gratitude happiness relationships

Of Juice And Gratitude

Of Juice and gratitude Vidya Sury

The weather has begun to ease from very warm, where my hair seemed to never dry from the sweat – blame it on my full helmet, which I wear when I am out on my Honda – to just warm – where my hair does get a chance to dry before I sweat again.Yesterday we were blessed with heavy rains,which meant the weather was likely to become cooler.  If it rains for three or four consecutive days, then the weather will be much cooler. What bliss it was to watch the sheets of rain in the beautiful evening twilight from our balcony, while Vidur diligently practiced his music inside the house. It was a real treat to the senses.

So – as we made oatmeal for dinner (yes, once in a while it is easy to do that, and healthy, too!) we were laughing over how this random rain would now trigger insects and mosquitoes and we felt grateful for the things we took for granted:

  • we live in a clean area
  • we can just flip the switch and turn the fan on when we needed cool air
  • we have good raincoats to wear when we had to go out in the rain
  • we have a refrigerator from which we can help ourselves to something cold and tasty when we want
  • and so on and so forth – it is a long list

The rains got me worried about what my “Friend” whom we call “Thatha” (Grandpa) would be up to during the rain. Then I remembered that he always moved to the opposite side of the road to the bus shelter with his belongings when it was too warm or wet. And breathed a somewhat reluctant sigh of relief. I mentally made a note to carry some huge plastic bags for him so that he could protect his meager stuff from getting wet. I also got a little worked up about the woman and kids who had joined him recently. Were they dry and safe? I got the answer to that this morning – when I saw them frolicking about as usual.

If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito.  
~Betty Reese (Tweet this quote)

Another happy experience from yesterday was going to Seva Sadan, the girls’ orphanage near where I live. On the eighth of every month I arrange breakfast or lunch there. As I returned home, I felt a little sorry for all the people who were outdoors and working in the heat. I know how that feels.  If I thought it was unbearable indoors, imagine how it must be for those doing hard physical labor outside! So I bought a large pack of Tang Orange and made six liters of orange juice. Filled three two liter bottles. And took them out with me the next time I went out.

My first juice bottle went to  my building’s watchman who has to sit all day, sometimes in the sun. I don’t envy his job. Even though he has a tiny cabin, it is not easy to sit in it all the time because it can turn into a *#&^% oven. And we all know that a cooked watchman is no good to anyone! He often places his chair under a tall tree hoping there will be some breeze and I sometimes see him sitting hunched, dozing in the heat. him. When I handed the juice bottle to him, I was blessed with the delighted look on his face.

My next bottle went to the municipality lady worker who tirelessly slogs to keep the streets clean in our area. She grins at me every day, as I pass her four times en route to school and back. I stopped by her side to give her the bottle and she patted my shoulder. Then she closed her eyes. I wondered why. When she opened them I saw they were wet. And I realized the pressure of her hand on my shoulder still. My heart was smiling as I drove off .

Bottle three was earmarked for the elderly lady who sits outside the temple near Vidur’s school gate. She usually looks after the footwear of those who go into the temple to worship. She took the bottle and hugged it to herself and raised her hand, as if in blessing. I chose to interpret it that way because she was smiling. Enough said.

We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.  
 ~Winston Churchill (Tweet this quote)

My Mother always made it a practice to carry something whenever she stepped out of the house to go somewhere. It would be clothes, food, plastic bags, containers we no longer used – and just about anything we received or did not need, that might be useful to others. And she would always make it a point to give it to the construction workers in the area who lived with their families on the site. I always admired her for this.  I am grateful she cultivated this habit in me from early childhood. We often cooked, packed the food into 30-40 packets and took them in a basket to the temple on Thursdays, when there are a lot of people sitting outside waiting to receive alms. The kind of peace that comes with doing this is priceless.

