Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Come to Light!!

I came to know an elderly gentleman who has done very well for himself in his earlier life. Now is passing through a transition. Transitions are usually a humbling experience. Many a times it shakes the edifice of past, things find reasons to go wrong, together or one by one in quick succession. One is forced to do certain unpleasant things. The past is not enough to find inspiration for the future. 

Changes, that were long due, happened but reluctantly. Life loses suppleness after accumulating years of existence. Such phases visit everyone at some point in time in their lives. Some emerge stronger, many other perish. Impermanence is the essence of life, we all know, but is difficult to negotiate. 

The change in his life was partial loss of vision, just enough to walk without support. Sharpness and vividness of vision is a thing of past, like his illustrious career. It's just a phase. Vision and success will come back in full glory, I am sure, but not in a hurry. 

We have had some wonderful conversations about nothing in particular, but his ideas are precise and pertinent. He's well read and synthesises his knowledge with his day to day experiences. 

Motivations for life are glorious myths, he asserts, myths are lifeline. I discussed my set of myths with him. 

I invited him home and presented him a copy of my book. This my way of saying I care. He gave it a cursory look pulling it close to his face. He promised to read it.

We have met many times, since. It's been a good journey. I bombard my restless on his reposeful intellect. We seem to do good to each other. I talk about about people who have shaped me, my motivations, frustrations and, of course, myths. And the need for a change without venturing out of the comfort zone. I know it doesn't work that way. 

He listens to me quietly sipping tea. I wonder if he's bored. So I ask: 'Are you bored?' I can't invent a polite conversation as my mind is occupied by issues that I can't ignore nor deal with. 

The other day we met at a coffee shop. In want of anything better to say, I asked him if he has read my book. 'I will,' he reaffirmed 'very soon.'

He was eagerly waiting for his teenager daughter's examination to get over. It did last week. He persuaded her to read an article for him. A long one published in the Harvard Business Review. It took her more than an hour. She loves reading cryptic texts to her father.

I narrated to him the story of a father's friend's father who died at the age of 90 plus. He was foretold that he will spend last few years of his life in seraphic blindness. He mugged up the works of his favourite Urdu and Persian poets. And when darkness descended in his life, it actually did, he stood in good stead.

The blurred vision has changed his life in unexpected ways, has sharpened other sensory perceptions--he hears better. He experiences subtleties that is often lost in the bright light of the day. He's learned some important lessons the hard way, never to take the body for granted.

I didn't realise for a long while, but it suddenly dawned on me. There's a significant reason why he hasn't t read my book apart for the usual--paucity of time and interest and better things to read. I was so embarrassed to have insisted on him to read my book, repeatedly. 

I promised to read my book to him , one chapter at a time, in our future meetings.

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