One day, Mai (Grandma) and I were at home busy cleaning the house and one of the vegetable vendors came home. She asked Mai for some money and explained that she would return it shortly. She already owed Mai money and I was wondering what would happen next.
Mai asked her if she managed to sell the previous inventory and she replied, “Mother, I need to buy new stock and my money is stuck in the inventory.”
Mai replied, “Don’t worry” and I asked her in Konkani, “What are you doing?”
She replied, “You wouldn’t understand and you should stay quiet for now. I will explain later.” The vendor took the money and departed. I was not satisfied with Mai’s response and told her that she hardly had any money in the cupboard and she was willing to give from the little money that she had available for the month.
She changed the subject and instead said, “Do you want to eat Bombil (Bombay duck) for lunch?”
I jumped in excitement and said, “Curry and fried.”
She said, “Let’s go and buy some fish from the market.”
We finished our shopping and on our way back home, I held her hand and asked her, “Please explain why you gave the money earlier.”
She said, “Let’s prepare lunch and I promise, I will explain to you.” An hour had passed and lunch was ready. We sat down on the floor and she served me lunch. Then, she took her plate and explained, “Once upon a time, I only had kanji (rice with water) accompanied either with dried fish or chutney. Look at your plate today and we have rice, vegetable, fish curry and fried fish”.
I told her that we hardly had any money in the home and I was only 14 years and still had a few years before I could start contributing financially in the house.
Then, she paused and said that during her days of struggle others had helped her and so, she was able to move ahead in life. She said that God had been kind to her and always sent angels to help her along the way. Now, she was in a better position to help others.
She said to me that the example she shared earlier about the variety in food showed me the range we have in life and that it couldn’t get any worse. Finally, she added that we should learn to share because that’s how we would progress as a society. It’s a blessing to share with those who are in need. While some need money, there are a lot out there who just need our time and love.
Please share with your families and friends