The first time I read the Godfather, I loved it.
The idea of a whole underground mafia running through the loopholes of the most stringent law forces, was amazing. And the way Mario Puzo presents the criminal families to you, the power, the understated fame, the fear. It all leaves you…star struck.
And then their is the Don himself.
He, his three sons. I could probably right essays on them. Full of both their praise and criticism.
But even more, they inspired an awe in me. An urge to know more about them, an understanding that the wish was as childish as wishing for Hogwarts to be real (meh, we have all wanted that now).
However, it’s when I was reading the book the second time around that I came across the most important message in the book. The secret to Don’s success. Something the glam of it all let me miss the first time around.
And his secret weopan was just one attribute that he was intelligent enough to take it up very early in his life.
He was a giver.
Theory says, that in this world there are three kinds of people. The matchers, the takers and the givers.
The matchers probably live the hardest of the lives, because they spend their’s keeping a tab on who owes what to whom and by how much. Who never forget a favor they did for someone and keep waiting for them to respond with one of their own. For a chance to take it back. It’s not just disgusting. It’s a life time handicap, for in the struggle to keep the score equal, they fail to actually live, to keep up with those around them. They exist. Their only worry being the score board, never even playing the game to its full.
The takers seem to have the best of it, for they are getting what they want, how they want-no matter their means to get it. They don’t mind what they owe to whom, but soon the people around them do begin to mind how much they have been “taking”. And inevitable as their reluctance is, so is the fall of these takers from their faux greatness. For it came from a web of deceit and wishes, not hardwork. These are those who forgot to wander in the right direction, and now they are lost.
And then there are those whom people would like to believe are stupid. Whom some would like to con, but only true genius would see their worth. They are the Dons. They are the givers. They are ready to bestow any favor on you as they strive on their own path to success, hoping for nothing in return, but a friendship which with such kindness would be inevitable. The Don’s price for the hardest of favors was the promise of a friendship, and isn’t it how it practically is, but without the question of it? You do a man a kindness, how then would he not love knowing you when you ask for no tat to this tit? Why wouldn’t ten men come to your help when you helped thirty in their need. Maybe the scoreboards would never be equal, but it’s more than about just that.
It’s about getting something money can’t buy you.
The joy of putting a smile on someone’s face, the warmth of someone’s hearty hug, a simple thank you note, that silent acknowledgment of your support. Sometimes the biggest gifts lie in the tiniest of gestures. Hence, unseeingly, and then more apparently too, the givers begin to leave all the others behind on the scoreboard. And as they continue to rush towards a victory, they never lose their chance at living.
In short, the Godfather has taught me, just as life has too, that the best amongst us aren’t the ones keeping score nor the ones leaning around in the background, rather it’s the ones on the battlefield, who can spar without regret, without worry and without getting lost as they wander.
So take a step forward, and be gentle. Give without wanting. Take only when you can’t avoid it, but never keep score. Help, smile, do, share. Be everyone’s support, solution, hero. Hope. And let no one be let down by you.
Then watch how speedy your own victory is.