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

24 Replies to “My Guru Rashmi”

  1. After going through your blog I am reminded of the line of Wordsworth “child is the father of man”. Rashmi has assimilated such values at her tender age that she will be Guru at all times.

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    1. Yes indeed SD Child is here indeed the Father of the old man. I have got more from Rashmi than I have ever given her. She is a free child and continues to grow in leaps and bounds. My fear is that one day she will grow away from me. But let me cross that bridge when the time comes. Today I revel in her glory.

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  2. I loved this so much! And knowing Rashmi so well, I see what you mean. She is without doubt full of good intentions and positivity and at times even I have the urge to stop her from being like that just to protect her! But as you already know, she is who she is because of this mindset and I would rather be there on the side lines ready to help if she needs me as her friend! Because her smile lights up the room and her positivity is too contagious to phase out. You have really been an amazing anchor to her therefore it is as it is.

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    1. Ruth you put it so beautifully. Rashmi is her own person and a strong one at that. Her vulnerability is tangible but sometimes I feel her openness protects her. She is ever ready to forgive and forget. And such people don’t hurt so bad. I value her in my life and hope she continues to be herself and teach me.
      Her other major strength is to attract some great people in her life. I am grateful to the powers that be for people like you who are her true friends and love her for her own self. Hope she continues to get your love

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  3. Vikas,
    Wonderfully articulated.
    The Vedic connect through Rashmi’s lessons is very insightful.

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    1. Vish yes that was an insight I got then. Vedas tell you so much about right living and right thinking. The biggest learning was to live in the present moment. And be positive. How can you go wrong if you follow this simple philosophy.

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  4. Love you Hamesha Baba… I have been the happy person because you and aai always have let me be the way I am and never tried to change the slightest bit of me. Thank you for giving me so much freedom and love to grow while you taught me all the right things. You are my role model and I wish you become like you and aai as I grow. I feel blessed to have such wonderful parents 🙂

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    1. Rashmi the day you came into our lives our lives changed for the better. You have truly been the sunshine in our lives for the past so many years. Of course there are some days when there are thunderclouds and lightning and once in a while some torrential rain. But all that makes the next day’s sunshine all the more enjoyable.
      You have always been my teacher and have taught me many times to rethink and change my approach. And I respect you for that.
      Be the same. Keep Smiling. Keep Learning. And grow.
      And don’t idolize or idealize your Aai and me. Both of us know we have our own feet of clay. If you will: take the service orientation and sense of responsibility from your mother. And the love of people and “others before self” approach from me. Leave the rest. Have a great life. And keep blessing us .

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    1. Suresh Zahe Naseeb Zahe Karam.I am privileged to have all of you gurus in my life. So tirelessly and so patiently you all give me so much that I am reminded of the Marathi song : Denarya che haat hazaron Dubali mazi zholi.. ( Thousands of hands are seched out to give: But my ability to receive is limited…)

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  5. Refreshingly different and inspiring. A great message that children can also be wonderful teachers. But how many fathers would write about it on Guru Purnima? Your daughter is blessed to have you, as someone with such a large heart and enlightening perspective; just as you are blessed to have her and her principles in life. Traditionally, it has always been the prerogative of parents to teach/impart learning’s to their children. A big take away from your blog is being open to learning and imbibing values/habits/principles from our children. What a great thought!!!

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    1. Thanks Deepa. Yes it is different. We do not acknowledge it but the fact is we learn a lot from our children. And it is not only their tech savviness. In life lessons also we can learn a lot. Right from the earliest days I used to send sms to each and everyone on my phone book thanking them for their teachings and being in my life. Some thought of it as tacky. But I genuinely felt and accept that each and every one in our lives is there for a purpose. Every experience teaches you. Every adversity and insult has also made me learn. I always have felt humbled by the richness that others bring to our life. Rashmi is of course extra special. I continue to admire and learn from her even today.

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    1. Vijay a close friend of mine in Valsad used to say Rash is lucky. I used to always correct him and say “we are lucky” She has really brought about a sea change in our lives. Thanks for acknowledging her

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  6. मैं जिंदगी का साथ निभाता चला गया…
    Remembered this song, on reading your blog.

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  7. Another wonderful blog Sir…
    I am sure every family as a child as Rashmi ….. But can every father like in your case find that guru in her or him …. The fact the Rashmi still is the same as her childhood and still follows her ideology she followed then goes to say a lot about the up brining that you and your better half have given her… To the most wonderful and lovely family I have had the privilege to know…..

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    1. Nikhil yes very often families follow the axiom of children are to be seen not heard.The losers are the family members because from the mouths of young children many gems do flow. One needs to be sensitive to keep an open mind and encourage the child. And then the child grows: and you grow alongwith the child.
      Thanks for your kind words about the family and the environment: we have tried to give forward what we received from our parents. And life has been a great adventure due to that.
      Keep reading and keep encouraging me: like to read your perspectives which are always refreshingly different.
      Thanks for being in our lives and being the ever encouraging Nikhilmama for Rashmi

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  8. Beautiful Guruji. Even I always tell people that even a small child can teach us a lot provided we are ready to learn from him.

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    1. Yes Tejinder our learning is only limited by our mindset. What can I learn fromhim/her? He is…. She is like that only. All this comes in the way of experiecing life as it is unfolding before us. Rather we have preconcieved notions and ideas which filter all our learning. We were born free. If we can remain free we will achieve much more than we do now.
      Thanks friend for your comment

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