It is important to be thankful for the little things in life that bring us the most joy and happiness rather than what we could have instead.
It was the peak of summer in New Delhi. Leena carefully made her way out of the overly crowded bus at the Khan Market stop. As she got down from the bus, she looked at her old HMT watch and realized that she was almost on time for her duty. She started mumbling a prayer, hoping that unlike all other days, her supervisor wouldn’t scold her that day.
Leena Tiwari worked as a junior storekeeper at a posh designer boutique for women located at the heart of Khan Market. She did most of the odd jobs at the boutique, like rearranging all the dresses in their designated places that her entitled customers left behind in trial rooms, fetching coffee for high-end clients, holding hangers of heavy dresses while her clients tried a million options in the trial rooms for hours together, sweeping the floor after everyone left and sometimes giving polite nods to foreigners who visited alone and asked her opinion on the bright kurtas that they tried.
As she quickly changed from her faded pink salwar kameez to her uniform in the employee washroom at the boutique, she realized that her uniform needed a wash. She had missed washing it the day before as her son, Chintu had hurt himself badly after tripping from his bicycle on his way back from his school.
In his early teens, Chintu wailed like a newborn as Leena dabbed his wound with Dettol after giving him an earful of scolding which was coated in her love and helplessness. Leena’s husband Santosh who watched on while coaxing Chintu to stop crying worked as a Security guard in an apartment near their tiny house and alternated his day and night shift duties to share most of the household chores with Leena.
They were a good team, if Leena would get vegetables from the local market, Santosh would wash them, chop them quickly while she freshened up and got ready for cooking. Sometimes if he would cook, then Leena would quickly wash the dishes before the three of them bundled together in their tiny bed to fall asleep in a minute.
They had their share of problems too. The tin roof of their house was leaking, thanks to the hail storm from the previous weekend that had created a few holes on the roof. They had to wrestle their way to get a bucket of drinking water from the municipality tanker every morning, finances were always crumbling as they had to support the rising medical bills of their ailing parents back in their village in Uttar Pradesh. Vegetables were mostly getting pricier. Above all, both Santosh and Leena had to endure unnecessary scoldings at their workplace because people felt entitled to do so, sometimes for absolutely no reason.
Leena quickly jolted back to reality as a foreigner client asked her where the washroom was. She smiled politely as she guided her in broken English. She looked around to look at the thousands of brightly colored outfits made out of the finest silk, brocade and all the amazing fabrics that her clients scrutinized every day before handpicking them for trial. Sometimes, when no one would be around, she would gaze at the price tags of the outfits, some of them would surpass her and Santosh’s half-yearly income as well. Yet, she was never agitated, nor was she disheartened.
She didn’t have the luxury of buying designer clothes in her life, yet she had the comfort of being lovingly hugged by her husband whenever he was back home from his duty. She had a leaking roof but both she and her husband planned together as a team to fix it in the most economical and efficient way after visiting a dozen repair shops in their neighboring areas. She and her husband didn’t speak English properly, but their son Chintu was picking up the language well and was on his way to becoming their tutor as they proudly watched him speak confidently.
She couldn’t afford fancy dinners with her family yet the three of them licked their plates together in unison after having their favorite meal of Rajma-chawal at home before laughing their hearts out over all the crazy things that had happened during the day. They didn’t have a vehicle but squeezed together with love in a bus seat on their rare visits to Qutub Minar or Taj Mahal. They didn’t have the things which most people wanted but they surely had the thing that most people needed: love, hope, and happiness out of the simplest pleasures in life.
“I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains,” Leena thought to herself, as she lay on the bed sandwiched between Santosh and Chintu, looking at her tin roof with holes.
She did have a leaky roof, yet below the roof, rested her husband and son who loved her unconditionally and for her. That was enough to help her survive through her days with a genuine and polite smile that she flashed before her clients at the boutique, day after day. She hugged them a little tighter as she dozed off to sleep.
Life with its miseries had its bountiful share of beauty for Leena and her resolve to choose beauty over misery, day after day, made all the difference.
Image Source: Pixabay
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