Reflections

The Things We Take For Granted

take for granted vidya sury

​I’ve been thinking. So much going on offline, I couldn’t even post my favorite Sundays In My City post.

The thing is, the apartment complex we live in is getting a facelift. So a lot of work is in progress. Not easy to paint two large buildings. We wisely decided to carry out repair work before painting and this is time-consuming. But now, we’ve finally come to the stage where this is over and the painting work is ready to begin. The first step is pressure washing the building.

(If some of you are wondering about the title of this post, I’ll get to that shortly. Indulge me, please?)

So – each resident was informed that today was the day in our building and advised to shut their windows to avoid the water being sprayed in. The boys began their work in the hot sun – oh yes, summer is upon is. A blessing for the painting…but not so great for the workers.

Soon enough, there were disgruntled residents getting annoyed about the disturbance and the water trickling in. I confess, I was a bit worked up about the spray coming in through the ventilators above the windows in a couple of rooms, but shrugged it off since all the stuff near the windows were all covered. After all, it was only water and could be wiped off.

When one of the neighbors complained about the mess these boys made, I felt a little bad. You know, the boys – about 8 of them – did not look a day over twenty. Skinny but energetic, they showed good team spirit, laughing and joking as they did their work. Three of them lowered the thick rope with a narrow wooden plank from the fourth floor, on which one of the boys was perched, holding the water tube to pressure wash the building’s walls. And man, that was some high pressure. The moment the water hit the wall, it dispersed in a fine spray. Beautiful to watch. The boy was lowered, a little at a time so he could cover the area on either side of him.

Slow, painful, tough, dangerous work. He had to trust his coworkers to hold the rope firmly. He had to be brave to do this work. He was literally risking his life to do his job. To cover just one column of flats, he must have had to be lowered on that precarious ledge at least thrice. So imagine – ten columns on one side – that’s 40 columns on four sides per building. We have two. Couldn’t be fun all the time.

And here we were, complaining about a little water seeping in – to get our own building painted.

The things we take for granted and think we are entitled to! So embarrassing. We were inside our houses, enjoying a hot lunch of our choice, watching TV… while those guys were baking outside. Lunch break saw them quickly grabbing something from the local cafeteria so they could get back to work quickly. At 6.30 pm when they wrapped up work for the day, they packed up and left.

It left me wondering whether some of them wished they had gone to college and were in better jobs. I wondered what dreams they had. I admired them for being cheerful.

The things we take for granted!

Long ago, my Mom read this out to me “I complained I had no shoes, until I met a man with no feet“. I still remember how I sobbed when I understood what it meant. Even today, that quote keeps me grounded.

True, isn’t it? If only we took less things for granted and appreciated more!

take for granted vidya sury

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19 Comments

  • Reply
    Fab
    March 14, 2014 at 8:28 am

    Beautifully written, Vidya!!! This is a very common scenario – sometimes we think no end of ourselves and think nothing about others. Love this post!
    Fab recently posted…Outfit Post – Bright and Sunny!My Profile

  • Reply
    Shailaja V
    March 14, 2014 at 9:06 am

    The world can do with many more people like you, Vidya: warm, empathetic, compassionate and understanding. There are way too many things we take for granted, be it the roof over our heads, the good health we enjoy, relishing life through the five senses. Takes a difficulty to make us stop in our tracks and give thanks. Heartfelt love to you and your post.
    Shailaja V recently posted…The Importance of being IdleMy Profile

  • Reply
    Beloo Mehra
    March 14, 2014 at 10:07 am

    Thoughtfully written piece. Your mom’s advice sounds very similar to my mom’s, though the words were different. The moment we widen ourselves even a bit and begin to see things from the point of view of those in more difficult situations than ours, we begin to lose this sense of entitlement that the world should run according to our preferences. Maybe that’s how we learn how to practice compassion.
    Beloo Mehra recently posted…StorytimeMy Profile

  • Reply
    Shilpa Garg
    March 14, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Such a thought provoking post, Vidya! Love the compassionate and thoughtful you!! ♥
    True, we take so much for granted all around us, not realizing that there are so many who must be missing that very thing in their life!
    Shilpa Garg recently posted…The Reluctant MessiahMy Profile

  • Reply
    Sudha Chandramohan
    March 14, 2014 at 7:53 pm

    Very true Vidya! I’m often reminded of this by my Dad..

    How many times we thank or appreciate or at least not fuss about the blessings we’ve already!

