What makes a human being great? Is it money? Is it great ideas? Or is it knowing the nuances of the world? The ideal human would have all those things. But they are not what is needed to be great. Greatness doesnt need a barometer. Greatness cannot be measured by all the achievements of a person. It comes from how you choose to live.
Even with all the things he did, fighting crippling illnesses for decades and fighting everyones assumptions for a few more of decades on top of that, he never gave up. He never gave us a reason to doubt his decisions. He did a lot to prove others wrong, but most importantly, he did a lot more to prove himself right.
Now he had plenty going for him in terms of the initially stated three categories. Successful armyman and a successful businessman after. A great parent, and an even better grand parent. I cant think of any role he hadnt lived up to in any way. But that was not what reflected his greatness. It reflected in his aftermath.
Death always brings sorrow to everyone. His passing was no different. We all mourned the loss of a loved one. We all were struggling to cope up with the deluge of emotions but somehow, we held ourselves together. Instead of finding reasons to cry, we found reasons to smile. Without realising, we tried to continue his way of life through ourselves. We wanted his legacy to continue after all. We wanted his way of life to persist. And that gave us more strength than we could ever hope to muster.
He reminded us that the smallest of joys in our lives are worth it. He taught us that sadness and challenges continue to come in life, but it is upto us to smile in the face of those obstacles and move forward. As his sister said yesterday, “even when i want to break down, all i do is look at his photo and for some reason, i end up smiling.” That, to me, is the mark of greatness. The ability to teach others the biggest lesson of life without trying to. The ability to teach a way of living to everyone around. To make us smile, because we loved to be around him and because we know he will be around us everytime we smile in defiance when we have something scary in front of us, lending us his strength and reminding us of our own.
Even in the bleakest of moments, we will persist. Those hopeless situations will always be fought. We are no longer afraid of the darkness ahead, because even though he is gone, he left a beacon behind for all of us to walk towards.