The Unsolicited Fortunes
The word in Pali language for gratitude is kataññutā. The word consists of two parts: kata, which means that which has been done, especially to oneself; and annuta means knowing or recognizing. I am likely missing yet another fifty but doing this exercise revealed the many things that are easy to take for granted.
- Being born healthy
- A dependable mental and physical faculties
- Never having to sleep empty stomach
- Having never been in any serious accident
- Not having to suffer any critical illness
- Having access and means to a good education
- Having lived in geographies without life-threatening conflicts
- Growing up in a joint family
- Having a sister to grow up with
- Parents who gave a memorable childhood in spite of being dealt with tough cards
- Having the company of my mother until early adulthood
- Having serendipitously met a girl at work who 6 years later said, “Yes!”
- Witnessing the birth of my son
- Getting the opportunity to raise a daughter
- Agendaless summer vacations spent playing on the streets as a kid
- Small town life where I could commute to most places on a cycle
- Having family roots in Konkan and getting to intimately experience the joys of a simple lifestyle¹
- Being able to relocate back home to India after a decade with hardly any hiccups
- Hugging 2000-year-old trees (Redwood National and State Parks)
- Experiencing the tranquility under the Pacific in a snuba dive
- The National Park Service in the U.S. and everything they do
- Witnessing a launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery at the John F. Kennedy Space Center
- Having seen a comet (Hyakutake, 1996) with a naked eye
- Having experienced a meteor shower
- Three summers in Chicago
- Meeting mentors throughout my career vested in my growth
- Having a job in hand through 2 recessions
- Attending Indiana University after a suggestion from a remote acquaintance
- Being in a school that could afford to set up a computer lab in the early 90s
- Colleagues at work who are friends for life
- Friendships forged in school and college, because beyond a few exceptions at work, the skill to make new friends is beyond me
- Mangoes. Actually, scratch that. Alphanso Mangoes.
- The Monsoon — for being so much more than just a rainy season
- Owning a bicycle as a kid — the first taste of freedom!
- Vada Kombda, tamda rassa, pandhara rassa²
- Rao Saheb, Antu Barva, Hari Tatya, Namu Parit and many more³
- The Bangalore weather
- The Phantom Comic Series⁴
- Not having the Internet growing up
- Having spent half of my adult life in a culture different from what I grew up in⁵
- Witnessing Sachin’s game and career growing up in the 90s⁶
- Getting to study poetry in 3 languages in school
- 10343 Hwy 175, Kelseyville, CA 95451, United States⁷
- Indian freedom fighters who gave up their lives so we could have ours
- Countless Americans who are friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and strangers who made the decade spent in the U.S. feel like living at home⁸
- The many unknown authors of the Upanishads for distilling the essence of our existence
- Life experiences that evolved my beliefs from a naive theist to a resolute atheist to finally grounding in spiritual beliefs rooted in non-duality
- Bill George and his book, “True North”, for helping me embrace my roots
- My resolute better half who after years of me kicking the can down the road eventually got me into meditation
- Student golf lessons at Indiana University that transformed my lifelong distaste into an enduring love for the sport
¹ A search for the history of the region introduced me to the book, “Shivaji and His Times” by Jadunath Sarkar published in 1919. Referring the western edge of the Deccan plateau as the “sterile rocky country”, the author’s following description of the 17th century Konkan in Maharashtra still resonates even today.
² A hometown delicacy consisting of a traditional spiced chicken, vade (mixed flour bread), red (like really red), and white chicken curry.
³ These and many other fictional characters and their stories by P. L. Deshpande, a Marathi writer, and humorist from Maharashtra, India, never fail to deliver a laughter riot
⁴ There was a coziest and tiniest private library imaginable half a block from where I grew up that rented these comic books in bulk. Very few things exceed the then excitement of seeing a new unread collection.
⁵ Witnessing firsthand the pride in American citizens for their history and culture bought me closer to my own heritage, as ironical as it may seem, after I left India. The other most significant learning from life in the U.S. was the ability to laugh at oneself without feeling vulnerable for being the butt of a joke.
⁶ Those who have grown up watching the likes of Dhoni, Sharma, and Kohli play cricket and take the dominance by Indian batsman for granted have no clue how Sachin’s confidence rubbed off on the rest of the nation hungry for role models in public life in the 90s.
⁷ A cozy center nestled on the slopes of Cobb Mountains in Lake County, CA, where I took first lessons in Vipassana meditation. The volunteers from previous sessions devote time and energy to serve the beginners and the entire setup is based on a “pay what you want” approach.
⁸ On a hot summer afternoon in 2006, my roommates and I had just finished shopping for grocery having landed a few days earlier in the U.S. for our studies. We were stranded outside the store with our hands full of bags wondering if we should hike back to our apartments. Just then, a car pulled over and a kind lady offered us a ride home. It was the first of the many warm experiences living in the Midwest.
Originally published at http://rohitmalekar.in on November 26, 2020.