Good or Bad ? (Slice of Life)

 

slice-of-life_individual

The other day I faced a situation when my mindset about someone was changed when I had to compare their attitude with that of someone else. It happens so often. We form an opinion, usually it is not a good opinion, and then a situation arises when we discover that our opinion was mistaken. Most of us change our opinions over the course of time. We make comparisons about people or places or things and keep asking ourselves, “good or bad, better or worse?” Thinking about comparisons, my mind went back many years in time. Some of us were conversing with my husband’s aunt. She passed away last month at the age of 86. She was a very gentle soul, one of the sweetest persons I have known

She grew in the first half of the 20th century in a hamlet as part of a joint family. People of our community were usually agriculturists. They had settled down in valleys were there was a good supply of water. Agriculturists in my country depend a lot on monsoons for all agricultural activities. Parents, their sons, their wives and children and other relatives all lived under a single roof.

My father-in-law used to say people in the villages were very self-sufficient. The members of the family had to work very hard. It is very difficult for us to imagine that life. It was a patriarchal society. Girls studied only till they completed primary school. Then they got married. They had to live according to the customs and traditions of their house. There was very little scope for them to go against those rules. The family was important, not the individual. A cousin used to say most girls never got the opportunity to discover their talents or even express them. Household work and other chores kept them busy from morning to night. As I mentioned above, families were extremely large then.

We were talking about how girls and women of the family managed during their monthly periods. They had stay away from other people. Very often they used to sit in a separate room. In a way, those days were a period of rest for them, a break from their household duties. But they had to work outside the house. Maybe it was difficult for them to sit idle. Such a situation seems very strange to us. We are used to having time for ourselves, to follow our own interests. We do have house work but this is not time consuming. Moreover we no longer have large, extended families living together in our part of the country. We remarked to my husband’s aunt that life must have been very difficult for them. She said, “We did not think it was difficult because we knew only that life. Everybody lived the same way. We never compared because there was nothing to compare our lives with. Of course there were difficulties in life. Life was difficult due to the existing conditions and not because we looked at the lives of others and compared.” Her words made so much sense. There was wisdom in those words. They have always been a part of my life.

I remember reading these words long ago, but I don’t remember whose words they are: “Never judge a person by standing in your shoes because your problems are different from their problems. You will be able to understand that person only when you stand in that person’s shoes.”

Choyee tunnel

(This photo was taken by my father-in-law’s younger brother in early 1950s. He took the photo from inside a tunnel in a hillside, between two fields.)

Good or Bad ? (Slice of Life)

By Lakshmi Bhat

I am a person who believes there is not enough darkness in the world to extinguish the light of a small candle. We live in a small place in South India. I love reading, blogging, stitching, traveling, photography, listening to people and many other things which make life so very nice and interesting. Blogging is a fun experience, it has brought me into contact with people in different parts of the world and it is good to read about their everyday life. In spite of the differences there is a sameness which is fascinating. I have learnt and am learning something everyday. I have learnt to write haikus. I enjoy combining the thought and the number of syllables. I have always read books and I was happy to write short fiction. I had thought I would not be able to do so. Stream of Consciousness and photo challenges are fun too. Yes, there is so much in life that is sad and that hurts us. Many a time I wonder why life is so unfair to so many. We all have problems in life but the problems of many seems unbearable. This makes me feel so helpless. It is not possible to help everyone but we can do our bit, we can do something to help some in whatever way we can. I go to the Home for the Mentally challenged in our campus twice a week. I have been going there since 2011. The members are an important part of my life. The Covid has made it difficult for me to go there regularly. There have been many challenges in life and we have faced them with a positive approach. Our grandson and granddaughter have made life so much more richer.

8 comments

  1. Some very wise words here. In Europe we have had quite a number of women as Prime Ministers and they have done a good job. I would say they are less easily distracted than men and probably work harder and with more focus. Let’s hope that girls in India start to get the opportunities that they so richly deserve.

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    1. Thank you 🙂 Life has changed a lot since those days. Girls are able to follow their dreams. But our country is vast and in many places it is as if people are still living in the 19th century.

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  2. This could easily have been said by my great-grandmother, an immigrant to the US with a tough life: ‘We did not think it was difficult because we knew only that life. Everybody lived the same way.’
    Thanks for sharing your story
    Kevin

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  3. Fascinating piece. We live in a time of so much opportunity and I suppose that knowledge leads to comparisons. While I am thankful I’m not in the fields, living a life with family feels like what we should continue to aspire to do.

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    1. Yes, in those days, in every householdmorning and evening prayers were important rituals. Menstuation was considered impure, so ladies stayed away. On the 4th day, after a head bath they once again took part in their household duties. As i had written it was the time when they got some rest from their daily routine. But now many consider it as a discrimination. These days with sanitary napkins life has become so much more comfortable. I think we should not judge those days because life was different then.

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