Engagement is life, stagnation is death
My mother-in-law is driven by a very simple philosophy. She always remains busy and gets herself engaged in a positive activity. She does so to keep a check on her thoughts, which she believes can go berserk anytime. And to keep her thoughts off the wrong track, she spends her time in executing household chores.
Household activities, according to her, are a real fun and they have the potential to rein in wandering mind. So, she puts her time and energy in carrying out daily chores. She wakes up early in the morning, reads scriptures takes bath and then takes position in the kitchen.
The first task that she does in the kitchen is to break the bread into crumbs to be offered to birds. Even birds know as to when their saviour wakes up and readies their breakfast. Sparrows and crows swoop on the roof just at the right time and pay their gratitude to her by creating a bedlam.
The street dogs too make a beeline in front of the gate and eagerly wait for her. She never disappoints them as she never misses a day – be it sun or rain- to feed the ‘guests’ with milk. She has especially kept earthen bowls to offer milk to the puppies. And after the treat to them is over, she herself washes the bowls.
Once the birds and animals are served, she again positions herself in the kitchen and prepares bed tea for the family. After taking her breakfast, she puts the articles scattered in the room in an order.
Repeated requests made to her to take a break often go unheeded as she prefers work to rest. She challenges any suggestion that tries to wean her away from a household job. Engagement is life and stagnation is death is what she often quotes to rebut those who ask her to stop engaging herself in ‘useless’ activities.
‘Jiwan chalnay ka naam, chaltay raho subh or shaam ‘(Life is another name of action, so one should keeping rolling) is her mantra and she draws immense inspiration from this philosophically practical song. Besides engaging herself into an activity, she often renders her help to the needy. She has taken upon herself the responsibility to support the education of the girl child of her house maid.
She pays a monthly sum of two hundred rupees from her pension to educate the girl child of her maid. No Kirtan or Jagratta is held without the visible presence of my mother- in- law. She chops off veggies and mops the floor besides making other arrangements in such programmes.
She enjoys robust health and the key to her good health is her simple attitude towards life. She minds her own business and never ascribes a selfish motive to an activity that she carries out.
The leaf that I have taken from her life is that one should always remain engaged into a constructive activity and never execute a task with a selfish motive!
(The author is a an Associate Professor at KRMDAV College Nakodar, Jalandhar-Punjab)