The gentle smiling magician

The elders in our community are magicians. When we lose one, the community feels the loss, massively.

We recently lost one of our beloved community elders, Keshubhai, and I have deep remorse that I didn’t spend enough time with him.

Consistently, in every single interaction I’ve had with him in the past decade that I recall knowing him, he would gently look towards me, hold my gaze and smile with such heart and joviality that all my stresses would melt away in that moment. He might share a few brief words, but with each word uttered, his eyes would glisten with mischief.

And it’s not just Keshubhai. So many of our elders have worked incredibly hard, over the decades, to cultivate inner stillness so that their light may shine bright. It’s a light that embraces, that disarms, that illuminates and can fill you, all parts of you, with love.

As each of our elders continue to leave, one by one, I realise just how much of the magic we are letting slip through our fingers. As I get older, year by year, day by day, moment to moment, I endeavour to absorb this magic embodied by our elders. I seek, with all my heart, to be worthy of becoming such a gentle, loving, joyful elder in the community when I reach later life.

Keshubhai’s departure has hit me harder than I would have cared to admit. While he might no longer be around for me to interact with, this gentle smiling magician lives on in my heart.

Grandmother’s values live on

Written by Suraj Shah, inspired by the enlightened.

A grandmother is a source of great love, patience and kindness, subtly balancing lightness and strength.

Through her day-to-day presence, she keeps the family together, diffusing minor mundane conflicts and building bonds of support. We often taken it for granted that she will be around forever, but when she leaves, she is certainly missed.

Grandmothers are a source of wisdom and inspiration. Recently I met two young people whose grandmothers have been an inspiration to their new businesses (one sources timeless Indian jewellery and the other prepares luxury Indian chocolates).  At the heart of their businesses is a constant reminder of their heritage, and I expect wrapped within that are a toolbox of values for conducting themselves in amongst the demands of a fast-paced world.

Since a young age, certain values have been passed down by my grandma, which my siblings and I work hard to live up to and improve on, day upon day. These values include:

  • hard work
  • good judgement
  • courage
  • integrity
  • sacrifice
  • support
  • understanding

These are certainly the same values that I see shining through my brother, my parents, my cousins, uncles and aunts. These are perhaps the same values that my business-running friends also hold close to their hearts, the very same values that permeate through our Indian heritage, and the global village.

So I am thankful for the treasury gifted to us by our elders, and yet am constantly reminded that the time is now to continue the work done so well by those before us.

It’s been three years since you passed on, my dear Nanima.  I salute you for the values you diligently worked to blend into our everyday existence.

On this day in remembrance of our grandma, Smitamasi (my aunt) captured the essence of Nanima’s life in this one line: “your smile was made of sunshine”.  That just about sums it up for me.