My Grandfathers

A short note on what my grandfathers were to me.

Dada, my father's father. He was a farmer in India and a businessman in America. No matter where his family moved, he always carved out a little garden that produced a disproportionately large amount of vegetables. Even when the family no longer depended on his efforts he put the same amount of work into his small garden as he did with all of his acres in India. Always provide for your family. He was also a very social man. His wit and impeccable memory allowed him to carry on a conversation with anyone, anywhere. He had a gift for remembering everything about you so the next time you met everything just picked up right where it was left. My mother always said, "If he had practiced his English a little more he could easily become a mayor." Last he was a religious man. He spent many hours reading scriptures. He wanted to know as much as he could so that he could best determine his own path. For him, the best way to understand and be a member of our religion was not simple adherence and blind faith. His goal was to deeply understand every facet of our and others' beliefs. To dive deep and know everything. Work is important because it provides for your family. Thinking of others is important because it strengthens your community. Deeply understanding your beliefs is important because it strengthens you.

Dadaji, my mother's father. He was an intellectual through-and-through. He was a civil engineer in India. He had a completely positive outlook and it was a rare and confusing moment to ever see him upset. His focus was always laser sharp on understanding the world through science. Many of my mornings in India were spent discussing various scientific topics. Physics was the primary subject. We focused on the beginnings of everything from the elements to fundamental forces such as gravity. We discussed the evolution of scientific concepts such as Mass/Energy Conservation and Relativity. As concerns about the future on a human timescale became more important to him we often discussed topics in Biology and Chemistry. How can we support everyone on the planet when the gifts of nature are no longer sufficient? What can be done with technologies such as genetic engineering when we barely understand what we are modifying? What about limited water supplies? How can we reverse the effects of global warming while continuing to produce energy at a sufficient level? Not too far from all these questions was the place of religion in a world of science. Was there a happy medium between science and religion? While some around him thought that such resolution to such difficult questions and the mysteries of the universe should be left to God, he, and I, deeply believed that God has left it to us.

My Dada and my Dadaji taught me that life is about many things. To better know yourself, know the world. To better know yourself, know others. To better know yourself, question yourself. Their lessons were implicit in the way they lived. In the end you should be happy, not just with what you've earned, what you've created or how other's feel about you. In the end, you should be happy with the effort you have put forth.