my thoughts expressed in words

perception of ‘Sukh’

on October 13, 2011

The other day i happened to visit a friend’s place for ‘haldi kumkum ‘ during navratri. Right from the main door, the house was all decked up with decorative materials and beautiful rangoli. All illuminated was the hall and she came and ushered me into her puja room. It was  beautifully lit and decorated. The gauri idol, was adorned with lots and lots of flowers, and SHE was decked from neck to bottom with chains, long and short, necklaces of different designs. In a huge table the idol was set, and there were other dieties too who shared the dias.

I was offered a seat, but before taking the seat, i finished my prayers by applying, haldi and kumkum to the idol of gauri, closed my eyes and prayed for the welfare of the world and also to keep my friend and her family happy and prosperous.

When i took a seat, my friend’s aunty came with a plate filled with vada pav and chutney. I politely refused to consume it and said i wanted to leave early. But they were not ready to let me go without eating anything. so i was served a bowl of ‘rasmalai’  (garnished with guilt by me  as i was dieitng )which i gulped down!

My friend came with a huge plate   with four or five different types of fruits in it, a blouse piece, a coconut, some rice with a supari in a packet, haldi, kumkum, flowers… (hope i havent missed anything). She applied haldi kumkum for me and i recieved the plate from her. The conversation drifted to maid servants and cooks.  But my friend who depends on her for the full preaparations of khana, was ‘ disabled’ i  should say without  her. She also conveyed that she had one more maid for the rest of the household chores and she too was on leave for the last four days. Narrating elaborately how she had to do everything from early morning on that particular day, how she had fed seven ‘suvasinis’ and seven ‘brahmans’ and how well the durga pooja was done, she concluded it by saying,

“Sukh naam khi chees hai nai meri zindagi mein’… which means there is no happiness in my life…..

I was taken back.. but since i was getting delayed, i bade farewell to her and came down to my place and all through was contemplating, what is the yardstick of ‘sukh’…..Is it just the maids attendance, or your driver saluting you when you enter the car, or the security wishing you good morning, or people praising what an expensive momento you have given  with the haldi kumkum (BTW, the plate did bear the price sticker Rs.329/- like the last year’s gift which bore 425/-). Doing a durgashtami pooja, feeding the brahmans, suvasinis, were not taken into the ‘sukh’ account…Unfortuantely, the whole celebration has become a show off of your capabilities to spend. The importance of haldi and kumkum has taken a back seat, the chance to get together with people, feel good about the occasion, do puja and prayers to the devis all has been superceded by the ‘gift’

At the same time, i was reminded about another friend, who had bought tiffin boxes and water bottles, as gifts for guests  on the occasion of  her daughter’s wedding and had slid a slip inside the packet saying, PLEASE DONATE THIS TO ANY NEEDY PERSON WHOM YOU KNOW…..

That’s ‘SUKH’ isn’t it???

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