As I was cleaning up my folder of photos, I stumbled upon a set of photographs from a few years back. They brought back fond memories of 2 pups in my neighbourhood. They were the most mischievous pups but had the most adorable face, as is the case with all puppies.
The pups were barely a few months old at the time when my aunt had to step out on some urgent work. These two pups had been veritable angels until then, so my aunt left them out in the yard to play while she finished her work. This decision proved to be her mistake.
My aunt took two hours to finish her work and return home. The pups utilised this window of opportunity to explore the lotus pond and redecorate the yard. This is what greeted her when she returned; two energetic pups who proudly displayed their creativity.
My aunt was shocked beyond words that her angels could come up with such mischief. She had to tie them up to the gate and use the water hose to wash away all the mud and dirt. While my aunt was fussing over how to clean them and the yard, we kids had a laugh taking pictures of the dogs and their antics.
It is a memory of a fun day that brings a smile to us all.
When we are young, we just can’t wait to grow up. I used to scan through my mother’s cupboard and admire her collection of sarees. My sister used to try out my aunt’s high-heel sandals. She even sprained her ankle once while walking in them. Sometimes we imitated the behaviour of grown-ups during role play.
Today, after leaving childhood far behind, I miss those days. My cousins and I reminisce about those wonderful times and unforgettable anecdotes with great pleasure. It is ironic that when we were actually going through those early years we never paid attention to the present, our sights were set on the future. We never thought that we would miss those times. Future seemed rosier than the present.
Childhood is the age of innocence. We laughed and smiled as easily as we cried and threw tantrums. Bitterness was forgotten as soon as we saw something sweet. Even a false compliment took us sky high and perched our spirit on the treetop. If we had friends to play with and treats to fill our pockets with, then we were rich. Back then, we felt quite powerless and looked up to the older folk and envied their authority.
With age came understanding. My company of friends is now filled with wise-brained adults. Something as simple as a smile can be interpreted in numerous ways, depending on the facts and circumstances. We seldom cry, at least not as often as in childhood. Compliments are dissected to see what’s behind the words. False compliments are now called ‘flattery’. We exercise authority over the children in our house yet we envy their carefree life. This is the irony of life.
The age of innocence was filled with curiosity about every aspect of being an adult. Our heads were filled with “Why?, How? When?”. As all queries met their answers, curiosity died. Life turned into one big chore. Today, excitement is not a feeling we experience often. For this, we were desperate to grow up!
Now as our legs are racing to the future, our heads turn back to see what we are leaving behind. The heart still longs for that beautiful world of innocence. Now we try to bring back to life the little child inside us that we left ignored for decades. This is the greatest irony of life.
Martin Luther King Jr once said, ” if I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way”. This inspirational quote literally means that great things need not always be a convoluted plot or an elaborate task. Doing everyday small deeds of kindness could also amount up to greatness. There are many examples of highly celebrated philanthropists. However, today I will speak of a lesser known lady, whose greatness even moved King Edward VII of Great Britain.
Dokka Seethamma was born in the mid-1800s and lived her life during the British colonial rule. She was born into an ordinary family in Andhra Pradesh but married a rich farmer. Her greatness lies in the simple life she leads while doing great service to the poor and the lonely. She is known for her extreme generosity at serving food to everyone. She made it her life goal to feed any and every traveller, poor and homeless person that she encountered. Any time if the day or night, if anyone asked for food, she was ready to serve. She and her husband Dokka Joganna spent their life’s earning to ‘annadanam’ for the needy and the poor. Her name and fame spread far as ‘Apara Annapurna’. The title is representative of her role as someone who feeds the hungry.
When King Edward VII heard about this great lady, he sent her an invite to come for his birthday celebrations. When the chief secretary of Madras presidency went to invite her, she politely declines. She said that her goal was only to feed the hungry and not the gather fame or publicity. The king was moved by her ideas and placed an honorary seat with her photograph at his table.
Srimati Dokka Seethamma, with a simple deed of feeding the hungry, has achieved the greatness that few can dream of. She has proved to us that however small a deed may appear, when we do it wholeheartedly with good intentions, only greatness results from it.