Thursday, February 9, 2017

THE GIRL OF THE HOUSE













"Too many people today know the price of everything
and the value of nothing."
- Ann Landers

Good values, we are told, are taught at home by parents and elders, and, at school, they are taught by teachers. While it is true to a large extent, I believe, that, often, good values can be learnt by us on our own and cannot be taught to us by others.

This noon, a doctor friend of mine spontaneously invited me to his new house. It was lunch time and his wife was not at home. As lunch was ready, my friend insisted that I had my lunch with him. His 11-year-old son was at home. When the little boy wished me and bent down to pay respect, it did not surprise me… Parents do teach such things to their kids and kids follow… even though, often, just mechanically. This kid wasn’t mechanical… He was alive and awake when he touched my feet. Then came a glass of water, “Uncle, please have water.”

“Thank-you beta,” my compliment was, certainly, not mechanical.

As it was lunch time, my friend, suggested we had our lunch straight away. What was endearing was that the little fellow was doing what his mother was expected to do… Setting plates, bowls, spoons… serving daal, sabzi, rotis, raitha… and, all this despite my protest, “Beta, don’t worry, I will help myself.”

“Our son likes to do that,” my friend explained as I wondered as to why the father was not interfering.

“So, darling, you are the girl of the house, haan?” I teased the little fellow, “Mummy must be very happy.”

 ‘Girl of the house’!  What did I mean by that?

Helping around the table – like this little boy did – comes spontaneously to many men, women, young-ones and children. And, to others, it simply doesn’t come. Preparing a good meal, serving it and being a good host… yes, these things can come from one’s vanity or insecurity, too. But, doing them from a simple, loving and giving heart… yes, these things can be palpable when you witness them before your eyes…

 Just as I did this afternoon…

The little boy was not doing it out of any vanity or insecurity, I am sure. His parents, probably, must have tried to inculcate such good values in him. But, do all kids of his age follow?

So, let me repeat what I said at the outset: Often, good values can be learnt by us on our own and cannot be taught to us by others…We choose to become the ‘girl of the house’!

GERALD D’CUNHA
Pic.: Suyog Surte

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