A friend of mine got very lucky this summer. The generous owner of the business he works for bought him a car and asked him to pay back whenever it is convenient for him. Earlier it was a three mile commute for him and he couldn't even afford a public transport. He was homeless a couple of years back.
A few days back when I met him, he asked for my advice about something. He had been saving money for the last few months so that he can pay the owner back in next few months. However, he was wondering if this time he should spend the money to fix the broken window of his car as the owner didn't mention any timeline he needs the money by.
It was a difficult question for me and it made me thinking. We are all given a gift, aren't we? The gift of existence! I don't know the gift is from whom, but I know for sure that I owe my existence to someone. And that someone is not only my parents, it is someone or something much much bigger than them!
But then I realized something else. I never paid back to this planet. Ever. All my life I used all my financial, emotional and spiritual accumulations to fix my own life - to read a book, to buy a trendy car, to go to an expensive vacation and many others.
I could have done better. I could have initiated a fundraiser for a friend who was struggling to make his ends meet. I could have stood beside someone who was going through an emotional crisis. I could have arranged for an evening class to educate the under-privileged children. And I could have done many more.
I just didn't realize earlier that I owe it to all. I took my existence for granted. And kept delaying to pay back.
Just like many of us.
It's been more than twenty years my maternal great-grandmother passed away. I was in college that time. She was completely blind for the last ten or fifteen years of her life. I don't have a memory of a conversation with her where she was looking at my face. But my parents told me that she saw me when I was born. I still have the picture where she is holding her first great-grandchild. That was me. We had a very special bonding. I still cherish the memories of stealing pickles from our refrigerator and eating together when no one else was around.
Every year all of her great-grandchildren used to receive a gift of two rupee bill from her during the festive season. Initially it was just me, and then my brother joined me and then my other cousins followed. Her hobby was to collect new, shiny, unfolded bills of money. We always used to get the best ones from her collection.
However, unfortunately, she was not loved or cared by her own family. Not according to my definition of loving and caring, at least. Every time I visited her with my parents, I saw people cursing and abusing that blind old lady. I was a kid that time and was still working on to have my own perspective about everything. And I thought it was very normal and this is how the world works. But I was wrong.
Anyway, when I look back now, I still wonder what kept her going in spite of the pain that she was experiencing every day in her life! What was she looking forward to? I don't know the answer, but what I know is that, she chose to carry on with her life no matter what. It was more of a choice than anything else.
The festive season is here again. I miss her. And I hope I can always choose to carry on. Just like her. No matter what.
Abhimanyu Gupta lives in Chesterfield, Missouri with his wife Nilanjana & son Anusurya. His profession is software testing and his passion are music and books. He can be reached via Email, LinkedIn or Facebook.