My grandfather is an extremely learned man . As an orphan at very young age, he survived utter poverty and hardships . He had grown up all by himself , without a mom to cuddle him and teach him alphabets and a dad to pamper and fulfill his childishly desires. At a very early age , he had started working at a sweet shop to earn his daily wages . Even in those extreme conditions and struggle he didn’t stop learning .He has always taught me and my siblings that in our whole long life , we should never let our quest for knowledge die. He taught us that knowledge is power and money is secondary . We sometimes out of curiosity ask him that how does he know so much of literature , worldly affairs, science and history without taking a proper education ? And this is what he answers
“Beta I have not made lot of money and I am sorry that you have to adjust in this small house and compromise at times on things we can’t afford . But I cherish the relationships that I have built. I have friends who are scientists, doctors and the best technologists . And you might wonder how did I make them friends . Well , to be frank I didn’t belong to their class. I was just a small business man. All I could do was offer them services, discounts and a hot cup of tea each time they visited. Instead of charging them standard rates and filling my pockets , I looked that as an opportunity to make friends .
In those days when we had no internet and good money to buy books , I would borrow their old books and start reading . I had no particular domain to expertise on and so I would read anything that came in my hands . That’s how I learnt to read and that is how I expanded my knowledge . I would also buy old newspapers and books from the Kabadiwla and read anything I found interesting instead of using it at our shop to wrap goods. It is later on when I had some spare money, I started buying books myself and fulfilled my passion about literature .”
My grandfather has a huge collection of Hindi literature books and and he even insists us to read them . He made sure to educate my aunt and make her do Masters in English Literature even though he had to borrow money for that. He did not insist my dad and uncles as much as he insisted my aunts to study . He was and still is a strong supporter of Women Education . I remember how my grandfather used to get up early morning to make sure that we had Almond milk before going to school. We used to hate it when he made us study and practice cursive handwriting for 4-5 hours daily even in our three months winter vacations whereas all other students played and had fun the whole day. He had so much passion and dreams in his eyes . He wanted us to become what he couldn’t.
Today when we visit home for festivals , I see his eyes beaming with pride when we meet him. We proudly hear him bragging stories to others about his grandchildren being CA and engineers. It is now that we realize how much educating us meant to him . Not only did he make us study , but it is because of him that we learnt to skate , chant Sanskrit mantras , play casio and harmonium , Sing and so much more !!!
Though I and my sister have already earned our degrees , my grandfather motivates us to continue studying . He wants us to study and learn Law in our free time ! And I am sure that when we finish reading Law , he will have something else already ready for us. Learning never stops is what he believes and what he wants each one of us to believe . The universe is an endless source of knowledge and we shall never fall short of topics to research , read and learn about .
But the question is , Are we learning ?