I am grateful that I had a Mother and Grandmother who taught me the following things:

  • Give – It may be food, clothes, other things. It may also be affection, love and hugs.
  • Touch – Holding someone’s hand or putting your arm around them can convey lots more than words ever will
  • Appreciate – Be thankful for every little thing. There’s love all around us and in the air. Notice it.
  • Smile – it actually does improve your face value
  • Be happy – Happiness is a choice. That we make.
  • Be generous without expecting something in return.
  • Anger is a temporary emotion, just like the fizz in soda. Let it die down, just like the fizz.
  • Forgive instantly – because it will help us move on and live life in the best way
  • Life is a gift. Relish it
  • Don’t bear grudges. Grudges only eat your own mind.
  • Say your I love yous every day to all the people who matter. Don’t wait for a special occasion to do it.
  • Be good to yourselves and others. Compassion and kindness do not cost anything.
  • Be positive

See? it really doesn’t take much to practice happiness.

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35 Comments

  • Reply
    My Inner Chick
    May 9, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    –You. Always. Make. Me. Smile.

    in spite of myself.

    Love love love. Xxxxxxxxxx

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      May 11, 2012 at 1:39 pm

      Kim darling, As long as I live, I pray that people smile when they think of me 🙂 Love you too. Hugs!

  • Reply
    Elle
    May 9, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    What wonderful concepts your Mum and Grandma taught you Vidya…you were blessed indeed to have them.
    Encourage one another.
    Elle.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      May 11, 2012 at 1:38 pm

      Thank you, Elle. I do feel blessed 🙂 Both were very practical yet large-hearted women. 🙂 Love your sign off “Encourage one another” It is beautiful! I am glad you stopped by!

  • Reply
    Terri Sonoda
    May 9, 2012 at 6:23 pm

    This post made me cry. And smile. Your giving nature and beautiful heart inspire me every day. I may not hear from you every day, but you are always with me. That’s the kind of effect you have on me, and I’m sure, so many others. Doing for others and giving are things that everyone can do and should do. I don’t do enough of it, but these kinds of reminders refuel my reserve to do more. Thank you for that, my friend. And thank you for being you. That is one “positive” we all have today. You. Much love!
    Terri

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      May 11, 2012 at 1:43 pm

      Hugs, Terri. You always shower me with such beautiful comments. I know that you are a kind person and I find that very inspiring. I am glad that this giving was cultivated as a habit in our family and it adds such value to our lives. I thank you very much for being my friend. Love you!

  • Reply
    Vetrimagal
    May 9, 2012 at 3:40 pm

    Lovely gestures Vidyaji!. It fills my heart with gratitude for things I enjoy in life.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      May 9, 2012 at 4:17 pm

      Pattu, just today I was thinking of you and wondering if you had written anything new – and sure enough I got an email alert about your latest post. 😀 Yes, gratitude is good. Love, Vidya

  • Reply
    Anonymous
    May 9, 2012 at 4:48 pm

    This is a great post, full of little things we can do that can make a huge difference to someone! Thank you!

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      May 11, 2012 at 1:40 pm

      Thank you so much for stopping by, Anonymous, and for the wonderful comment!

  • Reply
    Betsy at Zen Mama
    May 10, 2012 at 3:59 am

    So simple and yet so incredible! Loved this post Vidya and you inspire me as usual!!

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      May 11, 2012 at 2:08 pm

      Dear Betsy, Life is so much easier when we mind the little things. 🙂 Thank you for coming by! Love you!

  • Reply
    Paige | simple mindfulness
    May 9, 2012 at 10:30 pm

    As I read your post, Vidya, I felt like I was witnessing an angel floating around, touching people with her love and magic, changing the world one person at a time. You’re absolutely amazing! I’m so blessed to have met you and to have you in my life! <3

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      May 11, 2012 at 1:44 pm

      Paige, Paige. I am blushing here. I am speechless. (And that’s a major achievement you know). I am blessed too, that I have you in my life, Sis! Hugs!

  • Reply
    personalpower4me
    May 9, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    Lovely, caring story Vidya. Thankyou so much for sharing this with the blogging Universe
    be good to yourself
    David

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      May 11, 2012 at 1:57 pm

      Thank you, dear David! I am happy you’re here!

