Never forget your roots

Never forget your roots


A heartwarming spectacle that I just witnessed made me pen this piece. I always visit old homes and orphanages on festive occasions. On the occasion of Bhaiya Dooj, when I visited an orphanage, I saw a young woman play with the kids.

She gifted sweets and clothes to the children. Curious, I asked her whether she had visited the orphanage before? She told me, that like me, she too visited all orphanages on festive occasions and would distribute goodies among the kids. What she told me, brought tears to my eyes. She said that she too was an orphan and never saw her biological parents. The orphanage in Mumbai where she was brought up, changed her life.  She was an exceptionally brilliant student and went on to eventually become a gynaecologist! 

I was moved beyond words. This wasn't just plain and perfunctory gratitude. This was more than that. Gratitude with a rooted sense of belonging. Despite becoming a doctor of repute, she didn't forget her humble roots and deprived childhood. "To remember one's roots and go back to them occasionally, makes one a human," wrote the English essayist Charles Lamb.

Going back to our roots and remembering the humble background one comes from is an antidote to hubris. This keeps us firmly rooted and grounded. People often forget their roots once they become something in life. To forget the roots is to forget bonds. "Only those, whose feet are firmly grounded, can soar high in the firmament of greatness," aptly observed Harilal Kania, the first CJI. He came from a very humble background. In spite of achieving such a high position in life, his feet stayed grounded. All those, who've achieved greatness in life have been people with a sense of grounding and rooting.

The legendary thespian Soumitra Chatterjee, who recently passed away would call it,"Oteeter proti kritagyota" (The gratitude towards the past). He came from a humble background but he reached a level often dreamt about but seldom achieved. Remembering our roots makes us more human, nay humane. This is the summum bonum of human life and the essence of humanity.