How a life lived small, can be so meaningful

Recently, I lost an older cousin, who was regarded as someone who led a small life, someone who had not ‘made it’. Having been close to him, I saw him as a frequently misunderstood man who could never truly articulate himself. I realized that so many lives are probably lived thus, ignored and forgotten. We miss the lessons too, amongst other perspectives.

Sharing an obit, I wrote for him to bring out his true spirit in life:

In the eyes of elders, he was called ‘Taun’, ‘Taunlo’.
Thin, small, a school dropout with no remarkable features ­–
easy to ignore and forget.
A nagging ’sore’ of an unemployed family son,
Bragged of make it big, migrated to the mega city –
from his rural ancestral manor.

The eldest brother to me amongst extended family,
his earliest memories are that of a street Romeo –
boisterous and bungling, carefree and clumsy…
But generous and doting, and easy with goodies,
despite the little money in his purse.

Married off to get him ‘settled’, struggle he did,
Showroom to store, selling some millionaire’s wares.
But his streak of independence would assert over,
and he would dare their commands and spur dissent.

Settled he did, only as a self-reliant, small shop supplier –
walking streets upon streets to make ends meet,
modestly, for his family of four.

To so very few, he was daring and hearty,
Choosing risk and independence,
Over paths of subjugate conformity.

Winds of great change swept one day
as a cousin championed him to visit a saint, by the banks of the Ganges,
one early morning.

Piety overflowed, a sense of surrender surfaced,
He took his chewing tobacco and flung it away,
And placed in his chewing mind
a mantra unto his last day.
His mind foiled the negative,
making way for gratitude and grace.

He fostered his young son into a fine man –
who is resourceful and successful.
His ancestral property share came through,
as his tiny nest of wealth.
He had his children married and well settled into their families.

Content and satisfied with the turn of events,
he showed no craving to relish these fruits,
that bloomed fairly late.
His mind at a meditative rest –
‘my deeds are done’, the karma yogi said.

‘Chalo bhai, taking your leave’
– his soul shone through and said.

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