JOY OF DOING YOUR OWN WORK
A friend of mine who migrated to Australia some years ago sent me a family video. Having great reverence for the Blessed Mother, she had promised to build a grotto in the grounds of the house they desired to buy. So when they did indeed strike a good deal, she made good her promise.
Now, we all know that in a country like Australia, hired help comes at an astronomical price. So they were left with the option of doing it themselves. Having no expertise in the matter, they turned to a neighbour for help. He volunteered to do it himself since he had built his own grotto many years ago. And so my friend and her family learnt how to build their grotto from scratch, something they may never have learnt back here in India.
We Indians are a pampered lot, especially those who are privileged to have, at our beck and call, maids, masons, repairmen, in short, the semi-skilled Jack-of-all-trades, for a reasonably small price. It just doesn’t suit our personality to get down to doing the job ourselves. I recall admiring the sparkling clean car of my neighbour and congratulating him on a good job to which he replied with disdain, “Oh, I never clean my car. My driver does that. I don’t have the time.”
I learned to my dismay, some days ago, that my body gets arthritis when it comes to sweeping and swabbing, a chore my maid accomplishes with amazing ease. I get the sniffles after washing a sink of dirty dishes.
Oh, how dependent we are on those who are dependent on us! Later I found out that my husband does not know how to drill holes in the wall and I had to rely on Francis, our electric repairs expert to handle that seemingly simple chore for me.
For a stay-at-home mom of four, you would think I should know how to cook, sew, cut hair, but alas, we don’t do these things any longer in India, do we? We have cooks, barbers and designer shops at malls to pander to our every whim and fancy. When are we ever going to wake and and do it ourselves? I sure would like to see my man tote a machine drill for once or wield a sturdy saw. I should be whiling away my precious time learning how to make that perfect cake for my son’s birthday instead of ordering one from a reputed cake shop around the corner. And I ought to be pedalling away at a Fashion-maker instead of running down to Mustafa’s in Mapusa.
The other day I got myself a can of blackboard paint and cajoled my husband into painting us a blackboard on the wall for the kids. We all stood by cheering him on and, for the first time, I saw muscles ripple and satisfied smiles all around when it was done.
We really need to get back to doing our own chores in the home instead of depending on the experts or Jack-of-all-trades and letting them steal our bread from right under our noses.
The joy of seeing a job completed could sometimes surpass the ecstacy of Michaelangelo even it were to be an agony at first, I dare say. I, for one take great pride in driving around in the family van after my man has given it the shine of a lifetime. My daughter’s haircut may not be in vogue but its not so bad either; I promise to improve with time! The cake I baked today is a lot better than the one I baked last week; that one was rightly termed by my husband as a F-L-O-P.
And so my fellow Indians, wake up, shake off your lethargic lifestyles and get cracking. Just imagine what you would do if you migrated to America or Australia, and then ‘just do it”. (654 words)