It was in 1996-97, a group of kids in the age group of 10-12 years were having fun at the marriage banquet hall. It was all colorful and merry. And the food stalls, the important attraction of every marriage other than the groom and bride were just set up.
Hot piping coffee, tangy street food, scrumptious Indian desserts, colourful indo-chinese noodles, Indian cuisine ranging from north to south, enticing ice cream and everything that spells “delicious” was being served.
Kids rushed to the food counters to make the most of it (what else marriages could have meant to kids in that age and that period of time). As they were filling their tiny tummies with one delicacy the other one was winking at them as if saying “mind space in your stomach, won’t you try me“. Amidst all the fun and frolic they saw two pairs of eyes watching them in utter silence standing at the front of the gate outside the marriage venue. Faces worn out, clothes torn out, eyes filled with hunger coming directly from the burgling stomachs. Their faces moved these kids standing on the other side of the fence. They huddled together, had a brief chatting and soon were hopping from counter to counter to fill their plates. Anyone who had a look at their plates could tell something was wrong, the proportions on plate were nowhere proportional to their appetite.
With four overflowing plates they made a move towards their counterparts and slightly gestured to come and have food. But to their surprise those kids ran to their parents who were sitting on the pavement there. It was a reflection of values despite their economic status. Values aren’t reserved parking areas, affluent involved in scams and poor people returning bags full of money proves it. These kids followed them with food. They offered the food to their parents, at first instance they also refused “free food” (unlike people fighting for free food and abusing delivery men 😜). But the group of kids insisted them on accepting food as it was clear that they were hungry for days now. At the end parents gave in for they can’t see their kids go hungry for one more day. This group made turns to the venue to get more food till all of them were full. They blessed these kids with folded hands.
That was enough for the kids to come back with hearts filled with joy. Joy of being blessed, joy of satiating hunger, joy of giving when you clearly have more than enough. I am fortunate enough to be in that gang of carefree kids. We at that time may have acted out of impulse but thinking about that incident over a period of time have shaped two of my principles in life – Respect Hunger and Be grateful. I have already spoken about my viewpoint about hunger in one my article on the same platform:
Coming back to the second one – being grateful, I strongly believe that unless a heart is filled with gratitude it is devoid of LOVE. It is incapable of giving back, hence it is incapable of maintaining an equilibrium in the society. Just like other values and hunger, gratitude ain’t a prerogative of a specific class or section of society. I know people from both ends of the spectrum. There are people who despite of accumulated riches always have a frown on their face. Whenever asked how they are doing, their standard reply “don’t ask, what an hard time we are having, just surviving”. They are in one tone frame of mind that the world around them, from their house maid to the prime minister of the country is conspiring to rob them. They really find it difficult to part away with things.
Well, let’s make a 180° turn as the ungrateful souls are not our point of focus as of now. Our inspiration should come from the likes of Shri Ratan Tata, Shri Narayanan Krishnan, Shri Sundarlal Bahuguna etc and many unsung heroes from our own families and surroundings. Gratefulness must not be only restricted to having the purchasing power (read economically sound). If you are capable of bridging the gap between the mouth and hands, be grateful. If you are healthy, be grateful. If you have a square meal, a roof and clothes to keep you safe be grateful for there are wars being waged for the same.
While this all sounds preachy that too at a higher octane the simplest way to say “Thank you” to the almighty is “give what you can”. If you are rich and powerful create avenues for many to earn their livelihood. If you are moderately well off then make charity a part of your budget, no one needs to know it. We have national and international organizations like UNICIEF, WHO, RED CROSS SOCIETY working towards a better tomorrow, be a part of it (this is my personal practice, you can choose what suits you). The best thing about such association is that you will never get to know whom you are aiding, secrecy is joyful too. Involve your kids in such noble activities (read @preetacreations article, she has done a wonderful job). If budget system doesn’t suit you, give away whenever you can – be it food, educating the underprivileged, even a glass of water matters. If materialistic things are something that you yourself are struggling to attain then the least is a kind words of encouragement, a simple prayer that everyone should be happy and peaceful or just a smile ( @Chiradeep a man of great qualities, a lot to learn from him, go check his article), there’s simply no dearth of ways to show our gratitude.
Next time when you sulk about not having the latest version of I-Phone remember there’s someone who needs aid to convey his or her emotions as they are devoid of voice!!!! And yes if having something makes you fortunate then being able to give away makes you fortunate and joyous too – double bonanza, isn’t it?