I cannot stop thinking about gratitude since morning. The husband and I went for a walk this morning, and we saw an extremely feeble puppy who couldn’t even walk in a straight line. All its bones protruded and the skin stuck to them making dents and folds where there was no flesh. So we got a packet of biscuits, but by then the puppy had hobbled away. Although we found it and threw some biscuits in its directions, I think it didn’t have instinct to even eat for survival because of all the neglect it has suffered from. It seemed like its brain just wasn’t registering anything. And then we didn’t want to take a chance because by then it looked like its mama had arrived and she seemed suspicious of us. So we walked back and came across a decrepit old man. We just handed him a few rupees and the pack of biscuits, and he just started crying. At that moment, I didn’t know how to react so I walked away. But I couldn’t get him out of my mind and spent the entire day in melancholy.
I just couldn’t get over the fact that he was so deeply touched by something so trivial as getting a pack of biscuits. It was clear that it had been a while since anyone even noticed him. And that’s when I started feeling guilty for how I take abundance for granted. I had ordered a big batch of alcohol for a party in the morning, and it struck me that I had barely even thought twice before paying the amount. See, it wasn’t that large considering how expensive it would have been to treat people in a pub. But even then, neither of us had even bothered to ask the alcohol shop for the exact amount when we had called to place the order. The stark difference between this casualness towards spending, and one decrepit man’s gratitude for a few rupees in change left me feeling very helpless and also naive. Because honestly, what change am I really going to bring about? None! All I am comfortable doing is these small, insignificant acts from a cushy place. So this melancholy is really a useless feeling. All it probably does is help me validate to myself that on some level I am a good person.
That’s when I thought for probably the 100th time this month that I need to practice gratitude more deliberately. I need to find some time just to deliberately think of all things in life and be grateful for them. There is so much that I just callously assume. I recently changed my job. And all I did was party about how I had finally gotten out of a horrible workplace. In retrospect, it’s nothing in the larger scheme of things. But it wouldn’t have hurt to be more grateful for finding an exit route.
I did think about gratitude a number of times this month, but it was more as an afterthought rather than a deliberate practice. I heard stories of horrible mothers-in-law and how they treated their economically independent and capable daughters-in-law, with so much entitlement. And I was grateful that I didn’t feel like them a single day in my married life. The gratitude was also followed by guilt that I had something that others didn’t just by default. I just got damn lucky.
In any case, I think we all need more gratitude in our lives, to help us let go of unpleasant things, if nothing else. So here’s my list of what I felt grateful for recently.
- The timings of my new office. I really like morning shifts
- The fact that the bus picks me up from less than half a km from my home
- That I get excellent filter coffee just across the street
- That the new flat we rented is at a wonderful location with proximity to just about everything: breakfast places, fruits & veg vendors, beauty parlors, yoga classes, parks, random small stores
- I’m home by 5:30
- My cook who comes in at 6 am and ensures I get to take fresh lunch to work everyday
- Some of my favorite people are within 3 kms from the new place
- I am no longer dependent on the husband for taking me to places for routine chores. Everything I need can be found at a walkable distance
- The several kilos of cherries I was able to eat this season thanks to a fruit shop that sold it at an incredibly reasonable price
- I can finally get home delivery for alcohol
There are so so many things I have missed out and are far more important than just comfort, but its only this comfort from small things that led me to think about gratitude today.