Albeit, most of us prefer to follow the reverse adage that might sound as, “Complex Living, Petty Thinking.”
Fortunately, I used to know and relate to a person, since my birth, who happened to personify that simple living, high thinking stature like anything.
He was a schoolteacher by profession. A freedom fighter. A compulsive benevolent man known for his philanthropy. And someone who had given a damn even to the epidemic disease called plague during pre-independence in order to save lives at Kolkata (erstwhile Calcutta).
Post independence he travelled to Myanmar (previously which was Burma). There he explored his luck and maintained his life kingsize. Thereafter, he couldn’t feel like taking the nationality of that country and was adamant to remain only in dhoti instead of being lungi or sarong clad.
As a result, he and his wife along with their little kids had to come back to India as refugees. On his return to his very own Kolkata among his relatives, he found that the things were changed.
He along with his family was simply driven out of his own houses by his beloved cousin bro and sis. Who not only took the undue advantage of his long absence at his own houses but also made sure that those establishments belonged to them only.
He smiled back at his cousins and gifted them his own abodes.
His struggle started. In a new vein, as if in a new country – as a refugee in his own motherland.
The HUMAN – yes, he was a human more than a man – was pretty clear on his moves that he would slog like hell but none of his family members. Especially his little kids were not really supposed to suffer, as per his strict principle, irrespective of any circumstance.
In line with that, there was never ever any shortage of foods and books in their supply to the kids. Because at his family, foods for thought was always the priority as against the thought for foods. He knew it for a fact and quite rightly so that before his children would live in a “house” or drive a “car”, it was imperative for them to know and understand the real worth of “H, O, U, S, E” and “ C, A, R”.
Besides, there was never any slackness of fatherly care and concern on his part even for his students. In fact, a lackluster student with almost no merit happened to be his blue-eyed boy. And to make him pass and successful in an examination had always been his challenge. For that, in addition to knowledge such a student was by default privileged to have shelter, food, and the like, if need be, without any discrimination… between his own children and him (the student).
Moreover, his treatment to his children was more like their best friend than a father. He was much ahead of his age and never cowered to anticipate and accept any change toward contemporariness.
Plus, his direction and lesson to his children and pupils around was simple, “Society is for Humans but not the other way round. Thus, it’s better to live as a lonely Human than somehow surviving as a social animal in a herd.”
Given this, his children and his favourite students alike hardly disappointed him. They attained the status and the position he always hoped for them. However, he remained the same.
For instance, despite of the best efforts put forth, none could ever make him wear anything costly or glossy but his trademark white Panjabi and Dhoti made of cotton only.
But, like a bold from the blues, when he lost his wife after 45 years of togetherness, for the first time in life he showed a sign of nerves. His somewhat rock-solid composure began to feel an uncanny kind of restlessness and helplessness. Loneliness at home used to drive him outside more often than not, to some extent unnecessarily.
Indiscipline, unrest and stress and strain due to overwork got palpable in his attitude quite in contrast to his original calm-self. Pretty painfully, he was like indulging himself in self-destruction.
In the process what was expected to happen, happened actually.
He had to face two major attacks. First the cerebral one followed by the cardiac within an hour to be precise.
And, thanks to those health mayhems, finally on October 18th, THE TEACHER left his classroom and home forever.
“The teacher was my father.”