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A chance encounter with an elderly woman living on the street led this author to think afresh of what happiness means.
We parked the car in Gopinath Bazaar and went to buy my favorite brownie. It was just one of the easy and lazy late evenings in otherwise demanding life of Delhi. The weather was perfectly romantic in the late October, or atleast my husband and I thought so!
After taking the brownie and ofcourse adding sandwiches, patties with it, we hastily went into the car as we were excited for a drive towards the India Gate. Something caught my attention.
An aged lady sat on the footpath, the area mostly deserted at that hour, barring a few shops. Her frail body was covered with a worn out blanket. A stick was placed near her. My husband asked me to give a packet to her containing the food we just bought.I took out some money as well. I fumbled yet grabbed the packet as the lady’s calmness bothered me. I expected the usual begging for food or money, or both. She stared at me from a distance, but her facial expression did not change much. Again, I expected her to be elated while I stepped near her, as it obviously meant that she would gain something.
I faltered back as a dog barked. I failed to notice its presence as he was happily sharing the blanket with the old woman. I was determined to be the so called ‘giver’ and therefore I mustered courage and went near her though the dog grumbled.
“Mere paas kuch khana hain, aap rakhlijiye aur paise bhi le lijiye,” I extended my hand to reach her. There was no reaction from her, just about a slight hint to the four legged pet of hers to be quiet. I reiterated my offer or rather request, should I say?
Her lips parched and I felt happy that ‘for today I have done a good deed,’ as I knew she would take the packet as well as the money and would shower a set of blessings. It’s almost an everyday affair on Delhi streets.
“Mujhe koi cheez ki jaroorat nehi hai, main thik hu,” she said. Her voice had the right mix of tenderness and strength which stopped me from repeating my request. She took out a broom and cleaned a small area near her and made arrangements to sleep. I was surprised as well as bewildered by her denial. The dog grumbled again and I thought I must leave and let this happy family take rest.
With sluggish steps I moved on. She had a dog to give her company, a broom with which she could clean up her place and make it liveable for the night, a blanket to protect her somehow from the cold, and an open sky that she called home.
In every moment in life the role of the giver and receiver changes. I went to give her mere food and money, but I received profound wisdom. To be contented in life either we need very little, or the list goes up everyday.
Happiness is not as elusive as we think it to be. It’s a matter of choice perhaps.
First published here.
Image via Pexels
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I huffed, puffed and panted up the hill, taking many rest breaks along the way. My calf muscles pained, my heart protested, and my breathing became heavy at one stage.
“Let’s turn back,” my husband remarked. We stood at the foot of Shravanbelagola – one of the most revered Jain pilgrimage centres. “We will not climb the hill,” he continued.
My husband and I were vacationing in Karnataka. It was the month of May, and even at the early hour of 8 am in the morning, the sun scorched our backs. After visiting Bangalore and Mysore, we had made a planned stop at this holy site in the Southern part of the state en route to Hosur. Even while planning our vacation, my husband was very excited at the prospect of visiting this place and the 18 m high statue of Lord Gometeshwara, considered one of the world’s tallest free-standing monolithic statues.
What we hadn’t bargained for was there would be 1001 granite steps that needed to be climbed to have a close-up view of this colossal magic three thousand feet above sea level on a hilltop. It would be an understatement to term it as an arduous climb.
Why is the Social Media trend of young mothers of boys captioning their parenting video “Dear future Daughter-in-Law, you are welcome” deeply problematic and disturbing to me as a young mother of a girl?
I have recently come across a trend on social media started by young mothers of boys who share videos where they teach their sons to be sensitive and understanding and also make them actively participate in household chores.
However, the problematic part of this trend is that such reels or videos are almost always captioned, “To my future daughter-in-law, you are welcome.” I know your intentions are positive, but I would like to point out how you are failing the very purpose you wanted to accomplish by captioning the videos like this.
I know you are hurt—perhaps by a domestic household that lacks empathy, by a partner who either is emotionally unavailable, is a man-child adding to your burden of parenting instead of sharing it, or who is simply backed by overprotective and abusive in-laws who do not understand the tiring journey of a working woman left without any rest as doing the household chores timely is her responsibility only.
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