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Enough Is Relative

by Vidya Sury September 2, 2014 8 comments
enough is relative

We were standing at the bus stop, waiting anxiously for the bus. Now, Vidur always teases me about never being able to stand still in one spot. Purely a case of the pot calling the kettle black..but that’s another story.

So – I generally tend to keep hopping on and off the sidewalk – alongside which the bus stops.

It is a great guessing game because the bus will not stop at the actual bus shelter. The driver has a mind of his own. He either stops way ahead, so we can all jog with our jiggling bits, some of us puffing and panting, to jump on into an overflowing bus, or way behind, so we flail our arms as if that were enough to make him stop.

Anyway, as we waited, we watched the Pourakarmikas (the wonderful people who maintain the cleanliness in the area) leisurely sweep the roads clean, gathering the debris at regular intervals at the side of the road, to be picked up later and put into their trolleys and taken to another spot from where the municipal corporation van would pick them up.

I always admire the kites (birds) flying overhead – they have a number of nests in the trees in the area and can be seen circling, swooping down, gliding across the sky and generally seeming to enjoy life.

I try and click a few shots, while I am at it, as Vidur impatiently watches – his focus is on getting to school on time.

So anyway, as we cussed the bus for being late, said hi to his classmate who joined us at the bus stop, my focus shifted to some activity across the road. There is a construction in progress – some apartments are coming up. The workers were getting ready for the day.

There was a row of large plastic barrels with water just off the sidewalk, on the construction site. A couple of men, dressed in their towels approached these with little plastic containers that served as mugs and began to bathe. Two mugs of water – a quick rub down with soap – a few more mugs to wash that off.

(Yes, dear readers, I watched men bathe! bwahahaha!)


Then the cutest thing happened. One of the women, presumably the wife of one of the men brought a little boy and stood him near one of the shorter barrels. Undressed him down to his underpants. Gave him a “mug” and went about her work.

The little boy – who must have been 5 at most, picked up a mug of water and gently poured it on his head.

My heart went out to him. The weather is chilly in the mornings and I just wanted to go hug him.

As I watched, he rapidly poured a couple of mugs of water on himself. Took a piece of soap, lathered it up and vigorously worked it into his hair. Then his little body. He groped around for the mug, dipped it into the barrel and quickly began to wash the soap off. Suddenly, the sun shone, bathing him in sunlight.

That specific moment will always stick in my memory. The little chap, standing with his face up to the sun, poised with his mug in one hand and the other hand, rubbing his body to get the soap off.

When he was done, his Mom came with a towel and dried him off and dressed him in a brilliant yellow T-shirt and shorts and sent him off. She then picked up all the discarded clothes and washed them on the stone and strung them out to dry on the makeshift clothesline.

The lady then went off to serve them breakfast – she was cooking while they bathed.

They were all ready for the day – freshly bathed and fed. The men and women would start work and the children would play. The women had jasmine flowers in their hair.

So we didn’t get the bus. We took an autorickshaw to school.

What I saw put me in a contemplative mood.

How much is really enough?

I was musing on how we get worked up about switching the hot water on time and if it doesn’t work, freak out. We have such high expectations as we get more comfortable with life and take most things for granted. I am not even getting into the gadgets here!

Yet there are people who get by with so little. Happily.

So did I, during my childhood. We had no fans, no refrigerator, no living room furniture – guests were seated on mats on the floor. We did have a few chairs, though and a lovely swing in the living room – a polished plank hung with decorative chains.

Somehow, my resolve to simplify and be more with less strengthened.

And so, dear people, with renewed energy, I am collecting things to give away.

That’s all I got today.

enough is relative

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Roshan R September 2, 2014 at 4:01 pm

It does come down to that… what is ‘relative’. I used to be (still am?) a very spoilt brat in many ways. Though I wasnt really demanding, I never really wanted for much either. But when circumstances changed, I realised the value of how blessed I truly was and learned to appreciate that more.
Sometimes, losing what you have can be the true eye-opener to show you how valuable certain things are in your life.
Roshan R recently posted…MakemyHome – The Kids room: Freedom of expression

Geeta Nair September 2, 2014 at 5:20 pm

I guess it’s a case of ‘the more you have, the more you yearn.’
Geeta Nair recently posted…Wheel of Time

Sheethal September 2, 2014 at 5:27 pm

“be more with less” …. I am taking this with me. 🙂 … We have so much yet we tend to be unhappy.
Sheethal recently posted…Live Life as it Comes…

sulekha September 2, 2014 at 6:08 pm

Vidya, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder…not many people would have seen the beauty of the moment, when the little boy was bathed in sunlight. You write sensitive posts because you are a compassionate person, lovely article.Being happy with what we have is what keeps us going.

Beloo Mehra September 2, 2014 at 7:55 pm

Indeed Enough is Relative. Great title!. And of course, totally appreciate the insight you share here, based on a simple and sweet observation. Really, we have complicated our lives and lifestyles way too much. A great read, this one, Vidya!
Beloo Mehra recently posted…Dharma and Offering

nabanita September 3, 2014 at 12:03 am

We get so caught up on life that we miss the big picture no…It really isn’t so hard to be happy , is it?
nabanita recently posted…Alone

Sebastian Aiden Daniels September 3, 2014 at 1:18 am

Amen to that Oprah WInfrey quote. Going to pin that for you! I think it is true that enough is relative and that if we concentrate on what we don’t have then we will never have enough. Whenever I compare myself to others or what I don’t have then I feel absolutely miserable and become depressed.

We have all we need in this present moment. Thanks for the reminder that I do have enough where I live. I have more than the majority of the world’s population will ever have and it is interesting how our human minds still want us to have more. Damn our hoarder nature!
Sebastian Aiden Daniels recently posted…10 Myths To Challenge To Help You Become More Open Minded

Proactive Indian September 5, 2014 at 5:09 pm

Thought-provoking post! I’m reminded of a saying, “The poorer person is not the one who has less possessions; the poorer person is the one who has more material desires.”
Proactive Indian recently posted…Hangover of the British Raj?


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