An ability to repay a non monetary debt would be “Gratitude” in my books. There are many incidents in our lives, where parents, friends and relatives come to our rescue, when we are in trouble. They bail us out without expecting anything in return. We feel good to come out of a difficulty but sooner than later forget that someone had helped us, when we needed it most.
I have many instances in my life, where I have benefited from such acts of generosity from my friends, family and relatives. My wife once told me that one of her relatives helped her fund her higher education when she was a child. As she grew up, this could have easily been forgotten as her relative was well off and did not bother that he helped her. But, she remembers this act of kindness throughout her life and is grateful for the same even today. Today, when God has helped us meet all our material needs in life, she has always insisted that we should support some needy children in their education as her sense of gratitude to someone who helped her. Even today after more than three decades, she bows in reverence to the relative who helped her.
I have another personal experience in my own life. My father was admitted in hospital and was serious and in an intensive care unit. I had just started my career and I was short of financial resources to support my father’s treatment. At this critical juncture, when some of my close people around me did not help me, here was a relative and friend, who went out of the way to financially support me, without expecting anything in return. I am indebted to them throughout my life. Today, I look at opportunities of how I could help them and others in distress as this act of support can never be measured in monetary terms or repaid. Today, even if I am in a position to repay them financially with all the interest till date, I will fail in my duties if I am not grateful to them for the rest of my life for their act of kindness.
I should say that even animals teach us to be grateful to others. I had a Labrador at home some years back. Her name was Sandy. I recall many days in my life when I was on tour, she would not eat or sleep till my wife and kids ate and slept. She was grateful to them since they had reared her during her younger days and taken care of her for all her needs. Her sense of gratitude sometimes put us to shame when we realised that we were more selfish then even animals as greedy human beings.
It is the sense of gratitude, which grounds you and makes you realize that money cannot buy everything in life and if you forget to repay your non monetary debts, it is you , who lose not the lenders.
Shall we commit to be grateful in life ?
S Ramesh Shankar