Lighting up lives

Deepavali, the festival of lights, beckons the beginning of Karthika maasa wherein all through the month, serried rows of lit earthen diyas adorn the window sills, boundary walls and main doorway of many homes. One can behold illuminated paper chandeliers, too, crafted out of multi-hued, gossamer-textured crêpe papers, dangling from porch ceiling of several houses.

Now, during this Karthika maasa, as we are illuminating our home precincts, we can think of illumining hearts of people around, too. Incidentally, this season brings to my mind an ineradicably branded memory of an incident, happened many years back. During this time, while we were in Mumbai, I had bought two identical gift-wrapped comic strips, one to my friend’s six-year-old son, and the other to my domestic help’s same aged child.

On receiving the gift, my friend’s son, within a trice, ripped open the wrap and began riffling through its pages in a rather rustic manner. Then with his coloured crayons, he began doodling and stippling on the comic pages, creating unsightly blotches all over. Later on, he started shredding those pages and scrunching them into balls, he began hurling them into the trash bin.

From this incident, what I could clearly twig was, when you gift something to someone, already steeped in affluence, hardly can they appreciate the thoughts and sentiments behind your gifting act. It’s like “carrying the coals to Newcastle”. On the other hand, when you gift things to the less-privileged, it’d not only light up their hearts, they’d also value your gift, like my domestic’s child, who treasured my gift so well that it looked spanking new even after months.

In the same way, when we gift expensive sweet-boxes to calorie-conscious well-heeled folks, hardly would they relish it. Many times the boxes get recycled too! Instead, by offering the same sweets to say, a veggie vendor or a street sweeper, we can instantly light up their hearts. But unfortunately, many, bracketing exceptions, think of giving to these deprived folks, only when the sweets are mildew-covered, fetid-smelling, and in virtually rancid or mouldy state.

Maybe we are conditional, or it’s that clinical quid pro quo principle that we believe in. So, we give good things only to those, who are beneficial to us, or to those, who strongly reciprocate by giving us back something in return.

If only we are a wee whit unconditional, we can think of umpteen ways of lighting up the hearts and homes of many people around. Like, for instance, as we are frittering away prodigious money on our endless acquisitions, we can think of contributing a little of it over a day’s meal for the inmates at an orphanage or for those less-fortunate beings, living in homes for the mentally challenged. Indubitably, by indulging in such selfless gestures, we’d not only light up many hearts, but also light up our own hearts too with lashings of peace and joy.

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