The key to life

A bright day of August,  I would be around 14 or 15 years old at that time. I was vacating in Pakistan after having appeared in the O/Levels exams…The memory is clear thou saddened by the fact that the other person from the memory is now dead…My Dada jee.

He was in one of his lecture moods and well, I figure, he guessed right that I wasn’t 🙂

So, he started telling me a story of Batala (India – Pre-partition)

The story goes….

Rana ( My Dada jee used to call me so)….. When I was a very young boy, I went with my father to attend a wedding in a different town ( he knew the name of that town..I don’t recall it now). My mother, sisters and mostly everyone else in the house had already left a few days ago ( as was traditional back then).

Lock with Key

While leaving, my father (your great grand father) did something different….Once he had locked the house he gave me the big lead (metal) key to me for safe keeping 🙂 I was very happy at being given this responsibility. It was the first time that my father had given me the key to the home. Now the locks you kids have are different from the ones we used to use. He then proceeded to go to his cupboard and after a 2-3 minute ritual of locks, padlocks, etc etc etc… he recovered a lock (that looked quite like the picture here on the right).

He continued…

This key, your great grand father gave me and told me to keep it safely in my pocket. Once we started on our journey (via train)…soon i forget about the key in my pocket.

Jasmine

I still remember when we got to ( the city where the wedding was) there. While exiting the Railway station, my  father took a handful of Jasmine flowers and smelled them. He had me smell them too..it was very refreshing….He then gave me a few of the jasmine flowers and I placed them in my pocket so that I would smell fragrant…Artificial perfumes were not IN back then … (and we smiled at me.)

Then my Dada jee proceeded to tell me about the events at the wedding… girls … dances … food … and of course the all important family politics 🙂

Eventually coming back…

My Dada jee continued his story….

So finally we all returned to our home in Batala, Gurdaspur and my father asked me to produce the key….. When I reached for the key …(contrary to what I was thinking…the key was still in his pocket…hehe … no thriller there)….. I took hold of the key and brought it out. Along with the key some of the old jasmine flowers , now dry and brownish color came in to my hand.
I blew the dry flowers away and proudly gave my father the key…

My father took the key and then opened the lock… he asked me to stay at the door while all family members walked in to the home.

Finally we were the only two remaining standing…. My father took the lead key and gave it to me and said….
“Putar Khurshaid” smell this 🙂

Would you believe… The lead key was giving off the same fragrant jasmine smell. It was very amusing indeed.

My father simply said…. Son, you are getting older now and will soon enter more practical life where you have to choose friends and directions in life. Always remember just as the fragrant jasmine has penetrated the lead key , similarly no matter how strong we think we are…we always risk having habits from our company rub on us.
So instead of putting yourself on a silly test every other day to prove that you cannot be spoiled …. its better to avoid company of people that have negative behavior and be close to people who are good.

After that my Dada jee was silent for a bit and then he gave me that Key ….. and he said “I hope I do not need to say anything more now…..Do I?”

I was amazed and happily influenced at that time….I took the key…I still have it deep inside my own little ritual of locks and padlocks and such and I intend to share it with my daughter when she is old enough to understand this or when she needs to.

My Dada jee, passed away on 15 January 2005 ….. My daughter was born on 15th January 2010 ……. Ironic thou, I feel its just a way of nature telling me not to forget the important things in life.

Things rub off on us at all times… Try being influenced by the good.

Good Luck.

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