In an earlier post, I had introduced you to the poems of Yogi Vemana. This 17th-century ascetic had written extensively on morality, ethics, human pathos and spread this wisdom through verses known as Vemana Satakam or Vemana Padhyalu.
The current verse is another pearl of wisdom from him: Alpudepudu palkunadambaramuganu sajjanundu balku callaganu kancumroginatlu kanakambu mroguna visvadabhirama vinura Vema !
In this verse, Vemana talks about how an unintelligent person can fool others with his loud voice and grand plans. His words are extravagant, but they hold little water. However, a wise man speaks softly, without any drama. His words are few, yet the meaning and impact are profound.
He compares the words of an unwise speaker to a brass pot that makes a lot of noise when disturbed. At the same time, pure gold may appear similar to brass, but it makes no noise.
Breaking rules is generally considered as one of the traits of the ‘cool’ kids. The more disdain you show towards rules and authority, the cooler you are considered. Even in urban parlance, ‘goody two shoes’ is a term meant as an insult, and bad boy/girl attitude is adored.
When it was all fun and games, even I agreed with this concept. I saw people skip classes, flout rules, talkback, and just be all around unruly. I would laugh it off and thought it was fun.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted many weaknesses in human society. The general disdain for following rules is at the foremost. This attitude for rule-breaking and being rebellious was considered cool before the pandemic. However, the need of the hour is disciplined citizens who are what the world lacks the most today.
As a child, we were taught to patiently stand in a queue in school and wait our turn. I would scoff at it and break the line when no one was watching. But now, I see people doing it while standing in a queue to get vaccinated. It makes my blood boil.
When Mahatma Gandhi started the civil disobedience movement during the freedom struggle, everyone praised the idea for being a non-violent way of protesting against the rules laid by the British government. When I see people willfully not wearing masks, disregarding all the rules set down by the government for our safety, I do not see civil disobedience. I see anarchism.
Anarchy is a fun concept when everything is peaceful with no pandemic, calamity or impending danger. During difficult times, anarchy never helps. Discipline, working together and following the rules is the only way out of a difficult situation. I hope people recognise and snip the anarchical behaviour, at least now.
We recently celebrated Mothers Day on May 9th. I wanted to do something special for my mother on that day. Since we could not take her out for dinner or get her any gifts due to the Covid 19 situation, I thought I will give her a break and handle her workload for the day. I thought that was equivalent to a day off at a resort if she does not have to cook and clean all day. I was in for a surprise.
All through the day, my mother kept interfering with my work. She was not able to relax and enjoy her holiday. My mom was constantly following me around the house as I worked. She was not relaxing in front of the TV or pursuing any of her hobbies. I thought that she might be worried that I am not doing a good job.
When I asked her what she would like to eat, my mom listed stuff that dad or I enjoy eating. She would insist on cooking it herself as a thank you for doing the housework. I was confused and told her that this was her mothers day gift. She should not thank me for it. My mother and I ended up arguing about her reason for not relaxing and enjoying the holiday.
By the end of the day, I realized that the whole idea was causing damage rather than being a gift. I sat her down and asked her what her problem was. I see that she could not relax even for a day and would interfere at every step. I gently prodded to see if she did not appreciate the gift. The answer she gave me was an insight into how a mother thinks.
She said she did not want a holiday from the housework though she appears to complain about it. She said that she complains so that we would work along with her. She felt she has a connection and communication line with us while we do the work. She was following me around the house and interfering in the work, only to start a conversation with me. She had no particular favourites in her mind because all the foods that we, her children, love bring back memories of us as kids. Every time she cooked my favourite dish, she reminisced on an incident where I was happy. That made her happy.
A mother doesn’t want a holiday from her responsibilities. She just wants her children to connect back with her in a way we did when we were young. She wants to feel relevant in our lives, especially now that we have become independent. Knowing this, I asked her for a redo of the gift. I promised to help her in the kitchen whenever I can. That way, she can teach me recipes I already know. I would help her clean the house, and she can teach me the importance of cleanliness all over again. This would be the best gift I could think of.
The first lockdown due to the pandemic has been hard to adjust to. The second wave of coronavirus has reached a new high, and the second lockdown has been announced in many places. All the travel restrictions are back in place. Most tourist places and recreational centres are closed, and parties are a big no.
I might sound like I’m complaining. But I agree that these measures are needed to curb the spread of the virus. I am just worried about passing my time during this pandemic.
The last time, I revisited some of my old hobbies, like crocheting and gardening.
I also learnt how to cook. I made pasta with Alfredo sauce, baked a cake, among a couple of other recipes. I wasn’t very successful, but I got the basics of cooking right.
I guess this time around, I need to try my hand at drawing. That has been an art form that I am not good at. In my previous post, I promised to learn from my sister, who is good at it. Let’s hope I can manage it this time.