Failed mantras

‘In this diamond decade, dare to dance and dazzle.’ The birthday message from a friend made me first smile and then ponder. True. If it is the norm to make resolutions at the start of a new year, stepping into a new decade surely called for a couple of serious pledges.

But why would I want to dance or dazzle when I wasn’t drawn to them even at twenty? What I needed to find was a personalised mantra, in sync with my personality and beliefs, to live the next ten years by. After much deliberation, I zeroed in on three: Delegate, downsize and discover; delegate responsibilities, downsize possessions, look at things from a fresh angle and discover something new about life.  

 Years ago, in one of Pearl S Buck’s novels, I read about an interesting, Chinese custom and the information has stayed with me. The novel’s protagonist, an intelligent, beautiful and wealthy woman, follows the age old custom and hands over the keys to the safe to her eldest son, on her 40th birthday. If she could do it at 40, surely at 60, I should be more than willing to hand over charge and retire. But the catch is there is no one around to take the keys! 

Downsizing possessions, I assumed, would be easier as it did not require cooperation from another. Here again I had miscalculated and didn’t realise that the ‘others’ had the power to mess up this resolve too. For, on my birthday, I got a gift of half a dozen sarees and continue to be in dread of receiving more. My husband pointed out that I could still downsize the wardrobe by gifting away a minimum of seven sarees from the old pile. But then he is a man and doesn’t know a thing about old sarees.  ‘They say that one must give till it hurts. Unfortunately my threshold for hurt is so low that I am unable to balance the scales.  

But I have not given up on the resolution and make it a point to at least dislodge one squatter from the place it had held for God knows how many years. The yellow container in which, the detergent came in long, long ago has stayed in the same spot on the shelf in the car garage for years. I decided to put it to use and designated it as the new, dry wastes, bin. Two days later, when it was full with paper and plastic discards, I left it out along with the regular, organic wastes bin for collection.

Hours later the maid brought in only the dirty one. The trash collector, accustomed to seeing one bin and one carry bag bundle, had taken away the second one. Guess it is ultimately God who disposes.
I have discovered now that the coolest way to live life is to delegate the job of managing my affairs, entirely to Him.

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