I was returning home from work. I dreaded it because Shiv Kaka, a distant uncle of my mother’s, was expected. I hadn’t even known of his existence before this.
But surprisingly, I was instantly drawn to his simplicity. I listened to him talk with enthusiasm over dinner. He had travelled in a crowded train to meet us. I was touched by the effort. We put off meeting friends and family and keep in touch over the phone or the Internet.
His daughter was married, one of his sons had set up his own business and the other was a priest. He owned a piece of land and two cows. Yet, he was proud of the fact that he was financially independent. He was content playing with his grandchildren.
He insisted on giving my sister and me money as parting gifts. But the most touching bit was his parting line: “With God’s grace I have got more than I require. I don’t want anything more. God can give it all to others.”
We are all conditioned to aim for higher goals. Self-help books and success gurus propagate the idea that contentment leads to stagnation. An old man from the village taught me an important lesson. I hope to cherish the thought forever and pass it on.