My Dad shared a beautiful story with my children this evening. It was food for thought for this post. Before I share the story with you, here’s what it made me think.
Compared to our previous generations, the standard of living of our generation has improved manifold. We have convenience of everything as technology has made life a lot easier. In most cases, our parents are not as much dependent on us as their parents were on them. Loans and credit cards have made things purchasable (not affordable though). We buy things that are necessary and not so necessary. We also indulge in extravagance because we can afford it, even if it is at the cost of paying an interest amount to the bank at a later date, which of course does hurt our pockets.
In my childhood, a candy was made available only on special occasions like getting good marks, winning a competition or when a ‘special’ guest came home. Chocolates and ice-creams were trophies to be earned by putting in extra efforts in studies like coming first or second in the class. I still remember how I had worked hard for a whole year to get a hair clip that my mother used to show me and promised to give me if I come first, second or third. I came second and she did give me the hair clip, which is when I realized that it was of no use to me, as I had short and thin hair. We used to get just two new dresses every year. One on the occasion of Onam and the other one on our birthday or before the summer vacation started. School uniforms were to be used for 4-5 years. Mom ensured there were margins left so that the dresses could be altered to fit in our height and weight increases.
Nowadays, we go shopping to buy a dress for our kids and end up buying 2, 3 or 4, because there was an end-of-season sale going on. I wonder what this end-of-season sale is all about. I find it every time I visit a shop in the mall or the nearby market, all through the year. Our kids don’t get much time with us because of our private job which makes us work for 14-18 hours a day. And to compensate this we end up getting them more of everything. The compulsory uniform change by schools every 2 years forces us to discard the old ones faster. We do end up wasting a lot of resources in this manner. Donations too are made by purchasing things that look interesting and a part of the bill is said to be given to charitable causes.
We have excess of everything and this is exactly the reason for the difficulties we are now facing with waste disposal. Our predecessors had a wonderful habit of thrift and we are a generation of spendthrifts. If all of us were to practice the habit of thrift and teach our children the same, we can preserve the non renewable resources for our children, our grandchildren and our great grand children as our forefathers so thoughtfully did for us.
A scissor-holder that I made out of a wedding card
Let us vow together to make the optimum use of the resources available to us and reduce wastage and save the environment for ourselves and our future generations. This is the least we can do to save Mother Earth!
I now leave you with the beautiful story shared by Dad. It is really inspirational.
A disciple of Buddha, said, “Oh Master! I have a request to make.”
Buddha: “What is it; tell me?”
Disciple: “My robe is worn out. It is no longer decent enough to wear. Please, may I have a new one?”
Buddha looked at the disciple’s attire and found that the garment was absolutely in tatters and really needed replacement. So he asked the store-keeper to give a new robe to this disciple. The disciple offered obeisance to the great master and left the room.
Buddha kept thinking about the incident and felt that he had perhaps missed an opportunity to teach a valuable lesson to the disciple. So he went to the disciple’s quarters to talk to him.
Buddha: Are you comfortable in your new robe? Do you need anything else?
Disciple: Thank you Master. I am very comfortable and do not need anything else.
Buddha: Now that you have a new one, what have you done with the old one?
Disciple: I have used it to replace my worn out bedspread.
Buddha: What did you do with the old bedspread?
Disciple: Master, I am using it as a curtain on my window.
Buddha: Did you discard your old window curtain?
Disciple: Master, I tore it into four pieces and am using them as napkins to handle the hot pots and pans in the kitchen.
Buddha: What about the old kitchen napkins?
Disciple: We are using them as mops to wash and wipe the floor.
Buddha: Where is the old mop?
Disciple: Lord, the old mop was so tattered that the best we could do was to take all the threads apart and make wicks for your oil lamp. One of them is presently lit in your room.”
Buddha was content. He was happy that his disciples realized that nothing is useless. We can find a use for everything, if only we want to! Nothing should be wasted; not even time!