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.
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.
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.