My Guru Rashmi

” A city without streets, a king without treasury, a merchant without a business, a face without a nose, life without wisdom and a life without a guru, is all considered the same”.

Indeed, life comes without a manual or a clear rule book on how to play the game. Though you have no map nor any directions to chart the course: what you do have is your learning. You can learn on the fly : as you veer and careen through the course. And you can rely on the Mentor, Guide, Teacher, Guru to teach you the way forward and make the crazy carousel ride of life – a little more predictable, a little less difficult.

Nearly 20 years ago, when my daughter Rashmi was just 4 going on 5, as a Trustee of the local school I was invited on Guru Purnima day to talk about my Guru and my learnings. I chose to talk about my 4 year daughter as my Guru and what I have learnt from her. 20 years later I think those learnings are still relevant and so I thought of sharing these with you.

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A Guru is an aspiration. A Guru is an inspiration.  These are the tings which have inspired me:

  • Rashmi’s original name was Sukhada. {more of that in some later blog} “Rashmi” means a ray of sunshine: while “Sukhada” means happy/joyous. And that was the first learning I got from Rashmi: she was (and is)  always happy, full of joy and looking forward for the next adventure and new experiences. Her ‘happy meter” is forever positively charged and she never seems to feel sad. Watching her face the sunshine and the rain brings its own message : am I using the dark blacks and blues too much in painting my life? Can i use more yellows and reds? Rashmi has shown me it is possible.
  • Trust & Love everyone: whether it is a street side stray cat/dog or me, often I think they are the same to Rashmi. Everything around her appears perfectly cuddly and lovable to her. Even as a 4 year old child in Atul, she was more than happy to take off on 2 wheeler rides with whoever was passing on the street. Whether it was a ferocious local gangster on his Bullet or the Guest House attendant on his bicycle: whoever crossed the main road in front of our house was regally stopped and asked for a ride. The car wallahs and the scooter wallahs all obliged this precocious child and dropped her back with her hands and pockets full of candies and sweets they lovingly bought her after the royal tour.
  • Immediately on return Rashmi would set off to distribute her “loot” to her friends. Even at home if someone got her a bar of Cadbury chocklate : we had told her to share. And we found that this girl would share till the last piece. When there was only one piece left in her had: if my wife or me would ask her “where is my share?” Rashmi would willingly, smilingly give away the last piece. Sometimes I would caution and tell her: if you give the last piece away, you will have none left for yourself. But that never stopped her in giving. Sharing her toys was another grief for my wife and me. Whoever came home went back with gifts of toys which Rashmi wanted them to have. There was no attachment to her clothes, toys, games or food items. When we tried to make her wordly wise and say you cant give all your things away: her simple question was: “why not?”  I have yet to get an answer to that one.
  • Hold no grudges was another way she operated. In children’s fights I have seen her being beaten up  and once even badly bitten by another child. We were of course upset and tried to keep the kids apart. The very next moment Rashmi wanted to play with the same aggressor: without any rancor or ill feeling. There were occasions when we felt it had gone too far and tried to scold or separate the fighting kids. Rashmi would turn against us and say “He is my friend. Let him do what he wants. You don’t interfere. I am ok”.
  • Another uncanny skill was forgetting the past: the minute it was over, it was over!! There was absolutely no carry over. If you are upset and angry, you would take some time to overcome that. But not Rashmi. For her, what was done was gone. She always looked forward with aspiration and hope and  never was burdened by acts of omission or commission in the past. Her whole approach was look forward and carry on. Let the past lie dead on the path: unremembered and uncared for.

On that fateful day 20+ years ago when I went to speak about my Guru in the school function. I talked about these characteristics of my 4 year old:  Being happy and positive always; Trusting and loving everyone around; Having no attachments to wordly things: Holding no grudges against anyone and Forgetting the past and carrying on. And as I talked I realised that our Hindu & Vedic philosophy tells us exactly the same formula to be happy.

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What do our Scriptures say? Live in the present : forget the past, don’t worry about the future. Live in the moment. Enjoy whatever is happening around you. Trust your fellow beings and love them with all your might. And forever Be Happy and think positively and positivity will surround you.

My little one was intuitively living the Vedic philosophy and teaching us the simple formula for leading a happy life. And, I am happy to tell you, even after growing up, my daughter has NOT grown up. She continues in her childlike faith and trust of all around her. She loves everyone apriori : sans cause and sans expectation of any return. ( Which I must say with shame today, we try to correct and tell her the practical aspects of life & living). While having all, she is still detached. And she lives the moment. Happy to seize the day and live in the present. And so I still admire her. And still consider her my Guru. And hope to work towards imbibing some of her abilities and mindsets. Am sure I am and will be a better person because of her.

 

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Love you hamesha Rashmi: vikas