Lessons in Disguise | Flash Post 392
Button, one of the many advices my father-in-law gave me was to count my blessings one by one and it’s one of the wisest lessons he left behind.
In what manner?
A lady staff—let’s call her Reshma—who work for us can make even the sanest person go cuckoo. She finds it difficult remembering the smallest of tasks and once she begins to explain her stand in failing to carry them out, gets lost in a maze.
That must be taxing for you. And her.
Last evening I got back home a little past 8 to discover that none of the chores I’d asked of her were done. The truth is, she hadn’t even got a start on them. On being asked, she proceeded to tell me about her personal life and how badly her family had treated her. Without completing this, she proceeded to tell me about doing a job as a nurse before joining us. Her next tale was how she uses kokum in all the dishes she prepares and all the ingredients she had used last night in a dry potato dish she had cooked after watching YouTube. Mind you, this wasn’t the end. She went on and on like a slow train skipping from one story to the next when the clock chimed nine. I had to jog her memory that she still had to make phulkas, warm up the pets food, lay the table and serve dinner which had already been prepared.
What you are trying to say is that you actually listened to her patiently and slowly guided her through the paces.
Taking stock of the patience I have with her at times makes me stop in my tracks. Not too long back, Reshma would have been sent packing when I suddenly noticed streaks in her which all of us value. She is dedicated. She seems honest and caring. She has a pleasant personality and tries very hard to deliver on her job.
Do you think you are a different person now?
I have often been reprimanded by family members for being impatient when it comes to staff. I too see the change. I try to be kinder, more patient and understanding towards those who are here to make our lives simpler and my tolerance levels have gone up manifold. I’ve also learnt to move on and let bygones be bygones.
But that can’t be a substitute for mediocrity.
What I am saying is that we must learn to prioritise. When she began telling me about things that were of consequence to her, I told myself that the pets wouldn’t go hungry if their food was served half an hour later or that we could wait and have our dinner later than usual. What is important sometimes is to lend a ear to those who have no one to talk to and share their grief.
We must also realise that all of us are not equally clever or gifted. If I catch on to something quickly, another person could take a longer time. And vice versa. We ought to be patient, compassionate, tolerant, less nit-picking and move on with life focusing on bigger issues like growing intolerance, hatred, greed, indifference, selfishness and authoritarianism plaguing our country today.
I guess you’re right.
I count my blessings one by one every now and then. Reshma, with all her complexities came and taught me how to be a little more patient, kind, tolerant and compassionate and I have her to thank for making me into a better person.