Saturday, June 30, 2018

The Best Day is Today - Leelamma

Hey Guys!!!!
I can genuinely say I am a social worker, but if you had asked me 35 years back that I will become one, I would half laughed it off because it was preposterous. The way of living I had then was, one of high standards. My first memory when it opened after my birth was, I was surrounded by people who had everything and that too in excess. So I was thinking that is what the world is, everybody had everything. I remember, when I was small, I never used “please” or asked whether my parents had money to buy me things? I just said (literally ordered), I want such and such things and they buy it for me. So when I came to this quaint school in Moolamattom, I had two classmates, Leelamma and Lailamma, who helped in the kitchen and studied with us. They were given the best education free of cost.
My life, if you would like to know, was that of leisure, no work and all dreams. Whenever I think about my school life, my parents gave me the best situation one could ever get in a lifetime. Imagine!!!!! How wonderful it is? But as a human being I was not happy because I had no freedom. I couldn’t be with my parents and the list goes on… I closed myself to not get hurt. But God had plans for me, to break the shell I had created, that started at the age of 13.
Since my life was that of leisure, my study times too were spent idly, reading books and comics and whatever I could lay my hands on except for my own academic books. That is when I came to know about Leelamma and Lailamma personally. They had difficulty in understanding English because they had been in Malayalam medium school until then. So they came to me to ask doubts, which was, I explain to them what the teacher taught them that day in Malayalam. It literally was all subjects.
Looking back I wonder whether they understood anything because I for one was not well versed in Malayalam language, what an irony. Anyway, Leelamma was much more open to me than Lailamma. She would always share her fears, her dreams but her situation was drastic than mine. I had only two subjects I had no knowledge about – Malayalam and Mathematics but for L&L except for Malayalam and Hindi, they were totally blank of the other subjects.
That made me think, “thank God!!!  I had only two subjects to conquer”.(well don’t think I did anything to conquer. I think God conquered it for me.) So, I made it my life mission to help them pass by just marking for them the most important two questions of each chapter and asked them to learn it by heart because they didn’t even have a general idea to write on their own, or which words to put where.
This showed me, how God really cared me, I could write Malayalam on my own, which happened to be my mother tongue too, naturally with spelling as well as grammar mistakes and the teachers found it hilarious, believe it or not it was far better than any joke books because they brought it to class and read it.
As time went I came to know that both L&L started wearing torn and mended dresses, I asked, “Why are you wearing torn dresses, its time to replace it.” But Leelamma replied, “Meena, I have only one pair of skirt and blouse.
God I really hated myself. How insensitive can a friend be? How will I wear a good dress when my friend hadn’t any? That was the day I decided, that I will not flaunt my dresses in front of this friend or anyone for that matter and that was the first time, I too used only two dresses might be maximum three for the whole year and still does the same, wore torn uniforms too. Just because I did it doesn't mean you should do, it was my choice to contain my extravagance, which was just over the top.
So when my dad came to pick me for holidays, we had a ritual of buying dresses and all its accessories (because in the previous boardings it was like that, my parents didn’t know when they would be there for us. So the old dresses goes and new ones come). But this time, I told, “Dad, please don’t buy me any dresses for 3 years, I have more than I need.” My dad was thunderstruck, but his face was wreathed in smiles, he hugged me tight  and said, “Now you became my daughter. I am really proud of you.” (Only then, I knew, I was a first class jerk to my parents and how insensitive I was.) But mom would insist at least one.
I learned one thing in life, no matter how much we try to carve ourselves the right niche for us or for our family members, we cannot control who our friends will be or what situations we will be in. Let ourselves in the hands of God and enjoy life because we are in for a big roller coaster ride for sure. 
As the year was coming to an end, Leelamma’s brother who was also in an orphanage, met with an accident, he went and climbed a tree in the yard of the orphanage during his free time, he slipped and fell and passed away immediately. My heart was broken because she has been talking about her younger brothers whenever we met, as she was the eldest. All the siblings of Leelamma (4 of them) were in 4 different places and were planning to come together after 4 years.
I don’t know whether I will ever forget that moment. This incident opened my eyes, gave me an idea of the finiteness of life. We take life and the gifts we have been bestowed with for granted. We don’t value the people we have. We always complain for what we don't have, criticize people, etc...etc... From then on, I started consciously making an effort to respect and love the people I have and be happy for each and every good things and situations I got. It might be a small breeze or a small shade in the scorching heat. It might be a small space to sit, having friends, food to eat, roof over head during rain, a blanket to ward off cold, a chance, talent, money to help people.
The attitude of my life changed, I started living like today was my last day (My dad passed away without a moment’s notice, he had a heart attack). If this is the only moment I have with the people around me, then I will give my best. That is why when my dad passed away, I hadn’t any regrets, I was the best daughter he could ever have, he was happy with me. When my relationship with my husband broke, I hadn’t any regrets because I gave my best to the relationship. Each day was my best day.
So guys, value, what you have and cherish it. Don’t clutter yourself with “Want”, try to survive with minimum necessities, there are loads of people there who also has to use the resources we are surrounded with. But that does not mean that you shouldn’t follow your dreams… Utilize your resources wisely. If your heart says to share your resources with the needy please do so.
I don’t know where Leelamma or Lailamma is, but I really would like to know where they are and if they need any help.
To be continued…..
See you guys
Meena

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