Walking the meandering course of life, we meet an infinite number of people. Some are quite easily forgotten while some leave an indelible mark on our psyche.
One such person who keeps visiting my sub consciousness, especially when I get bored with the monotony of life, that I want to talk about. He was kind of Mr. Jeeves to our household and we just could not do without his help, though not at all stylish as the inimitable Mr. J.
Therefore, Shri Ram khilavan was always bhayyaji – back then most helpers were similarly addressed. Nowadays in most homes, I hear and see children calling helpers by name and still worse calling them by their profession – driver gadi nikalo, sweeper jhadu lagao.
A more practical and respectful manner to call them would be - driver sahab, guard bhayya or didi.
But then education to most of us is restricted to books and achievements. Also as we know, samskars cannot be taught in a school, they have to be ingrained in the psyche right from the childhood – at home.
Here I must add -for all that, Madam Mayawati is doing to bring up her lot – the dalits and the downtrodden, it will probably take a few centuries to undo all that actually took to keep them from being equals.
For we Indians are one of the most caste/class conscious people in the world. Every now and then sipping a cup of tea in some of the best drawing rooms, I hear the arm chair socialist friend/acquaintance mouthing big words dripping with empathy for the weak and the downtrodden and how it bleeds her heart not to be capable enough to do something about it!
Those are the times when I feel like suggesting – that they could start by showing some respect to the people around them! As for me, it will be some time, may be not in this lifetime when I can share the dinner table with Hari Ram Bhayya, the person who cleans the toilets!
I have this indestructible habit of digressing from the subject which probably is the prime reason I am an absolute social evening failure!
A good orator should know when to stop and when to toss out that abominable object out of the mouth - my high-heeled shoes I wear on such evenings!
So Shri Ram Khilavan was addressed as bhayaji and not bhayya – why? Because ‘bhayya’ sans the suffix –ji, somehow always gives the impression of addressing a younger person. It is interesting how the innocuous sounding a suffix as ji can make one sound and feel like an older person! And how wonderfully languages play with our psychology!
Why I brought out bhayyaji today is because, there was an item in the news that all the taxi drivers in
For some inexplicable reason memories of reading a French Short story - “ THE LAST LESSON ” by Alphonse Daudet struck me hard, along with the missile by the Thackerays of the Shiv Sena – with stronger gale force, you could say.
To my utter surprise (accompanied with a feeling of guilt), I realized I have forgotten one-third of Hindi Varnmala.
Strange as it may sound I have even forgotten the order of the alphabets ! Whether it is the ‘Pa’ series comes first or is it the ‘Ta’ series?
Being a new language comparatively, Hindi has this advantage of having been composed following a profound research and an element of science which employed a pragmatic physical and mental co-ordination.
The alphabet follows a progression of sounds emanating from the lowest part of the throat and proceeding to the final part – which are the lips. For example to say the first consonant Ka, we employ lowest part of the tongue and the respective lowest part of the palate similarly for the next three, Kha, Ga and Gha, the middle and the upper parts, touching the respective parts of tongue and palate. There! I digress again!
Coming back to my story, as a KG student, I thought of myself no end. I was the educated one amongst my friends, who formed quite a mix of occupations and status. There was Rani – my constant companion whose only occupation was to play with my toys while I was away at school. She was the daughter of the house help who lived in the servant quarters and as expected, never went to school. Then there was Dabboo, Ramesh bhayya’s son who accompanied his father everyday to our house to wash the clothes.
Being the most educated one, who went to a convent wearing a proper uniform and who studied in the Kindergarten, I took immense pride in showing off my knowledge of the English language. Which I must mention was restricted to – Thank You, Sorry, Pardon me and Shut up.
Observing my uppity behaviour, one day Bhayyaji asked me if I knew the Hindi alphabet as well.
The chatterbox little girl was taken aback, however a sensitive man that he was (which I realised much later) - he said, “Baby, Hindi is your mother tongue, you should know it well. Somewhat shocked but not to be defeated or put down for long – positive thinking little chit of a girl that I was, I asked him if HE knew it? He gave one amused look and answered in affirmative and said that now onwards he would teach me the varnmala.
What he taught me was varnmala, what he imparted - was a lesson for a lifetime which I still try to follow many years after we left that city and Bhayyaji.
The first four alphabets remained with me from the very first day, not requiring any extra effort to memorise, for he had taught me in a manner that was the simplest to retain and most importantly they also held a deep philosophical view of life!
Ka – Kaam = Work,
Kha – Khana = Food,
Ga - Gana = Song
Gha – Ghar = Home
Life is all about Work, Health, Entertainment and Home.
Thank You so much -your visit to my blogs lends them a certain respectability :)
I remember in the army then and even now, kids always address the batman (sevadar) as bhayya. Those are the traditions in true Indian spirit and there is no reason why we should not practice them now.
Wisdom through religious scriptures has been handed down to us from generation to generation and it did not require the person to be educated either. It is just that everything is so plastic and pay-cheque oriented that we have completely sanitised ourselves to make even small gestures of compassion.
Thank you so much ,
Bhaiyyaji not a man of style yet a perfect qualified Jeeves.
A helping hand always at hand !
Yet he did what Jeeves would have done.
In his inimitable way conveyed you the philosophy of life.
Wisdom is not education, to Bhaiyyaji wisdom by years.
Another interesting one of your parables ; so much wisdom in so little.
We are indeed still feudal, perhaps the well heeled less feudal.
The delusion that money can buy class leads to loathing the poor.
Pleasure reading your blog.
Voila- votre l' histoire est tres bon.
it is always such a pleasure to have a word of encouragement from you :)
true - life is a continuous learning process - whether we learn to deal with difficult situations or we brush up our ethics - time is short and so much to learn and do !
this simple man knew about the facts of life that most educated people sometime refuse to learn or simply ignore their significance.
Thank you so much
A gem from u, very touching and informative. The explanation at the end, wow, even though he was uneducated, he showed u what education was, the meaning is so profound Goldie, and so true, these are the 4 most important things of life.
Regarding the respect to be shown to sweepers etc, yes agreed, and here even i am at fault, but will now learnt to be more courtoes, we keep learning dont we ?
Just loved it, and keep writing, i love whatever u dish out.HAHA
sunkan di ... I can imagine !!!
you must have been good at spinning tales :)
as they say in Hindi
honhaar birwan ke hote cheekne paat
the tree that has silky smooth leaves is bound to flourish and bear fruit :)
right ! one need not smother people with gifts yet make difference by treating them with respect and compassion.
I learnt mine the nursery classes and stopped studying Hindi after 10th - had to refresh decades after later !
This is just what's happening the next generation hardly remember - your concern is genuine.
oh i used to cook up stuff kanak, and he used to patiently hear me out as if he was surprised now when i think back i dont remember what it was but sure it was some reel than real stuff...lol sunkan
Small things matter, small gestures matter and they show who you are.
In class 12, I relearned Hindi vernmala and never forgot it. Lately I have developed interest in long forgotten Indian history and now I am worried about it. What will happen to it if all children only read and write English? There is so much that must not die.