Thursday, February 21, 2013

whence joy comes

It was a sunny day yesterday, but not too warm. In fact, it was perfect weather for a walk, but inertia is hard to overcome so I dawdled and dawdled till I could tell myself that tomorrow was as good a day as any to begin acting upon my resolution to walk every day. Then my son called up from his room (yes,he did!) to ask whether I could text him the grocer's telephone number so that he could call for bread to be delivered. True, a floor separated us. I was in the backyard, half heartedly raking the compost khamba, he was in his room on the first floor. That he'd rather call than climb DOWN the stairs was just the wake up call I needed. 

A little persuasion later, we locked up the house and began walking at a leisurely pace towards the nearest market. We live in a gated neighbourhood, with more greens than most places in the city. Almost every house has a green patch in front with a madhumalti climbing the edge of the facade, and many, many houses have a profusion of pansies, petunias, salvia and numerous other seasonal flowers at this time of the year. There was barely any vehicular traffic at that time so we walked mostly undisturbed by honking horns. Birds chirped and twittered. 

My son began recounting the discussion he had had the previous day with a couple of his friends on woman empowerment. Our  conversation veered round to the low proportion of women in the field of scientific research, and then to  mathematics. He spoke to me of the amazing work done by Srinivasa Ramanujan, the strange and inspiring life of Paul Erdos, the perfection of mathematics, the spell it casts upon a student who is in earnest. Before we knew it, we had reached the market. 

Shopping done, I asked him to wait while I popped over to the store which stocks organic vegetables, fruits, groceries etc. and whose proprietor is a gentle soul I like greeting whenever I can. 

Naturally enough, when we walked back home, my son and I talked about organic farming, whether vegan diets were a fad, animal rights etc etc. I am so glad you have  reverted to chemical detergent powder, he said. I know you are a caring parent, but the organic detergent is a crazy idea, Mom. Why didn't you tell me, I asked. He just smiled, and I knew he hadn't wanted to hurt me! I, in turn, tactically concealed from him the fact that I had run out of organic detergent, not switched loyalties.

 Back home, he leaned against the kitchen shelf while I squeezed kinnow juice for the two of us. We talked some more, and then he carried his beer mug full of luscious juice back to his room and I returned to the book I had begun reading in the morning in preparation for a Book Club meeting.

What an enormous amount of joy I had experienced in these two hours! I said a silent prayer of gratitude to whoever it is who arranges matters sometimes to give us such joy ----- simple, pure, loving.

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