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The Joy of Giving

I have a friend, Nidhi, who lives, like I do, in a combined family, several branches and generations of a family living under one roof.  Her husband Samir is the eldest son of the family.  Nidhi is a housewife, while her husband's younger brother's wife is a manager.  The second couple have two incomes and live very well, have a very good car etc., while Nidhi's husband is the sole earner of their unit.  Nidhi is irked, however, by the fact that her husband Samir pays the lion's share of the household bills on the grounds that he is the elder brother and has a responsibility to take care of the family.  She has argued with with him repeatedly over this.  The final straw came just a week ago.  Samir came home a bag of samosas for his family to eat.  These are delicious pastries filled with potato curry, excellent with hot tea.  Before he distributed the snacks to his own family, he gave some to his elderly mother (naturally) and then insisted on walking into his brother's room and offering samosas to every member of his family.  The result was that there were just two samosas left when he gave the bag to Nidhi.  For him, Nidhi and their two children.

"We can share them," he said, somewhat sheepishly.  "Didn't realize we'd need so many."  Nidhi just turned her eyes heavenwards.  What was the point in arguing?  It was useless to argue with Samir.  He's too kind to argue with.  Moreover, Nidhi knew that if she told Samir that his brother's wife had made a big plateful of pakodas which she had shared with the elderly mother but not Nidhi and her two children, Samir would accuse her of being immature, selfish  and comparing herself with others.

"There is no joy in giving to people who have so much already, especially when one is left short by it," she told me afterwards."

A few days later, Nidhi found a sadhu (holy beggar) at the gate, begging for some cloth to keep him warm in the cold weather.  The sadhu was thin, dark and bony,  His matted hair hung down his body.  He wore a loin cloth and a jute sack around his bare back.  Her heart went out to him.  She went inside the house and took out a long, woollen shawl sometimes worn by Samir.  Knowing well that Samir had other shawls, she gave the shawl to the old sadhu, who put it on immediately.  It warmed her heart to see him happy. Nidhi felt great joy in her heart to give something useful to this creature in need.

She thanked God for showing her the joy of giving.  But she is adamant about one thing.

"Next time Samir comes home with something to eat, I'll take the bag from his hand at the door and tell him to sit down and leave the distribution to me," she told me.  "I'll serve my family first and whatever is left, I'll share with the others."

She's absolutely right, of course!

This is the weekly post for my blogging group, the Loose Blogging Consortium.  We post weekly (usually simultaneously) on a given topic and visit each other to see the different takes we have on the same topic.  We are, in alphabetical order, Conrad, Delirious, Rummuser,  Grannymar, Magpie, Maria SF, ocdwriter, Padmum, Paul, Rohit and Will.  If you have time, please visit my friends too.
This topic 'The Joy of Giving' was suggested by Rohit.


Comments

  1. This is the common feature of living in a joint family. My father-in-law was like that--distributing everything even before he reached home.

    We tend to think that we are well off only because of his generosity and the good karma that he created.

    My mother cooked and served food to hundreds of people..never asked who they were, what cast, creed or religion. She also helped many with their medical problems, going with ill friends to hospitals and taking care of them. People still remember her cooking and her caring.

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  2. Yes, some are much better at distribution. This is true of societies as well as individuals. As you say, it often goes to those without true need.

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  3. Sharing is lovely, but above all, sharing should be practical. If someone ignores the need of his or her dependents in order to look good in the eyes of others it is definitely time to get one's priorities in order.

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  4. I have only read a few of the Friday Theme, but it is so interesting to see the "stories around giving" and also of the "taking"

    We can learn so much from one another's culture and family way of life - thanks

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  5. Hi Maria,

    Great theme! Joy of giving- it's a wonderful feeling, don't you agree?

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  6. Oh this made me smile....

    It is so hard to constantly swallow disrespectful, thoughtless behavior. Usually when faced with someone in lesser straits, our hearts are replenished. So hard as a Christian to constantly turn that other cheek; I love samosas and would be hard-pressed to think charitable notions toward those who ill deserved them. I think to the parable about the talents. Sometimes we're put into moments when a little managing is a good thing.

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  7. Ah, family politics! How many homes in India face exactly the same situations! There is only one solution and that is getting to be the most popular one too in all the big cities of India. Go to nuclear family situations.

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