"Are you studying well? Have you stood 1st in Class?"
My paternal grandfather, Bapa, asked me these questions.
This is one of my earliest memories of my role model.
Bapa asked me these questions every time we met.
I always felt guilty about having to give a negative answer to the second question.
That's because I stood 2nd or 3rd in Class most of the times.
While my father always advised us to 'Study for knowledge; not for marks', I knew one person- his father i.e. Bapa- would be very happy if I stood 1st in Class!
Years passed and I regularly occupied one of the first three positions in Class, but never the 1st position...
Bapa had promised me a watch if I stood 1st.
More than the watch, I wanted to stand 1st so that I could reply 'YES' to both of Bapa's questions when we met the next time...
My turn came when I finally stood 1st.
Bapa was overjoyed and promptly fulfilled his promise.
Apart from his happiness & blessings, I proudly earned my first wrist-watch!
My grandfather, Bapa, is my role-model for many reasons.
Strength, Fortitude, Facing Challenge, Courage
Bapa shares his name with the young and brave warrior-prince, Abhimanyu of the Mahabharata.
Just like the character Abhimanyu, Bapa has had to face the Chakravyuh. But, unlike his Mahabharata namesake, this Abhimanyu has had to face many Chakravyuhs in his life so far...
Each time he has emerged stronger and been a pillar of support for all.
Bapa has had to see many deaths in his family - that of his elders, son, son-in-law, two brothers, wife, daughter-in-law...
Bapa has accepted bouquets and brickbats with equal elan.
He is a leading businessman of Southern Odisha, who despite facing many challenges in business, has set up a strong empire and earned crores.
He has ably handled the family business for eight decades now, right from the tender age of ten.
Simplicity, Humility, Frugal, Contented
Bapa believes in 'Simple Living, High Thinking'.
Bapa is a great fan of Gandhiji & his principles. Bapa had even contributed for the Freedom Struggle.
Bapa has always had just two sets of lungis. One day, when I was very young, I even spotted him wearing a vest that had a hole. When I complained about this to my grandmother, she said that Bapa had asked her to get it mended and he would continue to wear it. Also, he is happy with his two sets of lungis. He is grateful as God has been so kind to him while many people have no clothes...
Bapa believes in savings. When he learnt that I had 'earned' money as my stories and contributions were published in magazines, he advised me to open a bank-account-
"Save Money- 'A rupee saved is a rupee earned'"
People who have met him are spell-bound by his down-to-earth, unassuming nature with no hint of pride.
Bapa says, 'Pride comes before a fall' & always advises us to be humble.
Bapa often warns us not to hanker too much after 'profits' or to be greedy as he feels-
'Labha ru Lobha; Lobha ru ati Lobha; ati Lobha ru Mrityu' -
'From profits, there's greed; From greed, there's excessive greed; From excessive greed, there's death.'
Dedication, Discipline, Time-Conscious, Good Habits
Bapa has led a highly disciplined life, with complete dedication for his work.
Bapa is a stickler for punctuality. He values his time a lot and never wastes it.
He is a man-of-few-words. He keeps his conversations brief and to-the-point.
Bapa maintains strict timings and religiously sticks to them- work, food, tea-time, TV-viewing etc. all have their own fixed times.
Bapa has maintained his good-habits for long now viz. eating a Banana after every meal. Recently, I read a research-study in the newspaper that states that eating a Banana after every meal is great for health & longevity.
Visionary, Prophetic, Holistic View
Bapa identifies a good deal when he sees one.
Amazing that his words and predictions are prophetic!
Bapa identifies the winners easily. He once bet successfully on the winning horse in a horse-race!
"Inspiration, Role-Model for this generation"
The above were the words of the TV-journalist, who interviewed Bapa.
On his 89th birthday, the local news channel came over and interviewed him so that he could share his message and inspire the youth.
(I wished to share that Interview Video over here, but I realize that it's no longer available...)
In that interview, Bapa had said-
- We have been gifted lives so that we can work.
- Work with full passion & determination as 'Work Is Worship'.
- Do not expect any rewards. You'll get your share.
- Do what you like to do & give it your best.
- Nothing is impossible.
- Don't brood about the past. Be positive.
- Be grateful, loyal & trust-worthy.
- Be productive. Keep your brain active.
Unfortunately this great man, who has worked so hard in his entire life, suffered a fall that has dealt his backbone a severe fracture... Though Bapa has to be compulsorily bed-ridden now, his brain is totally active as he tries his best to utilize his time as per his strict schedule.
When I went with my daughter to meet him, Bapa asked her, "Are you studying well? Have you stood 1st in Class?"
Dear Bapa, I am so proud to be your grand-daughter! I feel privileged to have your genes. I loved to share this post about you! May you get all what you like as you deserve the best!