Someone said something very nice to me today...

Someone said some very nice things to me today, and then told me that my parents would be proud of me. There was a time these words didn't mean as much to me, as they do now. And they will mean even more, as the years go by.

There's this concept in Hinduism that we only hear our grandparents utter. Or perhaps on an episode of Mahabharata, if it still plays on tv. I'm surprised how it emerged in my thoughts some months ago and is a fitting addition to #thehindiproject where I try and decipher the most accurate meaning of certain Hindi words that I can't find correspondence with in other languages.

Punya, written as पुण्य, means invisible wealth. Calling it goodwill (as in accounting) is trivializing it. It is so much more. It is the opposite of paap (written as पाप) or sin, and is a result of good karma. One collects punya, just like one collects wealth, and by doing good deeds.

So when someone tells me my parents would be proud of me, to me that's punya. I hope I never bring myself to a situation when someone tells me that my parents ought to be ashamed of me.

Minu Chawla