Monday, June 3, 2013

Life Lessons from a Grandmother

This is an interview I’d done with Dr. Nalini Nargundkar, all of 83 years now, on the lessons she learned from her life. I had done the interview almost six months ago, in the hope that perhaps her grandchildren could use it, and I told her to address it as she would address her granddaughter Anjali, but it may be relevant to others as well. (I certainly found some high impact takeaways that have settled down in my head.)
Dr. Nalini Nargundkar (Pic. Satish Nargundkar)
Dr.Nalini Nargundkar served as a doctor at the Singareni Collieries Limited, Andhra Pradesh and retired from there before settling down in Pune. However she continues to support and heal family and friends  in all crises, medical and otherwise till date and it is this indomitable and unflagging spirit that remains her hall mark. The first to get to the door when the bell rings, the first to get up and offer tea in the morning, the first to walk to the garden to pick up her favorite flowers, the first to plan the days breakfasts, lunches, dinners, the first to jump on in any sort of travel, the first to watch her favorite soaps and any IPL match, the first to head off for any film festival in town, the first to show an interest in anything new, her spirit is younger than most teenagers. An active bridge player with a fine bridge club that assembles every other day, she is a thorough professional, a caring and strong human, one who experienced much in life and certainly one who can share much. A bit of the distilled wisdom that I could grasp in that interview is presented here.

On work: 
Plan your work properly. Try to do it with full attention to detail. Achievement of whatever you have planned to work gives happiness. If there is a problem, get expert advise. If not possible to do it, go around the problem. But get it done. Work should be completed. If not in the ideal way, some other way.

On Life: 
Be optimistic. Be happy and make everyone else - and most importantly yourself - happy. Ignore setbacks, overcome them. Go ahead. Don’t get stuck. Learn something from the experience and move on. Be prepared to face uncertainty. Whatever the problem, try to solve them. Try to predict as much as you can.

On Love: 
Start with loving yourself first. Then you love everyone else around you properly. If you love everybody, everybody loves you back.

On Money: 
It’s an important thing in life. In our childhood we never had any money but we were happy. But I decided to earn money. Don’t get married unless you start earning money. Every move is uncertain then. Economy. Save as much possible for the future.

On People: 
Good to have people around you. But don’t trust at first sight. Take time to understand the person and then take your call. Be neutral and wait and watch.

On Relationships: 
Maintain cordial relationships with family and friends. Once they are friends I’d do anything for them. But relationships have to be both ways. Cannot be one way.

On Emotions: 
Keep emotions under control. Be balanced. Be spontaneous too.

On Winning/ losing: 
Winning makes us feel happy. Try to win. Compete. If you lose, improve. It’s not the end of the world if you lose. Losing a person, end of a relationship. Feel the loss, continue. Life goes on.

On Happiness: 
Nothing lasts permanently. We feel happy for a moment. We feel sad for a while. It will go. It will come in another way sometimes. You have to find your happiness all the time. It’s your attitude which makes you happy or unhappy.

On Fun: 
People are fun. Playing cards is fun for me. Buying something for someone is fun. You look at the thing it is fun. Sometimes even teasing people is fun.

On Fear: 
No fear for me these days. But really, there’s nothing to fear in this world. You need not fear about anything. Everything’s alright. If you fear, just talk to someone and it is alright.

On Family: 
It is important. Keep family members happy. I feel happy when I am with family. Feel happy to keep relationships going on with family.

On Success: 
Whatever aims you have in mind, if you’re achieved them that is success. Everyone should have some aim. If I want health, I need to work for it. If I want to be happy, I need to work for it. My success is within my limits. Whatever success I have, I am happy. I have been successful I’d say. My job, how I lived my life.

On Peace: 
Minor irritants are always disturbing your peace. But get on. Scold, Shout. Then forget about that. Don’t keep it on your mind. Be peaceful after that instance is over. Drop it.

On Responsibility: 
It is most important. Carry it on till the end. Whatever you have taken up, end it. Or don’t take it up.

On Her Secret formula: 
Adjust. Get on. Don’t wallow in the past. Learn how to tackle situations. Go ahead all the time. Find ways and means to do the work.

On How to keep oneself happy: 
Attitude. You find your happiness. Decide that I’ll be happy. That you won’t be unhappy. Then find ways to be happy.

On Keeping thoughts positive: 
Don’t worry about the past and the future. Past cannot change. So forget it. As for the future - just trust that everything is happy. Nothing will happen which will make you unhappy. Be happy now.

On the 3 most important things in life:
1) Health
2) Sufficient money (so you don’t have to beg, borrow or steal)
3) Good relations with positive attitude

Thus concluded my short interview with Dr. Nalini Nargundkar. Thank you Aunty, for sharing your thoughts.I simply loved the one on finding your own happiness. I think most of us expect it to come on its own! Also the one on responsibility, success, fear, winning and losing...pretty much all of it.

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