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Monday, 30 July 2012

Your shoes or mine?

It has been raining incessantly since yesterday and the first thought that comes into my mind..hmmm what will happen to my shoes when I go to work come Monday morning? A very relevant question considering it feels like the city will drown today!
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Dealing with water shortage problems and economising on it, made me think what happens to those families who live on the intersection on my way to work? Everyday I see them living their lives, right there in the middle of one of the busiest intersections, caring nothing about the cars which probably could squash the tiny babies running around. Its fascinating and sad and so real to watch them as they watch us. Whose defying whom?

We live our lives complaining and assessing what we have and we don't. We say we empathise with others but do we really? Can one really know what the others shoe fits like? At times I think we don't dwell enough on what the other person is going through, for fear of actually spiralling into depression, or feeling guilt at either the fact that we have a lot to be thankful for, or that we should be ashamed for having more than what the other has. Its a form of condescension really. Hmmming...and hawing...and saying “well ah..what can you do” is our way of moving on and not carrying the baggage forward. Makes sense in a convoluted way to be honest. We cannot give all and force the shoe to fit just so we blend in with all that is sad and morose in the world. That solves nothing.

Watching people interact with MG and seeing how she responds to them made me feel that she's proper scatty, but getting to know her more made me realise she has been going through some tough times which is making her be a bit spaced out. Now its easy to brand her to be slightly odd, but then again does one even bother to find out why? Surely a qualified, young woman would have some reason to be spaced out, some pain she is hiding, but who would really care to find it out?

Aunty and I went to watch this movie over the weekend about a father going lengths to send his son to cricket camp. Now there were some scenes in it that I found too sappy and over the top, but Aunty being a mother herself said that parents do often go lengths to make their children happy, and are so helpless when they cannot fulfil an honest wish of their child. The regret and pain they feel is heart breaking. Not being a parent myself, I tried to think how my parents have unbelievably massive shoes and how far they have walked and still walk to fulfil my wishes. The fact of the matter is I am not even aware of what they've gone through because it has never been impressed upon me. Alhamdullillah, we are fortunate to not to have to step into so many shoes to understand things because we have been blessed not to see the ugly side of so many things.
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From pretty little booties to some tough shoes, we have had to change a few pairs in order to fall, get up and walk again. Baby steps. It is not possible to see things the way pained people see things, no matter how much we try to understand it, but it is possible to learn from it.

Ibrat” is an arabic word, meaning “to be inspired to learn”. The less fortunate, suffering of others, hard times we see ought to teach us, give us Ibrat to appreciate what we have and take for-granted. We have been blessed with so much, mostly the ability to wake up each day and appreciate things, which we more often that not don't do. Each one of us an individuals has so much to be thankful for, that the gratitude should be boundless. We as evolutionary apes are never satiated, which makes us explore and reach for more. That said, no matter how much we have, we will never deem it enough, which will always make us restless and impatient. Giving credit to our natural make up, the only way we could probably survive and be happy would be to look at those who do not have as much as we do and to preserve what we have. There is no harm in wanting and yearning for more, as long as we don't forget what we have in hand.

Makes me remember back in university when I was volunteering with this NGO for teaching under privileged children. There was this one kid, very bright, very intelligent but with a short attention span. I was trying to teach the class about word association and he just wouldn't get it. Turns out he didn't know what a bed was, as he'd never slept in one. I cannot fathom what that kind of depravation feels like.

Further to my previous blog about baggage, there are some thoughts, people, things that need to be left behind in order to move without the weight of the ball and chain, but sifting through all the trash there are some thoughts and people we ought to carry forward to keep us grounded and humane. A mental picture, if we must.

As much as I want to, I cannot move the family at the intersection or adopt the kids to give them a better life, but I will surely try to implement what I read ages ago-

"I cried because I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet."

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