Each individual is unique and gifted in their own way. If you look close enough you will find things worth learning even from the people you dislike most or from people you think are far less smart than you.
With my husband forgetting his tupperware tiffins at office all the time I am constantly buying new. Recently I met an Aunty who lives a few blocks from our apartment building who works as a consultant with Tupperware. The first time I met her, honestly, I felt slight pity on her. She and her husband would be almost 60-65 year old and live in a good neighbourhood in a small 2 BHK. The living room is like an ordinary middle class living room, with 2 huge pictures that stand out – wedding pictures of 2 beautiful couples. I thought these must be her son or daughter’s pictures and that they must be living in other city or country and with her husband being retired she has to work with Tupperware to make some money. The next time I visited, I asked her if the pictures are of her sons or daughters and she proudly told me they are both her daughters. I don’t know why but the pride on her face and in her voice when she told me they are her daughters’ pics made me think a little better of her.
One time when she didn’t have an item that I wanted she offered to drop it to my home in a couple of day’s time. There is a big temple near my apartment building and she said she comes there very often so it would not be a problem for her. One day I received a Whatsapp message from her asking if I’ll be home that day. I was impressed… the simple lady I was feeling sorry for is not doing too badly with technology. She came around noon and as I offered her tea and biscuits she refused saying she hasn’t done her pooja so cannot eat anything. Yet, she didn’t seem to be in any hurry to leave.
She told me she walked down from her building to mine and this would mean she could skip her evening walk today if she wanted to. She asked if I am working somewhere without sounding the least bit intrusive. By the time she left it was almost time for me to go and pick up my daughter. I usually take an auto for both ways since I don’t drive but that day inspired by Aunty I thought I’ll walk. And I continued doing that till the winter session ended, all thanks to an old lady!
Having known each other for some time, we talked more with each visit and I got to know that she’s also a Reiki practitioner. She said she can teach it to me and my friends if I am interested. She then went on telling stories about how she helped her daughters do better at school and work by doing Reiki for them. I noticed the pride and glow on her face when she was talking about her skill. She even offered to do it for me for free…. I mean come on, I had only met her a few times that too as a customer and this simple woman who seemed so ordinary on face and is so talented and enterprising under her humble demeanour was willing to offer her services for nothing in return. I was touched, a little by her generosity and more by the way she’s living her life. When she offered I told her I am not keen on joining Tupperware because I feel it is a lot of effort for a little money and she agreed with me, adding that she was only doing it because this keeps her socially active and she gets to meet lot of nice people through this.
And there I was, so bored of my life as a SAHM and yet not willing to trade it for anything. Comparing my situation with Aunty I felt it was not too different from mine at least on weekdays. We both stay home and we both have limited social circle and nonexistent social life. What is different however is that she has made a great effort in keeping pace with society – be it with respect to technology or going a little out of her way to meet new people or to keeping herself busy constructively and making herself feel useful again. It was something I must learn from her. When someone from an older generation can be so enterprising why couldn’t I? When someone who on face value is much less educated and smart than I am, can make her life more exciting and find newer avenues to explore why should I feel sorry for sacrificing my career? She gave me a lot of food for thought and helped me bring some positive changes in my attitude and life.
I hope we all keep our eyes open for such positive people around us and learn whatever we can from them. It will only make our life more enriching.