My father, Shri. M. Kista Reddy was one of the very few literate people in not just our village, but in the neighboring villages too. He could read and write Telugu and Urdu. The farmers came to him to settle petty disputes pertaining to land. He knew the name of the owner and the survey number of every inch of land in the Taluk. My mother is a homemaker.
Our father always told us (his children) that legacy is not the property that I leave behind for you, but the vision to grow and thrive with nature by your side and not against it. He was ever concerned about the welfare of the people of the village. He cared for them and shared with them. His concern for them, earned him the goodwill of the villagers.
Every harvest was a festival. Those days, the villagers were paid in kind for their role in raising the crop. It was a kind of barter and that also built a strong bond among the people.
The image that I will carry for life is that gleaming eyes and beaming smile of reassurance on his face, when he saw a rich harvest that meant that the village will have sufficient food that year. To me that is the message: True happiness lies in the happiness of the society. I am only carrying the torch of social commitment that he lit years ago.
My father’s advice guide me even today:
1. There is no bigger threat than death – there is no bigger poverty than having a single piece of cloth on the body. If you work without fearing for these two with discipline, even if by chance your friends or relatives don’t understand you, the rest of the nature will cooperate with you
2. The world might not know about your birth, but your death should remain in the history and the mother earth should be willing to take you in her lap by the good deeds you did
3. If you are not habituated to work hard in childhood – you will surely get habituated to live by cheating others