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Posted at: Sep 18, 2019, 6:43 AM; last updated: Sep 18, 2019, 6:43 AM (IST)

Gift of values, not valuables

Gift of values, not valuables

Mahesh Grover

A young lad, upon being gifted a brand-new BMW car recently, took exception to this affectionate gesture of his parents, since nothing less than a Jaguar measured up to his expectations. In utter contempt for his parents, and the gift, or perhaps to propitiate the gods, he took the gleaming car to the banks of the raging Yamuna and ploughed it into the turbulent waters. He watched it being tossed around by the tempestuous currents which seemed to share the young man’s scorn for it. 

I read the news, and after the initial reaction of shock and disbelief, I was briefly in awe of the young man, to be soon drowned in a gamut of emotions, culminating into a brooding silence, as I was transported to my past. While in college, all my friends had scooters and motorcycles. Cars had arrived on the youngsters’ wish radar, but except for a handful of lucky ones, most guys were on two-wheelers only. 

Feeling somewhat deprived, and envious of my friends’ trendy machines of mobility, I often pestered my father to get me one — a request which elicited just one response — an advice to concentrate on my studies. I must confess, it was disappointing, and led me to even doubt my parents’ affection towards me, particularly when affordability was not an issue.

There was a gentleman whose business brought him to our house frequently. He was a leading transporter of Punjab and a legislator. Later, he became a minister. He was fond of me, and often placed his Mercedes at my disposal indulgently. One day I asked him if he could get me a scooter out of his MLA’s discretionary quota. Within a week, I had the allotment letter in hand, and excitedly, told my dad about it. He was livid and called up the gentleman to remonstrate with him angrily, ‘How dare you do this? You want to spoil my children?’ 

I could hear a voice trying to reason with him, but to no avail, and minutes later, the letter was shred to pieces.

Tearfully, I withdrew, vowing never to broach this issue with him again, and also silently pledging to myself that I would now buy a vehicle for myself only when I have earned enough money for it.

But this singular instance had innumerable lessons for me, which unravelled over the years. 

I joined the legal profession, and after a year or so, saved enough to buy myself a conveyance. But still short of some amount, and unable to resist the lure of an immediate purchase, I asked my father for some loan, upon which he smiled, patted my head, and asked  me to go ahead with the buy. 

Well! Contrast the two situations. In both, parental affection towards children was unquestionably undiluted. But the values that we impart to our children are invaluable as compared to the pure glitz, which, though enviable, does not distinguish the recipient as a human with sound values.


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