What kind of people could be a writer’s ardent admirers and close buddies? fellow writers, poets, publishers, even politicians, right? Well, this rule doesn’t hold good when it comes to JK. A doctor who hasn’t read even a word of his writings, an illiterate auto-driver, drug peddlers, Gana singers, and several other people from the lowest economic strata of the society have special places in their hearts for him, and have enjoyed his kinship for years.
Though this is not a sudden revelation, I truly realized its significance when he was recently hospitalized in critical condition. Mr. Pazhani who relentlessly rode 80 Kms to and fro on his bike, just so he could be at dad’s side, Dr. Poonkunran who kept checking on his wellness thrice a day, though he was supposed to be holidaying in the US, Auto Selvaraj, who came with Amman temple’s holy blessings and tearfully applied tikka on his forehead; the list goes on. JK’s love for humanity is not only evident from his writings but also from his friends ranging from all ranks of the society.
Can you truly love something, bound by its authority? It’s a known fact that artists who hold a great love and compassion for the society are also guilty of breaking most of its norms.
For years, I had believed that the charismatic author JK and my dad with his varied idiosyncrasies are two very different persons. Perhaps, had I been one of his close buddies I might have been illuminated better.
“Your children are not your children. They came through you but not from you; and though they are with you, they do not belong to you.” – These words of Kahlil Gibran remind me largely of dad. This was his way with us. He has never hampered our wills and wishes; has let us make our own choices in life, guiding us with only gentle and wise words. It’s not so easy for parents to shower such unconditional love on their kids without expectations.
As kids, we have enjoyed his utmost pampering and attention. He used to tell us stories, sing funny songs; even tie our shoelaces and fill water bottles when we were running late for shcool. Also, he has been very scrupulous in sending someone for us without delay whenever the school-rickshaw could not pick us up. That he himself came to take me home on a rainy day is one of my ‘evergreenest’ memories!
I believe that the best gift you could give your children is to live an exemplary life, not compromising your integrity and dignity. And this, I learnt from dad.