R K Laxman's Common man @ Worli seaface
GO SEE IT YOURSELF!
Growing up my uncle MJ was a big intellectual influence on me. I got into the habit of discussing interesting things with him but as he is aging he has lost interest in the matters of the world. He hates discussing anything with anyone because he is highly opinionated and does not want to end up in an argument.
However I miss that. So I found a solution to it. I made my first audio recording for him, call it a podcast between us.
We were talking on the phone and he said, 'We are common people, this discussion will not change things in the public domain.' I understand him so I diverted the topic but was uncomfortable. So I did something. I recorded a long message.
In that audio I tell him that I am not common as in a common person. Not entirely. Because in every phase in life I have deliberately tried to rise above the common. May be my benchmarks were and are in reference to my environment but still वासरात लंगडी गाय शहाणी (among calves even a handicapped cow is wise). I say it with positivity and not as it is used usually to taunt another.
I tell him about my amazing Cooper family and how three generations of people made choices to rise above the common. Maneckshaw's achievements. Arvi's Dad, Ardeshir (Adi) was like a Banyan tree. Hard to follow in his footsteps. Inspite of it Arvi did whatever was possible to change this society even as he struggled with health for 25yrs. In his own small way. Of the many things he did was he was a counsellor at the Samaritans. He always encouraged me to do my bit. He said real charity is to heal the wounds of the critically ill. He used to tell me go bandage a lepers wounds and come back a changed person. Today I value his Sanskar on me.
Then I narrated some of the activities I do to make life easy for my neighborhood, outside my neighborhood, in my circles. A squirrel's share as we would say in Marathi. It makes me happy and gives me purpose in life.
I don't know his, uncle MJ's response yet. But this morning sent him these two pictures with captions. Hope he blesses me.
Thanking him for keeping me grounded.
Yet to my next generation I shall always say find the uncommon within you and nurture it, give it wings. I want to see you fly.
If there has to be an epithet for me then it has to be
Uncommon in the Common
I am striving towards it.
The uncommon me with the Common man. But. Is he really Common? Not at all. R K Laxman has made him अविस्मरणीय, unforgettable!