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Vishal Ostwal

I Write About Life

I Met a Man with Sparkle in His Eyes

Man With Sparkle in His Eyes

I recently happened to visit Udupi. It was similar to any other south-Indian place having a lot of serenity, pleasant air, and uncountable coconut trees.

But that’s not the topic, though

It’s about a person I met.

I visited the numismatic (aka coin collection) museum while I was there. I’ve been collecting coins for about more than eight years so I felt inclined to see it once.

So I decided to go there, before leaving.

It’s a small place with no entry fee.

I placed my bag outside, stepped inside the museum and walked as I browsed the photos showing the history of the corporate bank.

I skipped some pictures and went to another room where a framed picture which showed the “evolution of the Indian flag.”

Meanwhile, I heard a slight sound and turned back to see an old person sitting behind me, whom I didn’t notice while I entered. He had composed white hair and rimmed eyeglasses. My eyes paused for a second or so and I went back to watching the coins.

Then I saw the thousand rupee coin, which I had assumed was some kind of fake rumor until then.

“So, the thousand rupee coin really exists?” I asked the man behind me, assuming he was the guide there (which he was).

“Yes, it’s made of silver, but isn’t available for general public to use,” he said.

That fascinated me since I assumed that the pictures of big denominations were a rumor. I went on exploring thousands of year old currency and spent approximately 20 seconds contemplating the details of every coin.

Soon, a man entered with his family. A typical small family — a couple having a small boy and an elder daughter.

That’s when the curator opened up

The old person who was sitting silently on his chair until now asked us to gather around his table. He started narrating the life of Haji Abdulla, to whom the whole museum was dedicated.

Then, he went on.

He removed his wallet to show us the paper coins issued during the world war. He handed them to us with his shivering hands. Then he spoke a lot about the heritage and origin of Indian currency.

It was apparent that he has spent a huge share of his life studying and collecting those coins until he could tell a story about each one of them.

But that was more than extraordinary

He vividly remembered the details like who issued the currency, exact weight of coins, and history of coins. His eyes reflected his passion.

I suppose he may be in his sixties or early seventies, yet, he still seemed excited about what he did. Unlike the usual guides who slack and sit in a corner, he wanted to teach as much as he was capable of.

“I’m saying this all so our children can learn about our country,” he said. “Please sir, I request you to encourage them to something similar so they understand its value. Encourage your children to collect coins and stamps,” he urged the man with modesty.

The kids heard, but I’m not sure whether they understood his sentiments. His father assured that he would teach his kids. I’m not sure whether he was serious while he said so, either.

But the zeal of the man struck me

After all, how often do you come across a person who willingly spends hours, enthusiatically educating strangers and hoping them to remember, in spite of knowing that somehow what he says would be forgotten?

He taught me something about life. Perhaps, a couple of deep lessons I can treasure and use as a guideline as I grow up.

  1. People grow old, but it’s up to them to cling to things that make them happier.
  2. Age isn’t a measure or limitation that can decide a person’s passion or stop him or her from working.
  3. One should be willing to leave a set of ideas, a legacy that matters, and some tell stories worth spreading.
  4. Creating a lasting impact through ordinary conversations is possible if you share with genuine enthusiasm.
  5. You can leave a legacy if you persist long enough and dedicate yourself to an idea or cause, even if it takes years.

That my perspective based on whatever I observed.

Maybe I’m writing this because due to my empathy for how deeply Mr. M.K. Krishnayya cares for his work. Or perhaps, because I’m a numismatist myself.

I asked his name before leaving, and had made up my mind to spread a word about his work through a blog post even before I left.

I see hundreds of people around myself — but not all of them get excited when they talk about what they do. To the contrary, they’re dull.

But more than that, I feel it’s about the spark that he holds about whatever he’s doing at his age. I see some sort of fire in his eyes that most people lack.

What are we without a bit of sparkle in us, after all?

I still get excited when I see eyes of people light up when they talk about something.

Anything.

You can talk about thermodynamics, life, or soft toys — doesn’t matter.

I think it’s really essential to preserve our enthusiasm as we grow up, instead of developing tired faces. It takes courage to remain excited for so long while passing through different stages of life, right?

I’d like to be similar — a person with a sparkle in his eyes.

Here’s a request: If you ever happen to visit Udupi (Karnataka), then consider paying a visit to this museum. It’s close to Manipal, Karnataka.

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