Its funny the way our memory works. A lot of memories stay buried deep within and remain forgotten. There are moments in life and those memories come rushing in. This morning, I was reminded of a little tidbit from the year 2000. I was in Thane when I made this memory. It would go on to mould me into what I am today.
” It’s not about the money Anu, Its about the heart” My Jiju (Brother in law) summarized. I was an early teenager when I witnessed this conversation. It didn’t mean much that day. It was my niece’s christening ceremony. It was a gala event. The first girl child in the family after a long long time. Dad and I made it to Mumbai to be a part of it. The ceremony went without a hitch. The time came to open the presents and there was a neatly packaged cradle. The housekeeping staff had pooled in the money and they did make an effort to gift something substantial. While my sister’s mind was drawn towards the price tag of the gift, my jiju’s heart was warm from the thoughts of the generosity at display. He called it right that day. It was never about the money. It was all about the heart to gift anything at all. I think that lesson has never stopped resonating with me. There are days when my wallet is thin. The heart has never felt that way ever!
“You are my son right? , You tell me. I’ll do whatever you wish”, my mom announced yesterday.
Yesterday being a day of celebration, my mom slogged in the kitchen through the morning. The toll was visible. I’ve stopped asking her to not stretch herself that much. My mom feels extremely happy in the kitchen. She’s set in her ways. I’ve stopped trying to change that in her. I still bug her to rest plenty after her day of excessive work.
So the puja all done, photos all clicked, my mom and dad got into an argument. I was in my room , plugged to my headphones and lost to the sounds of a piano and violin. I’m composing this piece that I call Flutter. I hope to reflect the fluttering of the heart when it meets emotions. Music is my full time engagement that takes me away to another world of my choosing and making.
My parent’s discussion reached its crescendo and push had come to shove and they decided to leave the decision making process to me.
My mom bust into my room and declared “You are my son. I can do this anytime for you. Tell me what do you want me to do now?”
Being yanked away from a different world, her endorsed statement took me aback. I had no clue about the seriousness of their discussion. Like the manager that I am, conflicts are my bread and butter. I quickly heard my mom and my dad’s side of the story. Dad’s was the version I really liked. Mom had toiled hard. A lot of effort and we both knew what it meant to mom. My mom’s side was a revelation.
Mom decided to feed the poor with everything that she cooked. Dad felt that we should take a big bite and buy things for the poor. Dad liked to keep the boundaries clear.
My mom’s take moved me. I mean all that hard work, all that love and care, all her pride and happiness into making those many things in the kitchen. Yet there was this happy detachment to the fruits of her labor. It almost meant nothing to her. I could never think along those lines. I felt ashamed of my petty point of view of the world. So there i was in FB, talking about altruism and money, and there my mom was. Asking me very politely to shut the hell up and do things instead of spending words which meant nothing at all.
I smiled and took my mom’s choice. There was this profound sense of calm and happiness settling into my heart. Once again, I was presented an opportunity to know the difference between a fat wallet and a warm large heart. It’s not about the money. It’s about that heart, that will to give. That will to give and not expect anything in return.
My mom smiled and said I knew you’d take my side. You are my son after all. She went about her new task of packing things fast and easy.
The day made me wonder about the purpose of any given happy joyous occasion of our lives. Are we living through them in glee because we open our wallets? Or are we living through them in glee because we choose to open our hearts?
There is a master card for everything, the ad said. I do politely smile and disagree.