Even as a 13 years old, I had a strong sense of loyalty. I always stuck to my people; be it my friends, family or the Barber. Well, hairstylist is a better word to describe him. He was a man in his late 40s. He had worked in the middle east and Bombay when it still was Bombay. And he was my savior !
When he opened his "Beauty Hair Dressers" close to my ancestral home, I was overjoyed. I was fed up of our family barber who knew only one style; that was to cut the hair right down to roots. Every male member of our family had the same style. It used to remind me the thatched arch on those bullock carts in our small town.
Sanjeevanna changed all that and he taught the people of our town to flaunt hair. I had rebelled against the uniform hair cut even before he came. But once he arrived, I stuck to him, till I moved to Bellary in 1988. He also had a huge attraction for youngsters because he talked Cricket and used to blare the commentary of every match.
Sanjeevanna was a nice human being too. He wasn't the typical gossip-monger. If he talked, it was only Cricket, Cinema and fashion talk. So he was almost a Philosopher for me. I knew little about Philosophy except that my Mom's cousin was a Philosopher who had done PhD !
On an exaggeratedly hot summer day in 1984, I went for my usual hair-styling. I was sweating profusely and cursed the heat while chatting up to Sanjeevanna. In a serene mood that day, he gave a mini lecture that I have translated in the following paragraph.
"See Govindu, you are just sitting here under the fan doing nothing. Imagine a Farmer tilling his fields in this hot Sun. Imagine a Coolie carrying large crates on the Mangalore dockyard. What about them ? Have you ever thought how hot they must be feeling ? You are quite fortunate to live a protected and comfortable life. There are so many people in this world who toil irrespective of climates. They have to toil to survive. So this heat is just relative. Even a great Cricketer like Sunil Gavaskar has to play in the sweltering heat to make a name and fame. Nothing comes easy and anything that comes easy is nothing".
Boy, was I wiser ? This was my first taste of Philosophy. Philosophy with personal touch of a genial hair-stylist. What I learned that day was precious. You don't need to take a PhD to be a Philosopher and Philosophy is not what is taught inside four walls, but what is learned beyond the walls !
That day I realized every day and every moment of life is a learning experience. It never ends till life itself comes to an end. It is this realization that has made me an avid reader, watcher, listener and a hobby blogger. But down the lane, I started hating anything that was 'heavy duty Philosophy'. What I mean is discourses, books on meditation, Gods and sundries and religions. The older I have grown, bolder has become my dislike for religions, Gods and shams.
I once declared to one of my closest friends, " I hate all Philosophy except my own !". This was a passing period when I was impetuous and lot more immature than I am today. Even though I don't claim to hate all Philosophies today, I still am not fond of dogmatic books, discourses and religions.
Reading and listening has helped me to remember, assimilate and analyze knowledge. I developed a special love for quotable quotes. It also gave me some ability to remember and often trace inspirations. A friend of mine quoted an interesting line credited to Indira Gandhi, "Forgiveness is the virtue of the Brave".
I had to tell my friend that Indira had quoted Krishna from Geeta. Indira never was the one to forgive. Her estranged daughter in law Maneka will vouch for that. And all those political opponents jailed and harmed during emergency will endorse that. Indira didn't have the moral authority to quote this beautiful line.
Leaving aside Indira, let us talk about India, the idea that drives me and millions like me. We are known as a land of Wisdom, land of Peace and land of Philosophy. Unfortunately we have remained cocooned in these titles without bothering to move out and grow up for too long. That is why we are lagging behind in every human indices that matter. But fortunately we are learning and are catching up with the rest of the world, albeit a little late. But as a quotable quote goes, 'Better Late than Never' !
As a policy, I believe nothing in life is so serious to be taken seriously. So I have to move on from a serious subject like Philosophy. So here is something for a chuckle or a mini smile !
My colleague Dr. Bilkees had two ladies to help her at home and a driver.
The cook was Philomena, fondly called Philo.
The domestic help was called Sophy.
And her driver brought 'Joy' into the picture !
I found this Philosophy of Joy really amusing !