Lessons from an Indian landlord

For several years I had a landlord in India. We had a robust friendship. But he had a temper! At times it would take all my powers of diplomacy to bring him to laughter. 😉 I am grateful to him for a great teaching though.

In the West, there is this incredible zeal of pragmatism. We can land a man on the moon, we can take tourists to space, we can get your stuffed Turkey by Amazon for breakfast (no thanks ;)). It’s pragmatism but there is something else there too, when you look closely.

Mother Theresa said that the loneliness she witnesssed in the West made the poverty of the poorer parts of the world pale in comparison. Or she said words to such an effect.

The other thing that is there? A lack of trust in the human being. It has been eroded by fear, by mean activity, by poked eyes. The horrific and needless sickness of “me and mine” – deprived of a loving trusting imagination, it is what we stoop to. But, yes, utterly ignorant, complacent and truly ignorant of the nature of man.

There are banks in rural India that go back hundreds of years. 20 families might add ten to fifty dollars to a kitty a week. And when your family has a genuine need – a degree or a marriage – you can go to that kitty and petition. Something like that can only work on trust.

It is not of the ordinary order of a business loan. It is the synapses of a greater and loving community fostering judicious new growth.

What my landlord in India taught me was to take the haste out of a business transaction. It bugged me to begin with. We had discussed the terms, we had known each other’s word – but he instigated this practice of doing it the next day or the day after. Obama was President then and he said he was a good age for such job. He could be very astute.

What it taught me is that you don’t rush into business. You pause. You ponder. You consider the consequences. You build trust.

He could be gruff, but we were quite fond of one another – he ran a consttucton compajy in two cities. The passion I brought for his culture was not lost on him.

We all impart gifts when we dare to live a fully authentic life.

© Copyright 2021 Nathan Curry

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