Life lessons from a cab ride on Teachers’ Day

There’s so much goodness in our world. We must pause from running the rat race to notice it though!
Picture shot on mobile camera with available light
Kalam in the red circle
Karthikeyan, the Uber cabbie
Yesterday, when we were riding on Uber, we noticed something interesting on the car’s front inner display shelf. There was a picture of former Indian President Abdul Kalam, who died last month, along with miniature statuettes of Shirdi Baba and Ganesha on the shelf. Kalam smiled back at us, waving charismatically, from an acrylic stand – in fact his presence was more prominent than even that of the Gods’ (who normally adorn car/vehicle interiors in India)! We asked our cabbie, Karthikeyan, who was in his early thirties, “Why Kalam?” And Karthikeyan replied, proudly: “He is my teacher that I never met. He taught me the value of muyarchi (hard work/disciplined effort) and naermai(integrity/honesty) through his Life.”
In a dog-eat-dog world, where even the “safe and secure” Uber cab aggregation service has been mired in crime and controversy – with at least two instances of rape by its cabbies being reported from the National Capital Region in the last 12 months, Karthikeyan’s originality and genuineness made a difference. Besides, yesterday was Teacher’s Day. And what better way to be reminded of two values that can never fail us in Life – hard work and honesty – that too through the Life of Kalam, a great teacher himself and an apostle who lived by and practiced those values till his last breath. The other learning is also this – it is said that if your work can inspire even one soul in your lifetime, you would have led a Life of meaning. And Kalam touched so many, many lives. Will you ever find an Indian cabbie sporting any other Indian President’s picture in his or her vehicle?

Our inspiration: we must live our Life in such a way that people will think of us when they want to be reminded of goodness and beauty in the world. Kalam lived this way. Karthikeyan is living his Life this way. Will you too?

A lot can happen over an honest coffee!

Honest conversations are the best means to grow relationships.
Underline honest. Most of us are in one relationship or the other at any point in time. Parent-Child, Husband-Wife, Boss-Team member, between siblings, Teacher-Student, between companions, whatever. And we love most of the people in those relationships. We may not see it this way all the time, but all these relationships need nurturing. And almost always, we fail to say what’s on our mind, because we are worried about hurting the other person with our honesty, transparency and opinions. Yet, we yearn for that other person to understand how we perceive her or him. In all these situations, it is always important to have these honest conversations – perhaps over a coffee. As the Café Coffee Day tagline goes, “A lot can happen over coffee!”
It may also be true, in some cases, that an honest conversation may not necessarily lead the other person to see reason and change himself or herself or their attitude towards you. It doesn’t mean your integrity hasn’t helped. It has. It gives you the opportunity to move on, now that you have shared what you honestly felt and always wanted to.
True love really means saying what you must, when you must without mincing words. Out of this an opportunity emerges for the relationship to get stronger, for the person you are having the conversation with to evolve into a better human being and that really is an important part of serving humanity.

To serve another, you don’t need to necessarily get involved in an NGO; all you need to do is to just have honest conversations.