Home > Ideas > Do the right thing … religiously!

Do the right thing … religiously!

While we are moving ahead at a rapid pace it helps at times to look back. There are lessons to be learned.

Yesterday I accompanied my mother, for a visit to her childhood home to attend a prayer at the family temple. This is an annual pilgrimage for her and an opportunity for me to meet relatives. She believes that the entire family being there to witness the pooja (religious rites) is auspicious and brings good to the family – and I was not going to deny her the happiness, nor was I going to question the veracity of such beliefs.

For me her happiness was reason enough to tag along – there would be ample opportunities later on to discuss religion and the need for it.

The entire clan, members of its many branches, congregates to participate in the ceremony – unlike me most of them are religious and take part in the proceedings with piety and traditional fervor. For me, the highlights were the photo taking opportunities, the payasum and other sweet stuff that is served after the pooja and the interactions with cousins and senior members of the family – let’s forget for a while that aged 50 I too am close to being a senior member of the family!

There was a first cousin present whom I had not met for a decade; another cousin whom I had last met as a pretty 16 year old high-schooler now has two daughters, both married, and she has become a grandmother too!

Aunts and Uncles whom I had first seen as sprightly and busy middle-aged people had slowed down and carried a white crop of hair on the head. It reminded me of my own future.

In many interactions it was like starting afresh because I recognised the face but couldn’t give it a name – however nobody minded and cheerfully supplied the information. No one was treated like a stranger. The ladies in the family had prepared food for everyone present and they gladly took on the task of serving everyone; tea was available on demand and at the end of the pooja they distributed the prasadh (payasum and the rest of it) to all present.

It was a joyous occasion and a time to recapture a bit of the old glory and joys we had shared.

For my mother it was a return to her roots – the joy of seeing her school, enroute to the house, the house she was born in and the people she knows the most.

Such a gathering of relatives provides the message that you belong somewhere – that you are not an island.

It made me realise that I had neglected so much in the mad rush to build me own family and career I had forgotten my mother’s well-being. I could have taken her back more often but then the journey was always pushed to later date.

But coming back to the lessons learned that day:

I have already mentioned the opportunity to provide joy to someone and relish the sense of belonging one got from such meetings.

It is also an opportunity to see how things have changed and to be happy about what each of us have achieved – a time to celebrate and to congratulate each other.

It was also the time to pay a patient ear to someone who had experienced pain – they could unload a bit of their emotional burden.

I think such travel back in time need not be limited to the personal side – it can be done to your job and career too.

–          Draw up a list of your achievements – relive the moments of great joy.

–          Remind yourself of the losses and what you understood from it.

–          Remember how you started and relive the journey that brought you to the present.

–          Remember the people who made you what you are today – be grateful for their contribution.

–          Try to make time for the important things in life – don’t postpone, lest it becomes too late.

This journey back in time made me realize a lot; henceforth I will be participating in this annual program and other important family huddles with religious fervor!

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  1. Raaj Aravind
    March 12, 2012 at 7:55 pm

    Uchch vichar…. thank you Jayan.

    I must admit, I too have been in that boat for a while now… maybe it’s about time to rediscover my roots again… uncles, aunts, cousins et al.

    You have set off this worm in my mind… hmmmm

    Thanks again.

    • JayadevM
      March 12, 2012 at 8:00 pm

      Glad I could, Raaj!

      Go for it …I am sure you will enjoy that journey.

  2. Kailash
    March 19, 2012 at 8:38 am

    Good one J,

    There is a strong reasons why traditionally we believed in joined family. I really love meeting my relatives, especially my uncles & aunts and listen their childhood stories.

    But now as we have new tradition of only one or two kids will remove this joy from our lives. As you know in China kids/teens don’t know what is brother/sister relationship due to one child policy.

    • JayadevM
      March 19, 2012 at 8:52 am

      We usually don’t know what’s good for us till it’s gone.

      I am not saying that the old system was all – good and the new is all – bad. We need to retain some of the old and use what’s good in the new too.

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