Today, watched Albert Finney in the movie 'Big Fish', and he reminded me strongly for my grandpa, or Ajoba/Aba in marathi :-) hence am sharing this treasured memory of his.
I think I was around 13 years old when this happened. We had Satyanarayan Pooja at our house. After his retirement, my Aba had learnt scriptures and used to perform all family poojas. So he conducted this one too. (an elaborate 2hr ceremony, involving decorations, mantras, many eclectic fruits, flowers and leaves, a sacred story telling session, and prasad) After the pooja, all neighbors /relatives are expected to come and bow before the god, so the door was kept open, and a steady stream of visitors started.
At that age, I was often at odds with my brother :-) Sometime in the evening when there was a brief lull in the visitors' arrival, we broke into a fight whose cause I now forget :-) All I remember is raged passions, raised voices and arms, and at the end of that whirlwind, we had disarrayed & nearly uprooted the pooja. Being elder, I understood the gravity of situation earlier, and just stood there paralyzed with shame & regret over my actions, humiliation and most of all the fear of what will happen next. I sensed that we had violated something very important, not just symbol, but probably God himself. Guests would arrive any moment, and Aba who conducted the pooja so piously would probably kill me/ shun me :-) That was when he arrived from the next room!
He saw what hath happened, saw the look on my face, and without a word or a scorn, and without pausing to think, he started cleaning up the mess and restoring pooja. He did not scold us then or ever again about the incident, nor did he held a grudge against us. For me, this was most bewildering, and just did not fit my view of the way world worked. When I thought long and hard about why Aba did, his wisdom dawned on me. He knew that pooja was merely a symbol for channeling good thoughts & actions, hence he set about restoring it without feeling angry, chose to counter our passions with his calm, thus stopping the chain of worse consequences! Today Aba is no more, but his wisdom has been a constant guide to me.