The payback obligation

  • Bhartendu Sood
  • |
  • Updated: Apr 25, 2013 22:48 IST

In the eighties of the last century, I had stayed in Karnataka for almost seven years. Therefore, recently, when I visited it again, it was natural that I spend time with my old friends.

Two friends with whom I was in constant touch in the last 30 years had retired from senior positions and both have enough wealth. The one whom I visited first was rolling in luxury. His life style was telling that he possessed everything which made life easy and comfortable.

Another thing which was evident was that the couple used their wealth to enrich the lives of their children and grandchildren by gifting them gold and property from time to time. They were very happy with their small world confined to their kin.

Then I visited my second friend. His austere life style was visible in his each activity. His only reference about his sons and daughters was that they were doing well in their lives.

Slowly, I came to know that he and his wife, who is a doctor, had started a charitable institution after their retirement and it provided free health services in the adjoining villages.

His wife would leave in the morning and would be back at 2 pm after spending some time at all the centres. And he would use this time for banking and doing purchases for these centres and then at 3 pm he would visit the centres to ensure that nothing was amiss.

These two situations tell us two things about life. First, that which brings happiness only to us—Atamtushti; and, second, that which brings happiness to many around us, that is Loktushti.

We are duty-bound to the society which gives us so much. Hindu ‘Shastras’ tell us that one’s last phase of life is ‘pay-back time’ for what we received in the earlier phases.

And this is not an option but an obligation that one must perform for one’s own good.


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