*Earlier posted on Sulekha.com in 2013
“Please help me out, bete. I have got a new laptop, and it has Windows 8. They have installed the softwares but I need to arrange everything so that it’s easier for me to find it. I had Windows 7 before this.” – So saying, Raghav Uncle expressed his distress in having to fumble across the extra hi-fi user interface of Windows 8.
I personally don’t like Windows 8 so much. Cumbersome and takes time to adapt to.
I could imagine how Uncle would have struggled for 3 weeks. I told him not to worry, and that I would set everything for easy access.
As I entered his humble abode, I see a room filled with a history of memories in the form of photographs, mementos and awards. A feeling of pride emanates just in the mere presence of the room.
“How is my grand daughter doing?” was his first statement to me. I told him I am doing well, and that I was here on a small project. It was my privilege to be able to meet him. First of all, he introduced me to his wife, who looked back at me serenely from the photograph. How many people honour their spouses in this way after they have left for God’s abode? Very few. I don’t know of any. Uncle has dedicated a whole section in his dining room to his late wife, declaring that this is my commitment and love towards her – it will always be there, so what if she is not with me today.
In my fruitful life of 86 years, I have no faults – except one. Just one fault. Just one regret.
I was taken aback. I asked him, Uncle, what regret do you have? He told me, “Beti, my wife loved me so much. The only regret I have is that I did not obey her. She wanted me to learn Sanskrit. She wanted to teach me Sanskrit. She was an expert in it. But due to my work commitments, I could not do that. Bas, that is the only fault I did.”
The simplicity of his words struck me.
Then he introduced me to his great grand children (through the pictures adorning the walls) – one of them had received a token of appreciation from Mr. Barack Obama, and had done his Great Granpa and parents proud. Ah, what kids, of course they have carried the genes of their smart thatha.
To see the room filled with relics of a life lived with great honor and principles, is an experience worth savouring.
What best to describe the same than to post this picture – which commemorates his contribution of ‘Highest Professional Standards’ to the Andhra Pradesh Police Department, in 1982, when he was awarded the President’s Police Medal for distinguished service.
And then, as I understood with what kind of difficulty Uncle was trying to share his wisdom with all us Sulekhaiites, I could see the will power of a man who had lived a life of strong principles and who wished to keep the enthusiasm alive, no matter how difficult and no matter how tough it got, with stomach cancer and low visibility in the eyes.
He showed me the video of his felicitation when his book ‘Reminiscences’ was launched. Late Mr. Y S Rajasekhar Reddy spoke a amazing words and really eminent personalities were present on the stage, remembering what service Uncle has done for the country.
There were anecdotes that he amused me with, especially the one in which he said,
Kamzarf Gar Daulat, Zar, Zan, Zameen Paa Jaye
Maaninde Hubaab ubhar ke Itraa Jaaye
Which in context, meant that, if it so happens that a man of low character suddenly acquires great deal of wealth, gold, land or woman, he takes pride and loses it just like a soap bubble, which flies for 3 minutes before it bursts.
What should be my fortune to be receiving wisdom like this straight from the noble grandpa himself!
As I set his laptop to make it as easy for him as possible, he blesses me with gratitude and wishes well for me, sharing with me, that he is completing 5 years on Sulekha on 2nd October.
At this age, he has been the most active member on Sulekha, and has written almost 550+ blogs.. What an achievement!!
Here’s congratulating him for his 5 years’ completion and wishing that he enlightens us always with his sher-o-shayari, life’s anecdotes and just plain blessings.
As I was leaving, Uncle stoops over a small plant in his balcony, and tries to pluck a leaf. He criushes the leaf, inhales and checks for aroma… and breaks another leaf and hands it over to me. I am not sure what to do with it. It looks like Tulsi. I ask, “Uncle, should I taste it?” Uncle said, “Bete, smell it first.”
As I smelt the crushed leaf, I felt the the most most most wonderful aroma I had ever smelt in life. And I exclaimed, “Uncle, This looks like a combination of Mint and Tulsi!!!”
And what do you know??? Uncle nodded and smiled, saying, “Yes, bete. It is. It is called…..” I think Mentha Arvensis.. (I don’t seem to recall the exact scientific name, but I am sure Uncle will correct me.
Here is a gallery I am proud of sharing with you all: