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Thursday, December 11, 2014

What goes around comes around

Whatever you do, you will reap the benefits or consequences of your actions in this lifetime itself.

This morning I got news that my father’s younger brother’s wife had passed away. I have an un-ignorable, unforgettable connection with this family. Years ago, my uncle, it was alleged, had forged my father’s signature to seek a loan, by pledging the family property, from a bank to grow his business. His business moves didn’t yield expected results and he could not redeem the property from the bank. When my parents got to know of this, they sought to take swift and determined action to stake their claim for their share of this pledged property. I was just 20 then, and was a cub reporter with The Indian Express. My mother insisted that we file a police complaint for cheating against my uncle. As a journalist, I had built strong contacts within the police force. So, I ensured that my father’s complaint against his brother was taken up directly by the then Commissioner of Police, Chennai. My uncle was immediately arrested for forgery and cheating. Obviously, when my aunt came to know of this development, she was distraught. She pleaded with me and my parents not to take such precipitate action and offered to resolve this issue soon. But my mother would not agree to this even though my father and I were willing to withdraw the complaint. My aunt locked herself up in her home and threatened to commit suicide. I remember that night vividly – it was pouring in Chennai; my father and I pleaded with my aunt to show restraint and went to the Police Commissioner’s home on my scooter, and sought his permission to allow us to withdraw the complaint. The Commissioner was very upset with our inconsistent stand on the complaint but finally relented. And just as my uncle was being taken to jail in police custody, we managed to secure his release. The property issue was resolved by my uncle in due course. But this episode, naturally, split my uncle’s family from mine – forever. It is possible that my aunt and uncle never forgave me for my role in this sordid family drama – for, without my influence with the police, my uncle may never have been arrested – even if it was, effectively, only on paper.

Years later, in the context of my Firm’s bankruptcy and my personal insolvency, when I had to be in a police station owing to a complaint filed by a friend over my inability to return the money I had borrowed from him, this incident of my uncle and aunt came to haunt me. I have recounted the episode of me being picked up by the cops, late in the night, in my Book – “Fall Like A Rose Petal – A father’s lessons on how to be happy and content while living without money” (Westland, August 2014). But I haven’t shared my perspective on “What goes around comes around” in this context until today. When I got the news that my aunt had passed away, I sent her a silent prayer. And sought her forgiveness one more time. Sitting in the police station and thinking of the consequences of my friend’s complaint against me that night in 2009, and again on subsequent occasions when I was summoned to the police station, I have always thought of this truth – that you reap what you sow. All your actions have to be accounted for in this lifetime itself. Some say that karma works. Others believe in the concept of heaven and hell. I have understood from my experiences that you have to face the outcome or consequences of your actions – right here, in this lifetime. Period. The good that you do comes back to you. And the harm that you cause – wittingly or unwittingly – to anyone, to even nature, comes back to teach you lessons that you have to learn.

My own learning is simple. Let us not judge people. If we can, let’s please avoid hurting anyone. Even if someone harms you, cheats you, just let go. Whether you accept it or not, whether you believe in it or not, there is cosmic retribution – and it works! But if you must act on a situation, follow the due process of law – let it take over. I don’t say all this from the point of view of avoiding fearful consequences. Consequences are consequences – and every action will have one! Fear is an emotion that we bring to a situation. I am saying this from the point of view being able to deal with Life a lot more simply. People, and that includes you and me, always do what they believe is right. We all make choices all the time. Some of them work in our favor. Others don’t. Nobody is good or bad. Everyone is a product of the time they are going through. If you have to do something, by all means do it, but remember, what goes around will come around!

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