“through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us. . ."

Thursday, October 28, 2010

‘All that we have, is all a gift’

K is home for a couple of weeks; his semester holidays. Typical of his age, K is conscious about his looks and concerned about the broadening hips. He goes to his old gym and pumps iron every evening and comes back home ravenously hungry. Dinner is yet to be decided; P is at some meeting and I – well – I am surfing! Usually P would be tired to cook dinner- and I don’t do the mundane items, see. Only the special dishes.

So what is it to be? Dosas with the dough leftover from the morning? I inspect the ‘fridge. Morning chutney is not enough. K says- ‘Acha, lets buy Onion Oothapams and Ghee Roasts from Laxmi Narayana. Amma would be too exhausted anyway.’ ‘Call her, will you, its getting late’, I ask him. Then K said, ‘Ha! Speaking of the Devil!’ And there she was, at the door pushing Sancho aside.

The Dinner issue came up soon. I supported K; I wanted to smoke a cigarette badly. I am always on the lookout for such excuses to go out of the house. Just as she was about to give in, P said ‘NO! We will make Dosas.’ ‘What is this Amma, I am sooo hungry, by the time Dosas are ready, I would’ve died from hunger!’ P looked solemn - and I told myself - oh yeah, here it comes.

‘Today in college, we were making out list of students for scholarships. You know something, there are so many students whose monthly average family income is less than 2000 rupees. Students who have scored above 80% marks. Rakesh, my M.Sc student, goes to his brother’s flower shop after classes and helps him make garlands. During the Sabarimala season, he can’t afford to come to college, because that’s the time they can make some real money. There are girls who work as part-time maids, do you know that, K? And here we are, spending a few hundreds with no qualms, for a measly dinner’.

K and I exchange glances. He says- ‘ OK, fine, if not eating Onion Oothappams tonight will help the students, so be it’. I resign myself to a smoke-less night.

As I prepare to make fresh chutney I gently tell P – ‘Feeling guilty isn’t going to help anyone. We might be splurging on a 150 rupees dinner, but there are surely people spending several thousands for a dinner. We cannot do much about the misery and sorrow of the world; we can only help them in whatever way we can. You have to accept that. We can be grateful and humble for whatever riches or happiness we have and never be conceited about it. We can remind ourselves not to be wasteful. But we cannot deny happiness to ourselves just because of the unfortunate millions. There is no point in feeling guilty of whatever transient fortune that we may have now’. K agrees.

The gingelly oil-roasted Dosas and my coconut chutney with tomato, green chilli, coriander leaves, garlic, ginger and shallots exude a divine aroma. We eat sitting close to each other. Sancho pushes in among our legs and takes a quick nap resting his head on P’s feet.

Bless us Oh Lord and these thy gifts which we are about to receive through thy bounty through Christ Our Lord, Amen!

Perhaps there is nothing more graceful of humanity than to express its gratitude for the bounties of nature. Let us partake of this life with all humility and happiness.

********* Balachandran V, Trivandrum 28.10.2010

See: http://psalm121.ca/praymeals.html



  1. Um saying 'grace' before meals. Age seems to be catching up?
    Though it is always good to be solemn and thankful of the very minute.
    I can see as in a video P's lecture about Dosas and Scholarships.

  2. @Anil: Getting older, getting wiser! :D

  3. A prayer of thanks !An awareness of all the gifts we receive from lord !

    Btw ,this onion uttapam looks scrumptious !

  4. Nice !!! Sometimes it is difficult to find compassionate people like your wife. As you said,helping them in the way we can is better than feeling miserable about them...

  5. How cruel you are!!

    The first thing I see this morning is the roasted yummylicious oothappam. Yet to have my breakfast!! :-|

    This dinner turned out be special than ordering it from a restaurant. Isnt it?

  6. Yesterdy I overheard my wife talking to her friend.Her friend works for Taj and was saying the lunch was only 800 plus taxes.

    Our housemaid gets 3000 rupees a month and her family survives on that.
    That is the way life goes and we cannot help it.Nothing good and beautiful will survive if we think the other way.We are entitled to life's simple joys,even if it costs.Good things in life are never cheap.And there is a price tag behind every thing in life.

  7. Mouthwatering pic! Though I don't know why I sometimes feel the way P does; guilty after I splurge on something. I don't know how does my wasting food does injustice to anyone who is starving, but I always make it a point not to, just because of that

  8. Nothing like having a nice and cozy dinner with loved ones. But, it's always nice to indulge once a while - little pleasures of life!

    We should indeed be thankful for what we have. And be able to reach out to the lesser fortunate in whatever way is possible within our means.

  9. @Kavitha: We take life for granted, don't we? But how better life is, when we are aware, even of the mundane matters! I drooled over the Oothappam for a long time before posting! :D

    @Elizabeth: There are many of our kind; if only we all could get together!

    @Insignia: I like the 'Neerdosa' even more! Yes, it is good to be among the loved ones!

    @ Doc: Let us look at life - and laugh at it!

    @Arun: i read somewhere that with every mouthful of food that we shove into our mouths, somebody else in the world is going hungry...

    @RGB: You said it. Little pleasures of life! Let's hang on to them!

  10. Now you mention 'Neerdosa'


  11. Err.. okay, I know I am late, but I have a different point of view.

    Wouldn't spending the 150 Rs on that day have helped the fellow at the restaurant? (You're not going to a star hotel for dosas, nor are you going to have a dinner out everynight). I think dinner outside once in a while helps people running those small hotels or thattukadas. Aren't they similar to Rakesh (of the garland business)?

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