I love stories that expound the philosophy of Karma, stories that embody the spirit of “what goes around comes around”. Even better when it happens instantly or within our lifetime.
The landlord for our older Mumbai office was a wonderful human being and had an aura of goodness surrounding him. On one of my conversations to him he recounted a beautiful story about his life which impacted me deeply.
He lived in a flat in Mumbai and like many apartments the complex had a society of which he was the association president. In this society there was a young man who was a party addict. He would come back at 3 am often after clubbing, drunk, boisterous and wake many of the people in the apartments with the din. After much nuisance, the association met and decided that after a warning, they should ask him to leave. It was unanimous.
My landlord was worried for this young lad even though he didn’t know him and would stay up every night watching from his window till he would come home. Upon spotting the party animal arriving, he would tip toe down whisper to him to keep silence and escort him to his flat and ensure the night passed without incident. This happened for nights on end tirelessly till one day, the young man felt guilty that this old man would be waiting up for him.
After weeks, gradually he started coming home earlier and then finally sobered up just because of the guilt of having a stranger stay awake to ensure he would be okay. He came home and thanked the landlord for everything and said he had changed his life just with his perseverance and care. He said he was going abroad to pursue his higher education and had decided to get serious about his life and do something with it. They hugged and my landlord thought he would never hear of him again.
5 years later, the landlords son who was a computer engineer left for Canada for a dream job in a software company. Leaving the proud family, he set off to a new beginning. Reaching Canada, the company who hired him realised there was some error in the hire and felt he was of the wrong profile. They politely told him the job offer was revoked and he could go back and they would reimburse the ticket. The son was shattered and didnt know what to do. He felt ashamed to inform the family and let everyone back home know of the situation. He decided to go and spend as much time praying and sitting at the mosque. For days, this was his routine.
One day, an old man who would frequent the mosque approached him and sat beside him. He asked him what was wrong, because he could tell from his face that there was something not in order. He said he often wondered what a young man like him was spending all his days here looking distraught. The landlord’s son recounted his tale and his misfortune and the old man listened intently. At the end of the sharing, he mentioned that he knew a friend’s son who has a software company and he could try and arrange a meeting quickly or at least get some advice and direction for the boy.
A few days later, the landlord’s son walked into a large plush software company office. The receptionist led him into the CEOs room for a quick meeting. As he sat down, the CEO started the interview without missing a beat. As he asked him questions, he asked about his hometown. Since they were both from mumbai, for polite conversation he asked where he stayed, and then which colony and where and each time exclaimed “I am also from there”. Till they realised they lived in the same flat. When asked what the name of his father was and just as the young man answered, the CEO jumped up from his seat, swung around the table and hugged him tight. He told him that his father was the reason behind who he is today. The confused son looked stunned as he was hired immediately without batting an eyelid. The CEO was the party going youth from the colony who his father had stayed awake for.
The young man was hired instantly and over the years proved his mettle and worthiness. Today, he is the vice president of the company and an extremely successful individual. All this because long ago, his father stayed awake for a stranger to make sure he didn’t get into trouble! That for me was a simple live example of the personification of Karma.
I loved that story and it got me thinking that the biggest asset we can give our kids beyond wealth and riches is a legacy of goodwill by touching hundreds of lives.