A “Home Connect” Essay by Medhika:
“If all of us just look around and help those who are less fortunate than us, the world will indeed be a much better place. If everyone lit just one little candle, what a bright world it would be!”
The Home is located in Patna, capital of the State of Bihar in India. The Writer is Medhika.
Her expectation from a ‘smart city’ is – “The day waste is separated and collected from each house and disposed off accordingly is the day a city comes close to becoming a Smart City. “
Read the story of Medhika’s home here…
Every House Tells A Story & This Is The Story Of My House
Long before I was born, my house stood tall next to a taller mango tree. My first lessons in history involved hearing in utter disbelief how when the first telephone in our colony was installed at our house, our neighbors had to be given actual time slots to come and attend calls. Today, when there is a cellphone in every person’s hand and landlines have become almost redundant, 1968 seems like the medieval ages. From those 4-digit landline numbers to our current 10 digit mobile numbers, technology has made huge inroads in our lives.
My first botany lessons have been the observation of trees from my bedroom window. Summer is just round the corner when the mango tree becomes heavy with ‘manjar’. The appearance of those gorgeous green colored flowers is a promise that the days of eating sweet, sweet maldah are coming soon. Summer arrives finally when the trees start jostling for attention, some with their colors, some with their fruits.
Dogs, cats, birds and fish have always been an integral part of my home and observing them has enriched my mind manifold. Cats eat fish becomes easier to remember when studying food chains when the memory of a stray cat trying to eat a fish from my aquarium comes flashing before my eyes. Also, I now know that the phrase a dog is a man’s best friend is not just a phrase. Whiskey, a one year old Lab has the power of making my Dad all happy and excited at the end of a long, tiring day and that is something I need to learn from this little energy monster.
Last year, we bid adieu to Snoopy, a wily spitz who having lived for 17 human years passed away peacefully in her sleep. She was the daughter my Chachi (aunt) never had. Like the rest of the kids in the house, even Snoopy was force fed almonds to improve her memory, she was given new sweaters every winter and on Tuesdays even she was abstained from eating non-vegetarian food! We often joked that Snoopy was the luckiest as she had no pressure to clear Board exams, no pressure to get a job, etc. All she had to do was just follow some house rules. But even Snoopy did not fail in teaching us something valuable over the years. She would start barking like crazy if ever in her presence we would raise our voices, she would bark and start running around if ever she heard our parents arguing or just getting angry at something. It was her way of telling us that arguments can be sorted out calmly and getting loud was futile.
I learnt my first lessons in Event Management from just being present at home during Chhath. My grandma, being a devout Hindu, took upon herself the arduous task of observing not only the Kartik(the one during October-November) but also the lesser known Chaiti (around April) Chhath which resulted in us hosting something akin to a wedding party in our house for 4 days, twice a year.
Relatives, friends and neighbors not only had to be greeted and fed the day’s Prasad but also had to be given packed dabbas for those of their family who couldn’t make it to our house. Managing almost a hundred people each day in the house for four consecutive days while following strict rules of purity, cleanliness and ensuring guest satisfaction is a project waiting to be discovered by B-School students!
My family has its fair share of political supporters of the BJP, the Congress as well as the other regional parties. There have been countless dinners when one minute we are discussing how good is the mutton chop and the next moment it’s a heated debate on how Modi is the God we never had. Yet ofcourse, these discussions have remained discussions. No killings, stabbings or banning the person from entering the living room if you don’t agree with my view. Tolerance and respect for each person’s view is something that has been indoctrinated in my DNA. Living in a large joint family teaches you a lot more about acceptance than any textbook can ever teach.
My grandma, being the poster child for an adarsh Hindu woman, does not eat garlic, onions, etc. And she is the head of my family. But it does not mean she stops us from eating the same. My mother is famous for her butter chicken and chicken biryani and it should be a lesson for some heads of state to learn from. You don’t like eating something does not mean that you simply ban that food from being produced or consumed in your state.
Lessons in being secular, check.
Example of a matriarchal family, check.
A love for the movies, is something that I share in common with most members of my family. We make elaborate plans to go and watch even the crappiest of films together and then later over dinner shred it to bits. Group activities to foster togetherness in a community, double check. Lastly, but not remotely the least, it was almost twenty-five years ago, that we had taken in a family of a young electrician who used to come to work in our house. He lived in a nearby village but wanted his daughters to attend school in Patna. We gave them a few rooms to live in our building and today both his daughters are enrolled at Patna University, pursuing their Degrees in Commerce. Not giving out that space for rent and instead giving it to this family has perhaps changed the course of their lives, altered their destinies. The kids are well educated and today see the world the same way that I see it. A small step by my father has been a giant leap for this family.
If all of us just look around and help those who are less fortunate than us, the world will indeed be a much better place.
As the famous song goes,
if everyone lit just one little candle,
What a bright world it would be!