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All's well that ends well VIII

Alls well that ends well VIII
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On the subject of keeping pets at home, my father had always said \"never give your heart to a dog to break.” Nevertheless I have never been without a dog from age nine. While I always enjoyed their company. I realised fully only then the real value of having a pet at home. 

On the subject of keeping pets at home, my father had always said "never give your heart to a dog to break.” Nevertheless I have never been without a dog from age nine. While I always enjoyed their company. I realised fully only then the real value of having a pet at home.

The unquestioning loyalty, love and affection which dogs can offer can never really be found from any other source in life. A dog never complains about boredom or neglect.

Contrary to what those without experience may think, dogs can laugh, play, scold, frown and warn. As George Eliot said, “Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions” they pass no criticisms.

Our little cocker spaniel Lassie would in fact run around the house and the bring the roof down if Gayathri as a small baby was crying and no one paid any heed.

The first dog which I had, also a Lassie surprised me by giving me a lovely kiss when asked to do so by one of the judges at a dog show in Hyderabad.

And then there was Scamper, the Golden Retriever, who was the last dog we had at home. Acrobat, showman and, at once, coward in spite of an awesome bark, he was great fun and enjoyed being with the whole family.

Talking of friends brings all to the subject of lets on keeping dog at home, my father had always said "never give your heart to a dog to break.” Nevertheless I have never been without a dog from age nine. While I always enjoyed their company. I realised fully only then the real value of having a pet at home.

The unquestioning loyalty, love and affection which dogs can offer can never really be found from any other source in life. A dog never complains about boredom or neglect. Contrary to what those without experience may think, dogs can laugh, play, scold, frown and warn.

Our little cocker spaniel Lassie would in fact run around the house and the bring the roof down if my granddaughter Gayathri as a small baby was crying and no one paid any heed.

Within a short span of time we lost both the last Lassie and Scamper. Lonely and longing for the company of dogs, Usha and I still contemplate the 64 million dollar question-whether to get another dog home or not. Comfortable with the perks Ashok had arranged for me.

I found that money was no longer a pressing concern. In the meanwhile K. Padmanabhaiah, who had retired in the rank of Cabinet Secretary to the government of India, asked me if I would be interested in addressing a group of youngsters who were preparing for the civil services examinations.

Under the aegis of Sri Chaitanya IAS Academy Sometime thereafter I was introduce to Dr. Lakshmaiah who ran another institution called the Dr. Lakshmaiah IAS Study Circle that arrangement gradually evolved into a long and has continuous relationship. I mentor several batches of students preparing for the ‘civils’.

I share with the boys and girls the thoughts of several people which had greatly influenced me in my formative days.

In the formative days of my service I was greatly influenced by the thoughts of several people. These included the book by Dale Carnegie called to "how to make friends and influence people.” The author advises people to live in “day – tight compartments.” Sir Garfield Sobers, one of the greatest cricketers of yesteryear, once famously remarked "I never make the same mistake twice,” in response to a question on the reason for his success.

Similarly, Rahul Dravid, successful captain of the Indian cricket team says, while describing how he managed to bat for long durations, that the trick lies in setting small goals, in taking the innings session by session, over by over and, eventually, ball by ball.

I also advise the youngsters to cultivate the art of being content with what one has. They need to count their blessings. After all, in a country such as India, to be alive at all after age two makes you a privileged person. To have gone to school, and then to college, then to have got a job and a job such as the civil service already never you are in hundred of the country population.

To hanker after things beyond that is nothing short of a sin. While talking to them I remembered what my fried Sadasiva Rao once told me, when I was through a period of depression. He said "think of the others who are not so privileged as you are. Stop wallowing in self-pity.”

There can, on the other hand, be such a thing as too much of contentment. The result is that you stop trying to improve your opportunities to rise further in your profession. As Robert Browning said, “a man’s reach should exceed his grasp.”

When I was in two minds about going to the government of India J.P. Murty who was my colleague in the excise department of the state told me get out of this south Indian middle-class syndrome and look beyond Andhra Pradesh.

Think of serving the country and looking at the broadest canvas possible in this world. I work in the government of India. In retrospect I believe that is precisely what happened after I took the decision to go away to Delhi.

I urge the youngsters to appreciate the danger of being overly ambitious. You may for instance want to serve in the finance ministry in the central government. You may then want to deal with the desk which handles matters relating to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

Thereafter you will want to go on deputation to the World Bank. Having gone there you will want to stay on long enough to earn a pension. In you will have to befriend your minister and those persons to whom the he owes his position. Thus begins a holy alliance between businessman politician and the civil servant.

The point is that one must realise, as Father told me at the threshold of my adult life, that the important thing is to “be happy.” An unhappy person is a drag on society.

The sheer joy of living, la joie de vivre, automatically encourages you to spread sweetness and light. There can be no greater source of happiness.

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