The joy from burdens

Jayanta Madhav

For all one’s good intentions, efforts put in and hardships endured in fulfilling one’s  concerns  and responsibilities to others – parents, relatives and dependents  there  may , at times, come  a point when the  anxieties and botherations of carrying off those commitments  might  become  so telling  as to leave one wishing  if  he too were so fortunate as those who he believes  are not ordained with such burdens as the ones he is saddled  with !!  Not one to have come from a background that was well – off , I too had had my fair share of such liabilities during my early years at job, but the one thing I would take heart from when under the strains of such middle class realities were the words that fell from a friend of mine some years ago :

One day back in 1984 during my final year in AEC, a senior hostel mate of mine who had passed out the same year and lately landed a job  had come to visit the hostel. From the umpteen times we had chit-chatted over our past hostel years together I indeed knew him to be one from a well-heeled family that boasted quite an affluence over the time.  As we chatted leisurely, I just asked him casually as to how he had spent the first salary of his life  ! Much as I gave no heed to what he replied then,  in  retrospect more than thirty years since and having seen through my own as well as many others’ lives over the years, the tenor of  those crisp words of my friend  seems to be resonating so well now :

Coming home the day I received my first salary”, he had said, “I held out a part of it to my mother eagerly hoping to meet some of her household expenses.  But to my dismay not only did my parents just refuse to accept it , they told me near to pooh-poohing that for all what they had , I need bother nothing about running the household and I could very well spend my money in whatever way I liked”. On my cheering him up saying it was rather fine that he could  enjoy with his money in entirety , all that he had said with a tinge of a wry dejection was : “True, but what worth that money or the enjoyment from it if that be of no use to anyone – least of all my parents ? ”

In hindsight, could it be that it was his perception of the denial of the little happiness that he would derive in sharing some of his parents’ liabilities that had lain hidden in those somber words of my friend ?  Truly, the contentedness that comes from dividing what one has  and in effect – from carrying out one’s burdens is ever so fulfilling that those who are not in any way obliged or privileged to give to others what they have rather miss out on the bliss and happiness that come from sharing and caring .

On attaining happiness , Mark Twain had said : “To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide it with” ! A life without obligation is without the joy it brings and perhaps therefore , one without a purpose ; as  in the words of Winston Churchill, “We make a living by what we get ; We make a life by what we give”  !!

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