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how much is enough?

I was walking down the street yesterday morning, back from one of my errands. Usually when I don’t have to go too far, I prefer to walk, since we live in a pleasant area. Of late, I’ve been feeling a bit bad about all those nice houses around being gradually demolished, giving place to blocks of flats. It’s becoming a developer’s dream, these bungalows.

Anyway, I like to look around as I stroll home – and something caught my eye. Outside one of the constructions, on the pile of sand were two kids. Turned out they were the supervisor’s kids. The girl was about 8 years old and the little boy, about 5 or 6. The two of them were playing in the sand. As I approached, I could see the boy bringing little cups of sand to the girl. I could only see the back of the girl, with her head bent, concentrating on something. Now, curiosity got the better of me – and I walked a little faster to see what she was up to. When I reached her, I saw a breathtaking sight. She had picked up a whole lot of yellow flowers from under the tree nearby, and strung them into a very long garland. She had already made one and placed it around a little mound of sand. In the center, I saw a shiny object – and it turned out to be a tiny image of a deity. It really was a lovely sight. So I asked her what she was going to do with the garland she was making – and she said she would make a few more ‘mountains’ and arrange the garland. While we chatted, the boy looked on, grinning away. They lived in the little lean-to hut within the construction compound. A couple of minutes later, I set off home.

My mind was full of them – all I could think of was how they were making use of their limited resources to keep themselves amused. Well, I had a childhood that had no TV – in fact we didn’t even have a fan or refrigerator – these came much later – but we lived in a huge house. I’d spend most of my time sitting on the windowsill and reading or drawing, 0r singing. Or just looking out across the lawn and imagining all sorts of stories. Today, most kids are stuck to the television or engage themselves with computer games. Granted, some of the do go out to play – if they want to and have the company. Otherwise it is tuition classes in most cases when both parents go out to work. I couldn’t help thinking of all those kids who weren’t so fortunate to even go to a good school – as in the case of the construction supervisor’s kids. Actually, these days I worry about them more because i wonder what they’ll do when it rains heavily, as it has been doing the last few weeks. No sand to play with. No choice but to stay indoors inside their hut or perhaps inside the house under construction. For my part, I take them something to eat often since I travel that road very frequently.

These days I even make it a point to always have something handy to give away – clothes, food, things they can use and so on. We never realize this – but there are so many things we take for granted that are an actual ‘want’ for these people. Something as simple as a plastic cover is important to them. Every time we go shopping, we collect a whole lot of shopping bags and because of their easy availability, we couldn’t care less about the ones we discard. Sadly, there are people who go through the garbage to see what can be of use to them. It squeezes my heart. Therefore, I try and donate as many things as I possibly can to those who are needy. I will never ever feel that I have done enough – but I made the resolution long, long ago that everyday I’ll give away something, even if it is one meal.

We don’t have to wait for a tsunami to strike before we clear clutter out of our homes, just as we don’t have to find a special occasion to show love. A little bit is all it takes, on a daily basis.

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Cheers!

Vidya

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