    Such a nice post.. Thanks for reminding again! 🙂

  • Reply
    richmiraclefiles
    March 14, 2014 at 8:08 pm

    Hi Vidya,
    That’s a very thoughtful post and something that needs to touch every concientious citizen.There are so many unsung heros literally putting their lives on line for uncaring brethren that it would shame them if the right context of sacrifice becomes evident enough.
    Imagine what the men in uniform do day and night for all of us.braving heat,cold,blizzards,typhoons,constantly grappeling with life threatening situations;besides facing the enemy.Staying away from the warmth of family and friends.All for us.
    Surely we need to rise above all this.
    Thanks
    Mona
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  • Reply
    C. Lee McKenzie
    March 14, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    My complaint department closed many years ago. Lovely post.

  • Reply
    Sulekha
    March 14, 2014 at 10:21 pm

    Vidya, not everyone thinks like you though they should. I want to be able to look at someone working in the sun and worry about his life. The world would be a much better to live in if we all became more compassionate. You are a lovely person, hope to meet you someday.

  • Reply
    Talya Tate Boerner
    March 15, 2014 at 12:29 am

    There are so many jobs that are dangerous that most of us are unwilling or unable to do. Thank goodness for those hardworking people who make our lives better!
    Talya Tate Boerner recently posted…Pi Day. Yum.My Profile

  • Reply
    Kajal
    March 15, 2014 at 1:30 am

    Beautifully written and very thought provoking 🙂
    Kajal recently posted…A Dedication To Mama HenMy Profile

  • Reply
    Carolyn Hughes
    March 15, 2014 at 4:54 am

    Your mum’s quote is so powerful Vidya. And your words are a good reminder to be appreciative of the little things and the everyday things that we take for granted.
    And especially those who work so hard to make our lives better.
    Blessings to you Vidya 🙂
    Carolyn Hughes recently posted…Love your life.My Profile

  • Reply
    Proactive Indian
    March 15, 2014 at 5:52 am

    Beautiful post!

    “I complained I had no shoes, until I met a man with no feet.” Just last evening, I repeated this quote to a friend who is going through a bad patch. It’s one of my favourite quotes.
    Proactive Indian recently posted…Kyunki Maa-Baap Ek Din Saas-Sasur Banenge (Because parents will one day become parents-in-law)My Profile

  • Reply
    Mary Stephenson
    March 15, 2014 at 7:08 am

    Hi Vidya

    We do complain about a lot of things when we should be so grateful as the alternative could be much worse.

    I remind myself from time to time how things are so much better than they were 3 or 4 years ago. I may not be as far along as I had hoped but I have so much to be grateful for. I am remind when I see the homeless man who is living out of his truck. And he has at least a place to be, there are some that have no place to live.

    Mary
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  • Reply
    Sheethal
    March 15, 2014 at 10:59 pm

    Another beautiful reminder. We never appreciate much in our life… but never fail to criticize about the little not-so-good ones. And that quote is one powerful one… something we should never forget in life.

    <3
    Sheethal recently posted…Relations! A child play?My Profile

  • Reply
    Sreeja Praveen
    March 16, 2014 at 11:59 am

    Hi Vidya,

    A wonderful piece , this one ! Yes, we are blessed to have so much good happening around us, yet we ignore or take many things for granted. Only if we understood how richly blessed we are !

    Here’s a story you would love : )

    http://www.emirates247.com/news/emirates/11-year-kid-serves-construction-workers-2012-06-12-1.462592
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  • Reply
    Betsy/Zen Mama
    March 16, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Vidya,
    I couldn’t agree more! And I really appreciate the reminders since I’ve had a lot on my plate lately. I can always count on feeling better after reading your page!!
    xoxo
    Betsy/Zen Mama recently posted…Teach Random Acts of Kindness To Your Kids!My Profile

  • Reply
    simple girl
    March 16, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    beautifully written.. Very thought provoking post … 🙂
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  • Reply
    Kathy Combs
    March 16, 2014 at 8:42 pm

    This post was dripping with compassion for others. Too often people are too interested in themselves and really don’t even try to put themselves into someone else’s shoes and try to even imagine their viewpoint. Lovely post and brilliant point.
    Kathy Combs recently posted…Travel ReliefMy Profile

  • Reply
    Johnny Sawyer
    March 25, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    I love this post! You are so right. we take everything for granted and complain about the smallest and stupidest things instead of simply enjoying what we have.

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