I met Ashok 8 months ago. He is Branch Manager of Bank where I have my account. I used to visit the Bank at least once a month to get my passbook updated. But after meeting him a few times I increased my visits to whenever I was in close proximity to the Bank. It was his cheerfulness, ever smiling face and good manners coupled with helpful behavior which made me do this. I felt it as my duty to encourage him in that by showing a customer’s gratitude. My additional visits were mostly just to say hello to him. He is tall, handsome man in early 30s, a little older than our son but younger to our daughter. He is well liked by all working under him whom he always referred to as colleagues.
Over a few months we developed a bond as if we were related. On my saying he started calling me Uncle instead of Sir which he usually called all male clients irrespective of their age or status. I am going to share his life story to show you all how a positive attitude makes one be happy and spread happiness all around.
His father was a Government employee while his mother was a school teacher. They both were God fearing but not fanatics. They did not believe in noisy rituals but silent prayers. They brought him as well as Rashmi, his 2 years younger sister with lot of values inculcated by example and not only word of mouth. They both were given a lot of freedom with just a single sentence advice “ Do not do anything which makes you regret later with shame”. They went to good schools and colleges. They were told to choose their own streams in education with options of each shown. Both of them did well in studies. Here he told me that his grandparents, who stayed with them, had a big hand in this. His grandfather, a retired educationist, used to involve himself by studying their lessons and then discuss with them in innovative ways while his grandmother roused passion for reading by telling them stories and exhorting them to read those themselves once they could do so. Both grandparents passed away peacefully at ripe old age and as per their wishes their eyes were donated. It was a happy model family.
He was 23 and had just joined the bank as PO when his father passed away. His father had gone to the market in the evening to fetch something where he intervened to stop a ruffian from some other locality eve teasing and trying to physically assault a girl. That person had a friend with him and both of them started hitting him. When he fought back one of them attacked him with knife. He hugged the attacker tightly even though he was stabbed a number to times. The other person also took out a knife and started slashing him to get his companion free. By now people formed a ring around them and someone called police. Both the ruffians tried their best to flee but he did not loosen his hug around the one who had first attacked him with knife. Police thus arrested both of them red handed. He lost a lot of blood and passed away couple of days later but not before giving his statement to the magistrate who came to hospital for recording it. This caused his mother to go into depression and she could not recover. She too passed away in a few months leaving him to take care of himself as well as his sister who had just completed college. His father had no surviving siblings and cousins were all at far off places. Though his mother’s brother and sister were there but they were too busy in their own affairs.
He shouldered these responsibilities well and got his sister married off into a good family a year later. All the money he had received from benefits due to parents was used up in that. He is so thankful to God that she is happily settled with 2 children, a son and a daughter. They live with his parents who are massive support to them.
One of his distant relatives living at a town about 5 hours drive from this place highly recommended and cajoled him to get married to a girl related to his wife from same town. He and his sister went to see her there. The girl was good looking and well educated. The family seemed nice. His relative with his wife kept hovering around them all the time without giving them a single moment alone with the girl. He consented and got married a year ago.
His wife joined him but did not seem happy. Within a few days after marriage she told him that she has been forced to marry him as she was in love with someone whom her parents did not approve. She told that she had had that affair for more than 4 years and was physically intimate with him too. As soon as she conveyed to her parents that she would like to marry him, they forbade her going out alone and started looking for suitable match. This is when his relative with full know of things came into picture to look for a suitable match for her.
He told her that past is past and let us start new life with mutual trust and respect. She stayed with him for a couple of month and then one fine day he found a note from her on return from office that she can not take it any more, so she is leaving to be with her ex. On my asking he told me that he has not filed for divorce as he believes marriage is for keeps. However he had sent a copy of her letter to her parents. He is confident that she will realize her mistake and be back. He also told that his relative has informed him that few days after leaving him she came to her parent’s house in the afternoon badly bruised and without any belongings. Her ex had ill treated her and was not keen to marry her. She spends most of her time in seclusion. Her parents seem to feel very guilty to reach out to him. He is just waiting for some more time for her to come back otherwise he will make his move to contact her.
After telling me all this he looked at me and said that he knew what I was thinking. It is that how does he still look so happy and cheerful. He told me that when he looks around he finds so many persons with problems much more bigger than his - health issues, physically or mentally challenged persons, children problem like drug addicts or not interested in studies, money problem, unemployment, family disputes etc etc. He feels thankful to God for not testing him with more complex problems. He said that what is the gain in fretting over what has happened and if he shows his pain to others all that he will receive is their sympathy. He has to be strong to resolve this and that is possible only if he keeps his attitude positive. He then surprised and made me teary eyed by saying that he would like me to accompany him when time comes for him to approach his wife to come back.
I will be more than willing to do this for him. I am sure that you would also like to do it.
There are so many lessons to derive from his life but I am concentrating on his POSITIVE attitude mainly.