While traveling in India in a cab from Delhi to Agra last spring, I asked the driver to switch on the AC as the sun’s heat warmed the roads and the car.‘Bardaasht karna seekho’, my mom snapped worried about the increased tariff we would have to pay for the using the air conditioner.So, the AC wasn’t switched on and just getting rid of my sweater made me comfortable.
But that bardaasht (tolerance) stuck in my mind. Aren’t tolerance and adjustment two of the most significant yarns that weave the fabric we are made of? Being born and raised in India means being exposed to the ground realities of life and learning to live with them. I believe that’s one of the things that make us the survivors.
We endure and we persist in testing situations.Isn’t that one of the reasons we are the most sought-after and the relied-upon workers. Our upbringing is why we have a lion’s heart in our lamb’s frames.We are the ones who rode our bicycles without helmets and knee pads and nursed our bruises and cuts ourselves,without the tetanus shots.We are the ones who sweated the hot July summer nights with no power and no breeze.We were always the walking feasts for mosquitoes and flies and did we get rashes and bumps-NO!!We were cohabitants with roaches and lizards and mice for a major part of our lives. We drank before water started to be bottled or milk started to be pasteurized.
We adjusted with passengers in the non-AC general compartment in stuffed trains.We devoured the imlis and raw mangoes shed from the neighborhood trees on the ground.We adjusted with sleeping in the midst of distant relatives in crowded wedding parties ;often sharing the blankets and pillows with them. We adjusted to the sweats and odors, not to forget that we didn’t have exhausts in the restrooms.
We take care of our dead until they leave for their final destination. We know that death and dead bodies are real and we can deal with it.We don’t ship our dead to funeral homes and have unknown people anoint them and even break their bones if needed to fit the casket.We hug and we mourn and we pray for them and not just dress up in our best creased suits to offer handshakes and eat the goodies.
We don’t plug their nostrils with cotton because someone at work is wearing a strong perfume. We don. Small work tensions cause them to pop sleeping pills at night.
The omnipresent sanitizers and the disinfectant wipes cannot uproot the virus /flu and the allergies, however hard they may try.The posturepedic mattresses and the ergonomic chairs don’t diminish the need for pain relievers and chiropractors.
Our tolerance goes a long way in making our relationships last and grow stronger. We don’t divorce the person we took vows with just because we can’t tolerate their snores and farts.We don’t bid goodbye just because he/she didn’t smile and honey me when I got home from work.
And the course of time, having lived in the pampered, protected environment for long is eroding the steel our guts are made of. Living in heated/cooled homes and offices, having our bottoms warmed up in heated car seats is taking a toll on that resistance and strength we once possessed.
I do love the comforts of life and I am thankful for them but I am glad I have experienced the tougher life that would sound strange and incomprehendable to many. I am lucky to have seen both the faces of the coin.
Every experience has some learning, some insight that contributes to the evolution of a person -YOU.