The Rastogi Robin Hood

"I am at the Tehsil for some administrative work. Speak to Amma. I will chat with you later".

My grandfather or Babaji, as I call him is a man of action. He is a man of mettle. I have been fortunate to have him around for the last 23 years of my existence and absorb by seeing his ways. He will turn 81 in 2018 but the vigor and excitement with which he tackles everyday challenges head-on inspires me to be a man of action in my life.

It will be hard to bring to life his persona and charm in words but I will definitely try straining my mental nerves to the last bit to capture it all. If my Babaji sets his sights on any task, he goes to extraordinary lengths to see it to fruition. Limits, resources and connections that have previously been unexplored or never thought of, will be tapped. And at last, he will emerge as an unscathed winner. This is because he goes to lengths before which most people quit.

Seeing these successes in small and big life tasks repeat over and over again has sure been a great early learning experience for me. I have learned to give-it-all and be open to even taking the road never taken before with the smallest possibility, all because it could unintentionally lead to my destination and hold the key to the task of the moment. I have also realized the law of the universe that it is not always the most able man who earns all the opportunities but the man who tries the most. And if I could put this in the words of King of Jerusalem as recorded in the Ecclesiastes, "The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned, but time and chance happen to them all."

Babaji has done it all. He ran a publishing business until late 80s, was the editor of a Hindi weekly, and also started a telecom tower construction business in 90s, a short-lived opportunity created in the wake of liberalization in India. Apart from this, he's been a help-all man. Actively helping people in genuine undertakings by utilizing his rich network of contacts and not to mention, his negotiation prowess. There are numerous stories of his getting his way with the government, local administration and senior administrative officials. I think I get the majority of my street smartness and a knack for 'getting stuff done' from him, as did my dad and two uncles.

While I could not (and mostly cannot) do justice of bringing his persona to life in this post of 500 words, I have one big takeaway from my Babaji. I want to live a life of big projects and undertakings. Projects of both personal and public good, and importance. I want to utilize my abilities and skills to the extremest possible bit, up until the last day of my life. If my Babaji could do a lot in limited resources, then sure I can be a STAR if I adopt even two-thirds of his formidable never-give-it-up attitude with all the resources I have now at my disposal to start and complete projects that will have widespread impact.

(The writer is in a mood of reminiscence as the birthday month of his Babaji comes in no time. What's better than rekindling memories of Robin Hood-ism of his Babaji at this time.)