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A hero turns 60!

My father turned 60 today!

A couple of days ago, we performed his Sashtiabdapoorthi pooja. It's a Sanskrit word. Sashti - Sixty

Abda - year

Poorthi - culmination.

As per the rituals, the man who completes 60years of life and his wife repeat the wedding vows and get remarried. Vedic mantras are chanted. Sumptuous meal enjoyed with family and friends. All in all a joyous occasion.

For a 35 year old, the number 60 is quite a distance. But for the man it went in a hurry with almost 4 decades with one employer. Earning and working just to ensure the family lives a life they want.

I have seen him at close quarters for 35 years but I must admit that it's only recently that I have gotten to know the real him. The man is epitome of a beautiful soul who has helped so many people in distress. When he took voluntary retirement a couple of years ago, people who worked with him had tears in their eyes as they wouldn't get to experience him at work. People narrated stories of how he selflessly helped even strangers who came to him seeking help. He had a reputation of being a man who can be visited any time asking for help.

He just gave. Never expected anything in return. Silently doing his job. Never hurting anyone at least intentionally.

My relatives tell me I'm like him. But I doubt. I can never be what he is. And that's the truth. However, I have picked qualities from him to imbibe. Stuff that make life satisfying.

- The list starts with hardwork. He's one of the most hardworking people I have known. Done odd jobs like working in electronics showroom, or working in a movie theatre ushering people to their seats to delivering milk and newspapers before landing a job in the railways. And even there his work spoke for him. The railway ministers and the general managers to the peons who worked with him remember him.

- Next comes helping people. Usually when people help others they are the ones who receive thank you messages but I have seen him tell people for last couple of dozens of years - Dhanyawad, seva ka mauka diya. (Thank you for giving an opportunity to serve).

I have forgotten how many times I have heard from his friends and colleagues that we/our lives turned out to be good because of my parents karma. For the kind of people they are.

- At last but the most important, live with integrity. He believed that anything which keeps you sleepless at night is not worth doing. Live a rightful poor life than doing wrong things for a life of riches.

Life stories are the best works of literature that can ever be written. So many facets and intricacies. Back stories and journeys.

My father is a proud man for having lived it right and is grateful for where he has reached today. He says "if you ask a 20 something me to look at my life at 60, I wouldn't believe that we came this far with all the difficulties we faced."

I guess that's the beauty of life.

Happy Birthday Dad! Thank you for leading by example and leaving unerase-able footsteps!

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