Thursday, November 1, 2012

What Will You Do If It Happens in Your Life ?

Yesterday I got a call from a person whom I had known well some decades ago. Without him elaborating, I perceived that he was in great distress. He was hesitant to tell or ask for a help. He needed something at that moment to save him and his family from immediate financial ruin. I am happy that I could do something yesterday for him even though it might not sustain him for ever. That in any case is up to the invisible ministers of the universe administration who are all around us !

Any way to tell you the truth, giving is a great pleasure. A pleasure you have to know for yourself. Much more than what you get from receiving. Again, if you are in a position to give, it is a higher privilege vested on you !

I would like to tell some thing more about the person who called me yesterday. When I met him the first time, he was an engineering technician cum supervisor of an engineering construction company. This company was entrusted with some chemical plant erection contract for my company where I used to function as the engineer- in-charge. This was some time in the early 1980's.

He spoke my mother tongue and hence in another couple of days he became very close to me. I found him a very talented technician with superb skills in engineering erection and construction. He did not possess any worthy certificates of formal education. But his skills and knowledge he gained through practical experience and observations were commendable. He was also a good leader for his team of construction workers. I found that his company was making a good fortune simply depending on the skills of this man.

One day I pointed out this to him and encouraged him to set up his own construction contract firm. He acted on it with some initial guidance from me and soon established a very successful engineering construction company. He bagged a few independent contracts and soon his company prospered with very good profits and financial status. I remember the time when he brought his first graduate engineer and first qualified accountant he recruited for his firm to me and introduced them to me. 

Soon there after he became so immersed in his business that his contact with me snapped. For some more time I used to hear about him. By this time he had become a really wealthy man. Wealth and money with him were much more than an engineer like me could amass in a life time ! Later I also learnt that he was very influential in the local politics also as some of the political leaders who became very prominent later were his proteges.

Nearly two decades later, he appeared to me all of a sudden in a new prominent restaurant that was opened in the area where me and my wife had gone to dine. He was the owner of the restaurant. He told me that he had he had diversified his business. Though he was showing due respect to me, he talked much about his influences and holds in politics, police and the like. He offered me any help with his battalion of goons that he had raised for his protection and maintenance of business activities, if at all I needed some of those !

My God ! What a transformation money and power can bring about ! I thought .

Nearly another decade passed. One fine morning I was surprised to find him in my office.

This time, he was a ruined man. His money and wealth had all gone. He was now facing successive failures. But he was confident of making a come back !

Then I did not hear from him for another year. Then one day, he came to my house.

He wanted to tell me his story. I listened. He was still a ruined man financially. It was difficult for me to believe that he did not have anything even to buy food for the day.

But, yet he appeared to be happier and pious than he was an year ago when he met me in my office.

Then he told me another thing. He told me that he and his family are now followers of Jesus Christ.

It was something difficult for me to believe. He was a staunch Hindu and a supporter of a militant ideology earlier !

Who converted him ? None. That was what he said. He was converted to be a christian by none other than Jesus Christ ! Too difficult for me to digest, being a nominal christian my self !

Was it his financial ruin that forced him for this change of mind ?

Perhaps yes. But the financial ruin had forced him to attempt suicide en masse with his family. But at that time of great distress when they were about to die, it was Jesus who brought about a change in them. A change to live a different life ! That was what he told me !

I could read the sparkle of happiness in his eyes, even at the time of great uncertainty in continuing with his earthly life. Later I met his wife and his children. I found the same in their eyes too.

I kept observing him in his trials and tribulations of earthly life in his new way of life. Perhaps this time he was facing more troubles. But yet he and his family continued to sustain triumphantly. There were inducements to go back to his earlier way of life. Perhaps he could make his life materially successful once again. But I find them not willing to do that for the transcendental joys they have found now.

There are things in this world which are beyond our understanding !

While I type this in, another story also came into my mind which thought of sharing with you all.

While I was a small boy, I used to hear about one of the brothers of my grand mother, who at that time served the lone international airline company of India at that time as a pilot.

He was an aristocrat of our family having married to a lady from similar backgrounds while we all remained at our villages as their crude country relatives.

As a boy I had an immense desire to meet this great uncle of mine who flew airplanes, a rare fascinating machine of those days.

I used to hear our family members talking about his life styles, his salaries and the like. While we went to village schools, his children never went to schools for studies, which used to be for lesser mortals. Instead, they were taught at home by tutors to make them pass the prestigious Cambridge school certificate examinations.

We never had an opportunity to meet him or his family while he flew over the globe.

Then some time in early nineteen sixties, the news about his losing job percolated to the family circles. He was suspended pending enquiry for some irregularity at the fag end of his career.

For a couple of years he sustained by consuming all that were at his disposal to come to a naught at some time later.

He fell from a height, down to stark realities of life ! They had relatives and friends elsewhere. He could have approached some of them with whom he was in contact. Those who matched his life style earlier.

But the stark truth all of a sudden made him realize that such friends and relatives are of no use when you are in real trouble. Aristocrats have no time for failing fellows ! Even he would have done the same way had he remained in the same fashion !

So what is next for the aristocrat who was defeated in life ?

Death ?  Yes, that is what the rule book of theirs said.

So this great uncle with his entire family decided to end their lives one fine day. They had faced a humiliating reality of life with no possible solution.

But his youngest son in his pre-teens spoiled their plans.

It was this time that some of the other family members extended a helping hand.

My father was one among them.

That resulted in this great uncle living in our home for more than three years. As a high school boy at that time I got the opportunity to learn many things from this man who was also a royal air force pilot of world war-2. He had become a  down to earth friend of mine !

Many times this thought used to come to my mind.

What would I do if such a thing happen in my life ?

I do not know.

It's a difficult thing.

But it does happen with many in this world.

Money, wealth and power do come and bless many abundantly. But it also could vanish all of a sudden just as it came !

So what have I learnt from these ?

First, if I am not abundantly blessed with these, I should be happy.

God is listening to my daily prayer: " Father, give us this day the daily bread ."

But if He bestows more than that, it is an additional responsibility. I should be careful. I should consciously make efforts not to get carried away by this wealth, money or power.

I should make conscious efforts not to hurt others with these material power gadgets that are under my command. I should feel humbled and should think of using these for the benefit of others, if possible.

If I do not, what is going to happen ? Perhaps nothing.

But I would indeed lose the opportunity to help.

An opportunity to get refreshed by the joy and pleasure that the god within me radiated from deep inside me.

Observing all these, I guess,  I am learning the meaning of this prayer that Jesus taught:

"Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil."
That I have been reciting almost every day for years !

But now in real life situations, I prefer to go by the advice of Jesus to the rich man, as narrated in my favorite book :

" When in honest doubt about the equity and justice of material situations, let your decisions favor those who are in need, favor those who suffer the misfortune of undeserved hardships.”

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