up unhappy and also causing unhappiness in his family. The drama was in his mind and entirely an internal conversation he was running with himself to his own pain. And his father was also perhaps running his own story!!

I wonder how many times I must have behaved like Ashok or like his father!

There is perhaps an Ashok Saw or his father in every one of us!!! When will we see that person in us and get freed from him?

Nb: I hope Ashok calls me and gives me the good news.

Mumbai
17 Mar 2014

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About The Author

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Ganesh - R

Corporate/Business/Professional

SINGAPORE

A corporate manager for over 40  years with an all round exposure. Have had the good fortune of great bosses who unfailingly took the risk of trying me out with  new functional responsibilities  that I was neither qualified to handle nor had any prior exposure. This served as an excellent opportunity for learning and  the exciting process continues even as I am ready to retire! 

 Have bid adieu to formal learning process long ago but the quest  continues.

"Human beings" interest me the most .. the curiosity at observing and learning from fellow beings appears to be a key  driver at this stage of life. Would like to spend the rest of the days in making a difference to them.

Other interests include gymming, music, etc..  

Blogging seems to be a god sent opportunity to laugh at oneself freely and without any pretensions. It also provides an excellent route to introspection albeit a bit loudly!


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