Thursday, 17 September 2009


Holy books across religions profess love as the supreme emotion – love for God and love for mankind. Great saints, have urged that we extend this emotion without restraint. Extraordinary contemporary men, from Gandhi to Bono, have exemplified the overarching consequences of willingly loving and sharing that love. And yet, it is this very emotion that is fading from our lives. Majority of us are just too busy in our lives, our chores, our vocation; to even realise the futility of our ways of existence.

Technological advances were made to increase efficiency and save time, but those innovations are causing erosion of time. The cars meant to transport us faster from point A to B are the cause of traffic jams, causing delays and gnawing on waking hours. Emails and telephones, inventions supposed to facilitate communication, keep us more engaged in work matters restricting time with those who could use and would cherish our time and love.

As some of us seem stuck in the rut, there are the older and the wiser amongst us who make an effort to suggest the error of our ways. R M Lala (one such enlightened man), in his autobiography - the thread of God in my life, illustrates the varied forms of love that he has experienced, extended and enjoyed. All those instances are heart warming, however, the most thought provoking is a simple sentence – “People do not realise that to love to adequately you have got to spare time for the other person”. It is not all the time; it is just some time spent wisely to express the love adequately.

Parents love us unconditionally, but professional commitments rob us of time. A mother at home will stay up past midnight, after having travelled half way across the world, just so that she can ensure that you are alright. But when you walk in, your mind is absorbed in a thousand other things, a peck on the cheek and you dive in to bed all set to wake up to catch a flight next morning. Siblings stand by us through our best and worst, but when they call to have a quick word, there are more important conference calls waiting and tugging us away. Nieces and nephews, who want to spend only one night tucked in bed with you listening to a story, have to be disappointed because a client on the other side of the country awaits a pitch. Friends are just as busy and occupied and those who really love us have to wait their turn. Love and its reciprocation have seemingly instilled a fear in us that giving into these emotions will keep from excelling at work, fulfilling our commitment to social causes that we believe in and living a life of fulfilment and adventure.

JRD Tata and GD Birla, two pioneering Indian industrialist, changed the shape of Indian industry – both had families that they spent time with. When they passed on, their sons took over to fortify the institutions their fathers had created. Gandhi, with all his affection for Kasturbai, did not leave her but along with her took Inida on the path to freedom. In one of his writings he says, “Had not been for her (Kasturbai), I would not have been able to forge the weapon of Satyagraha”. Bono has tremendous adoration and admiration for his wife and in his autobiography, conversations with Michka Assayas, mentions how she inspires and supports his philanthropic efforts. Needless to say that all these men have lived very fulfilling lives.

With love for every man, there will be less evil and the world will be a better place. However, charity begins at home and so does the expression of love. Without love at home, we cannot extend it outside. It seems that today might not be too late for us to rectify the fallacy of our busy lives and build a better future.