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Code of Conduct

Sarabjeet D Natesan

Author: Sarabjeet D Natesan

Date: Wed, 2016-12-21 11:59

I learned very early in my life that everything has a code.  And it had to be followed.  My extremely loving and generous parents were hard taskmasters.   Our life was full of music and books and movies and picnics and holidays yet we were expected to know our boundaries.  We were never told what we should or should not do; nevertheless, we were expected to know it.  It made things tough, we did not know if and when we had overstepped.

My parents worked, and I was a latch-key child. I would find my way home before the rest and take the key, open the door, quickly run inside leaving the door ajar, fight all the imaginary demons I could on my way to the kitchen, pick up my lunch and rush back out through the open front door, lock the house and wait outside for the rest of the family to arrive. And of course slowly eat my lunch.  I was not able to sit inside the house all by myself!  During the course of my sixth standard, my father, working on a project in Bihar, contracted jaundice. He had to take leave from work and compulsorily rest.  This made me immensely happy as he was home when I got back from school. The couple of hours we spent together meant a lot, we spoke about a lot of things, I learned a lot from him; literature, theology, simple stories, imaginary characters, God, religion, faith and life.  With advanced degrees in English Literature and Sikh Religion, he was a true liberal in his thoughts and outlook.  He made me understand the importance of staying grounded, forgetting and forgiving and never taking anything for granted. 

One winter afternoon, I was dispatched to the market to buy sugarcane juice as it helped the liver to function better.  I took the thermos and cycled to the market.  In my huge levels of excitement, I forgot to close the cap properly and spilled it just as I reached home.  Promptly I was asked to return to the market to get another thermos of juice and was not even allowed to sit and catch a breath.  Another time I was given a letter to mail in the morning.  It was a letter our house help Bahadur, had written to his parents.  Bahadur had accompanied my father from Bihar to help take care of him and was generally sad and very homesick.  I figured that it was just Bahadur’s letter and it would be ok to mail it later.  By afternoon when my father discovered that I had not yet mailed it, he was very upset.  I still remember the soft voice with which he asked me to get the letter to post office soon.  I was also upset and did not understand the hurry and asked him why was the code of our upbringing so tough, why did we have to follow such strict guidelines, why can’t things wait a bit?  And his reply was simple, because they should not.

Having seen the angst of post-partition India, the hunger, the distrust, the indifference, this nonchalance was not acceptable to him.  He never broke a promise to any one, never let anyone down and constantly thought about issues from the other person’s perspective.  He told me to think of Bahadur’s parents, how happy they would be to receive his letter. And he taught me the positive power of kindness. It was his ability to think sensitively about others, their reactions, their feelings which managed his conduct.  His generosity was irritating yet infectious.  One day he gave the sofas of our house to the office manager as somebody was going to come to see his daughter.  My mother came home to an empty living room and was livid.  But after hearing the story, she called the manager and gave him the cushions too!

When my father lost his battle to the dreadful cancer, the Gurudwara where his last prayers were held was full with not an eye dry.  People whom we knew and people we did not know were there.  Many told us of his politeness and others of his generosity and others of his kindness. 

I draw my inspiration, my grounding, observation and empathy from my father.  I also get my stubborn streak, my code of conduct of respect and measured response from him.  To not disrespect, torment or disregard anyone.  And also to not take any disrespect from any one.  And to never let fear overcome me. And not to shy away from issues.  I try to live by that code. 

I have never left a bottle uncapped and never forgotten to mail a letter.





I really find these blogs very subtle, deep, divine and universal. It's so awesome!! Keep writing such heart-warming stuff!

