Legacy is our mark on this Earth after we are gone. It outlives us, but it’s not immortal because legacy too has a shelf life. Just like sowing a seed which eventually blossoms into a tree laden with fruits and flowers for the reaping of generations to come when we cease to exist, and while they are enjoying its sweet nectar or ambrosial scent they might tell each other “hey, you know, this tree was planted by So & So”.
Do pardon me but I have a small anecdote I must share with you. I love the movie Troy, and at almost the beginning there is a curious dialogue between Thetis, the mother and Achilles, the son.
“If you stay in Larissa, you will find peace. You will find a wonderful woman, and you will have sons and daughters, who will have children. And they’ll all love you and remember your name. But when your children are dead, and their children after them, your name will be forgotten… If you go to Troy, glory will be yours. They will write stories about your victories in thousands of years! And the world will remember your name. But if you go to Troy, you will never come back… for your glory walks hand-in-hand with your doom. And I shall never see you again.”
And Achilles chose to be remembered. We all want to be remembered, mostly for the good things we did, anyway it’s wrong to speak ill of the dead. But when I think about me, I don’t think I will be all praises posthumously. So there is a constant conflict between what I want to leave as my legacy and what I would actually be leaving. I pity the person writing me a Eulogy or Elegy, for he wouldn’t know if to praise me or to voice all his stifled vexation for me outrightly.
I want to leave a lot of books as my legacy. Books that will inspire, motivate, uplift and entertain generations to come. I know it’s a very tangible thing to leave behind, but I want a motley group of eccentric readers who are strongly opinionated and have the guts to say that my book was boring or exhilarating or a page turner or just passable. I want them to discuss me, I want few of them to hate me and few of them to love me and have a heated debate over my writing style. I want to be compared with great writers of my era, and I want my book on people’s shelves.
The other thing I would love leaving behind as my legacy in all modesty and without sounding sanctimonious is a home. A home for the orphaned children, for the abandoned parents, for the ones without gifts of sight, sound or speech and for the invalids of the society which will not let them feel that they away from their families as they would become a family to each other. I hope that one day I earn enough to realise this dream of mine and make a trust to fund that Home.
I know I will be called a Zealot, a Hermit and a Radical by many. Many would address my depression and my anxiety; many would even pity me for my mood swings and ambiguity. I will be cherished for being an excellent hostess and a spendthrift. I would be abhorred for cutting out a few people out of my life and erecting enough walls around me.
I only want to leave this world a li’l better than what it was in my life. I want to make a change in people’s thought process about forgiveness, about being judgemental, about giving hope.
Many times I have been told that I forgive too quickly, and it’s being seen as my flaw, but I believe it’s my power. Forgiveness is a capacity that costs nothing but is coveted by the most wretched of the society. I can stay vindictive and ruthless too, but I would lose a bond, a friend, a relationship while forgiving lifts a weight off my chest also. People like to talk to me, confide in me, share things they would never tell anyone else and while doing so, they let me become an integral part of their life and become a vital part of mine. I get this privilege because I try not to be judgemental. I have seen people colour each other black or white over small things. Who am I to judge and pass a verdict on them, who gave me that authority when I am made up of a lifetime of mistakes and wrongdoings. To err is human, then why we deride people on their errors. I hope people will take this inspiration from me and give each other a clean chit. A clean slate to start over as they overlook transgressions assessed on supposition. As for hope, I know how important hope is to live. We can go on without food and water, but we can not go on without hope because then we lose our dreams and the desire to go on. That’s why when I come across anyone in need of some hope, I try to instil optimism and confidence in them with all my might, letting them know that this too shall pass and they will rise if they had taken a fall.
It doesn’t matter what and how you do, so long as you adapt something from the way it was before your personal touch and essence into something that has a semblance to your character you after you take your hands away
“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”
― Shannon L. Alder