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!
Beautifully written, Vidya!!! This is a very common scenario – sometimes we think no end of ourselves and think nothing about others. Love this post!
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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.
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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.
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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!
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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! 🙂
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.
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My complaint department closed many years ago. Lovely post.
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.
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!
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Beautifully written and very thought provoking 🙂
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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 🙂
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“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.
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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.
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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.
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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 : )
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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!!
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beautifully written.. Very thought provoking post … 🙂
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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.
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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.