This is really a touchy and inspirational experience shared by you Ma'am. Existence of Code of conduct is must in personal life and professional life to keep a person within acceptable boundaries. As I have grown up, I have seen my father as a very strong person from outside and a very soft person from inside. Being in Joint Family he has never discriminated with his children and other as far as discipline concerned. I have seen that in a joint & big family Karta member has to play a strict referee role to keep all the people together. However when I was child I always used to think why to do this only and why not that. He was so strict about study and use of money. He was behind us for cultivating the habit to respect elders, sacrificing for family members and lot more values with strict code of conduct. I used to feel why so much? Now I understand that that life was much better than being alone and enjoying so called freedom (Loneliness). I am a father now and I understand how he was unsecured for his kids as I am though lot of strictness then and now. I was having the habit of procrastination and he was like why a person should wait because of use. He is businessman and at the age of 55 he still serve the customer alone in mid night on need basis. Many things I have learnt from him but worth to mention two habits 1) Punctuality; & 2) Respect others. I understand now that Code is set to make the life strong so that you are enough capable before you expose yourself to world. If from childhood a person is not accustomed to such limitations he/she may not be able sustain in life. As you said, you were so happy when your father was not well and he had to rest at home. I am facing the same situation when my kids says Papa please stay home today, take a leave, how much work, SP Jain assignments etc. and if no leave, they pray Hey God please fall my papa sick for today and I laugh loudly. In professional life also Big Corporates have its code of conduct to protect the interest of Corporate as a whole and strict action is taken in case of non adherence. It is really worth to have some code of conducts in personal life as this teaches us lessons.

Very Correct Madam. I would rather call this as Code of Life. What actually code of conduct is ? Set of some rules .. But if we go deep into those set of rules and responsibilities, they actually shape our lives. This post takes me back to my childhood days and brings the memories of time spent with my grand pa. Being from the army background he was no less than a strict disciplinarian. Even his feet followed the code of conduct while walking leisurely with me in a garden. Left Right Left. This was how discipline had gone deep into his blood. Even though I was the most pampered child, he made sure that rules were followed. As children we sometimes have misinterpreted the discipline with dictatorship and felt that these rules have ruined our freedom. But today when I look back, I feel proud of myself that these rules have played a very important role in making me today what I am. I have seen children who would switch on the TV, first thing in the morning, after they get up and then their morning routine begins. We pamper our children, try to satisfy their every need, give them the best possible things we can but by doing all this we forget to teach them discipline. We take pride in boasting that my child knows how to operate android phones, my child wins levels and levels in video games but in all these prideful sessions, we forget that my child is also losing his or her eye sight to these technologies. Does a child whose age is merely 6 to 7 years need an android? Discipline is worth giving a thought.

Ma'am, Compliments to you for converting such a difficult subject into a nice emotional story. Even today, when we find it hard to know the importance of code of conduct and struggle to imbibe the same, you have made it easy to understand through an emotional story which everyone can correlate with. I feel life gives us experiences to learn but sometimes it is too late to learn from your own experience and you need to learn from other’s experiences which should be crystal clear and influential like yours.

Compliments to you Madam, for writing your emotional journey in such a simple words through this blog!!! As you are rightly mentioned, sometimes as a child we always hate the discipline imposed on us by our parents, but when we grow up, we know the importance of it. Our parents are always guiding us for important things in life, but as youngsters we always tend to hate their advice. We always think that we are grown up & know what is correct for us. Today’s generation always thinks they are “smart” enough to handle their lives. But when these youngsters become parents then they tend to realize the parents emotions for their children & importance of parents advice & discipline. Parents may at times take the tough decisions or impose hard discipline on their child, with intention to make their child ready to face the harsh world. Through their actions parents always tries to teach their children “Code of Successful life”

M’aam… Hats off to you for sharing such touchy emotional story in the blog. I have been overwhelmed by reading this story, in which you have explained the underneath of life i.e. code and conduct in a simplistic manner. The learning from the real life situation is an asset and never ever forgotten able. The subject code of conduct is a subjective concept and tough in conception. Major people misunderstand the subject to the required extend. But your silent explanation has given clear understanding about the requirement of code of conduct for a life. In real life, people try to adapt the mandatory things and they are being relaxed if the same optional. But the basic intrinsic codes like respect to others, self-respect, punctuality- can’t be driven from outside. It is highly mandatory to ride up in the corporate ladder. The presence of these qualities makes difference from various perspectives. While I am working in corporate I still believe these code of conduct is a mandatory to protect the interest of corporate and to initiate strict action in case of non-compliance.

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