As we traveled through the outskirts of the city, passing through small villages, talk veered around to how different rural life was from city living. Mama was reminiscing about how he had come to Bengaluru (perhaps around 50 years ago) from a small village in Tamil Nadu, started working at BSNL and grown through the ranks, and how life had changed over the years.
In passing, he mused, “After all this time, I sometimes wonder what I have achieved in my life.”
“Why Mama, you have created quite a bit of property, isn’t it?” I joked. Because, after all, isn’t having real estate to your name considered a sign of success in life?
To my pleasant surprise, almost as if he hadn’t heard me, Mama continued to muse. “I’ve helped about 50 girls get educated, and rescued some 30-odd girls from situations of abuse; I’ve prevented a few of them from being forced into child marriage and helped some to get jobs and become financially independent. That’s it, I guess, and it gives me a satisfaction that I have done some small thing to uplift some other people’s lives.”
|The naamam shines brightly on Mama's forehead!|
I realized then that there is so much that we may not know about a person except for superficial details. During the course of those 8-odd hours, I realized how much time and energy Narayanan Mama was devoting in honorary service to the organization SOCARE IND (Society’s Care for Indigent) that works to help the families (especially children) of lifetime convicts in jails.
Mama told us he is busier now after retirement than he was during his working days. To me, that summed up how successful a person he is!