Life is a long journey with several forks along the road, each requiring a choice to be made. The direction to follow will depend on what course has been charted and perseverance of intent. Guidelines and priorities can be many, of which these five would probably find a prominent place.
Give :There are forms of giving other than monetary hand-outs. In fact the Boy Scout’s dictum ‘good deed for the day’, sets a ready example that money isn’t central to charity. The do-goober explores options not necessarily confined to the financial route – from wanting to render service and/or wanting to help others. A doctor may supervise the blood donation camp set up to rush supplies to an earthquake affected region. A lecturer may conduct evening classes for under-privileged kids in the locality. One may join a social movement that volunteers to clean up a particular road or lake in the neighborhood. Such practical expressions spring from one’s inner conviction and performing so (score card to record frequency or how often is superfluous, because the spirit of kind-heartedness ranks so noble that actual count becomes less pertinent) brings tremendous personal satisfaction.
Generosity of heart can be practiced in an indoor setting too : caring for the elderly or infirm at home, counselling a nephew gone into depression following an unsuccessful job interview, consoling a distraught friend whose only daughter staying abroad is hospitalized, etc. Sympathetic by nature, such a donor deems the relieved recipient is reward in itself.
Nurture : Goodwill is an intangible asset painstakingly cultivated through practice of endearing behavior / actions / dealings. Contingent on the quantum of investment, it keeps accumulating as if in a safe-deposit locker. However, there is a significant departure from convention viz., key lies in custody of folks you’ve interacted with and doling out endowment is solely their pleasure. Put another way, you exercise no claim to withdrawals, in which circumstance whatever bounty is granted, represents unsolicited gratitude — undeniably a priceless gift.
Curb : Impatience, argumentation and anger follow a predictable, indecorous sequence , where reining in the first two precludes display of the third. But when conduct veers unbridled, the scene unfolds as witnessed in TV debate shows : panelists butt in to cut short a viewpoint that has barely begun , babble of comments / counter-comments drown out each other, culminating in frayed tempers and , most frustratingly, no consensus emerges. Presumably these participants (and their ilk) exhibit similar behavior in everyday life – much to the distaste of family members/ office colleagues.
Discard : Nursing a grievance induces a corrosive influence capable of transforming one’s very nature. The simmering spite tends to feed off itself, elbowing out good, healthy thoughts from the mind. Unconsciously the mood (arising from grudge against despised person) vitiates normal relationships, leaving others to wonder whether this is the same good-nature individual. Reconciliation would be ideal but failing so, resolve must be to erect a bold “no entry” sign to that all-consuming reminder. Incidentally, enforcing such banishment does have a remarkable cleansing effect, restoring the characteristics s/he was liked for.
Don’t Decay (and become fossil) : Apart from media (both print and electronic) that provides varied information , a living , vibrant source (allowing interaction facility as well) could be advantageously tapped. The teenager grandchild is not only bubbling with energy (a definitely infectious attribute) but possesses nuggets of knowledge (equally transferable) tuned to modern-day environment. Input (on professional front) can also be had from juniors at office from where one retired. The underlying idea of connecting with later generation is to remain contemporary with the times and not get dismissed as “so back-dated”. Somewhat supporting this tactic to maintain contact, an uncorroborated study suggested company of the younger set arrests aging, implying years will naturally add on but mental outlook retains the vitality of youth.
Having undertaken a self-assessment and short-listed values most cherished, proceed on intended path to savoir the sense of fulfillment, quite purposeful that approaching sunset years shall pose no interference.
H S Baral
ex-Chief,CC & PR,BHEL