  • Reply
    Pamela Fagan Hutchins
    May 9, 2012 at 10:59 pm

    Oh, I just loved this. And I think of the woman last year who I didn’t help. She was a pregnant drug addicted (meth, it appeared) homeless woman, often in a state of undress. She would beg for help on the corner under the overpass at the highway nearest our house. I should have brought her food or a cold drink. Or some clothes. I never remembered to do so. She’s not there anymore. Your post really made me think, today. Thank you, Vidya.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      May 11, 2012 at 2:01 pm

      Awww, Pamela. Hugs. I am sorry you feel that way. There’s a way to make it better you know. Give something to someone else. Easy. Love, Vidya

  • Reply
    rebuildyourlifecoach
    May 10, 2012 at 12:27 am

    Hi Vidya,
    Fabulous post! I love your proactivity in the Giving arena of life. Your juice bottles are wonderful; your mother’s lesson is wonderful; your quotes are great (I tweeted them both) and your gratitude list from your mom and grandma are great. I especially love the anger being like fizz – a great visual- wait till it settles down.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      May 11, 2012 at 2:03 pm

      Dear Harriet – My Grandma would always say “Soda” when someone got all worked up at home. And they would instantly laugh. The visual is rather funny, especially in a tense situation! Thank you so much for your appreciation. Love your comment!

  • Reply
    MamaTim
    May 10, 2012 at 1:04 am

    Hi Vidya.. love your list. Our islamic teaching teaches all these values too. If I may add to your ‘Forgive instantly – because it will help us move on and live life in the best way’.. The last thing to do before sleep snatches you, is to say “I forgive everyone. No one has done me wrong. You’re all forgiven. I’m at peace and hoping I’m forgiven too.”
    then Zzzzzzzz…
    xoxoxo

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      May 11, 2012 at 2:07 pm

      Oh, Mama Tim – that’s such a beautiful thought. Thank you for the lovely comment. And yes, I will add it to my prayers at night. My son’s going to love it too!

  • Reply
    Jodi Chapman
    May 10, 2012 at 4:11 am

    This is such a beautiful post, Vidya! You have such a big, open heart. I am so glad that you are carrying on such a giving way of living that your mom passed onto you.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      May 11, 2012 at 2:16 pm

      Thank you, Jodi. I consider myself lucky! 🙂

  • Reply
    Nikky44
    May 10, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    I love the different lessons you have learned from your mother and grandmother!!

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      May 11, 2012 at 2:18 pm

      Thank you, Nikky! They were wonderful people and they live in my heart!

  • Reply
    Unknown Mami
    May 10, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    It doesn’t take much and I find that no matter how little I think I have, I always have enough to give.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      May 11, 2012 at 2:19 pm

      And that’s why I love you, Claudya. Your thoughts are so beautiful.

  • Reply
    Galen Pearl
    May 11, 2012 at 2:40 am

    I love the idea of always taking something with you when you leave the house, something that someone else might be able to use. And what a lovely story about the juice. Such a kind and I’m sure much appreciated gesture.

    • Reply
      Vidya Sury
      May 11, 2012 at 2:27 pm

      Dear Galen, I love the idea too and it is a habit. Apparently, back in the fifties, on cold days my Grandpa would wear three or four shirts, one over the other and give them to the homeless people who hung around the railway station. It was the same with food and bedsheets and so on. 🙂 My Mom always had a bag packed with miscellaneous stuff to give away whenever she went out. Feels real good! Thank you for coming by! Hugs!

  • Reply
    vanita
    May 12, 2012 at 5:54 am

    girl i love how big your heart is. i’m so glad we’ve come across each other. you are an inspiration. today i noticed that a campaigning assemblyman put up shop a block away. he has a drop box for books for the children’s hospital nearby. tomorrow the teens and i will be dropping off about 40 books. i now have to find a drop box for all these toddler clothes i have

  • Reply
    Purba
    May 12, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    Lucky are those who have you in their life. What an inspiring post Vidya!

  • Reply
    Evelyn Lim
    May 12, 2012 at 7:59 am

    I enjoyed reading your post tremendously. It is also nice that you shared about how you live in India.

    I was also taught to share food with the more unfortunate. My mother sometimes cook extra if she notices a domestic helper in the neighbourhood not getting enough to eat. I admire the giving quality in her especially in the past because she had to work and rush home to cook dinner after office. She was already so tired but she enjoyed sharing the food that she cooked with love around.

    Your mother and grandmother sounds rather amazing! It is great that you turn out amazing too!

  • Reply
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  • Reply
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