Healthy and Wise
by Lakshmi Menon
I woke up at six-thirty when the alarm sounded. Usually by seven my servant maid Jayamma comes for work. It was seven-thirty and still there was no sign of her.
When the bell rang I rushed to open the door for Jayamma. It was not Jayamma, but her little daughter with a message - "Amma is down with flu and needs five days leave." Five days! How could I manage without Jayammma for five long days? Something like a current passed through my mind. Since she is sick I have no choice and have to grant her leave. Now I only hope that her child also does not get flu from her. Otherwise, I'm sure she will have to take leave for another week.
The dirty utensils in the kitchen sink were winking wickedly at me. I walked slowly and painfully to the sink. Somehow, I washed the vessels and came out of the kitchen. After breakfast, I couldn't tolerate the sight of a set of more dirty dishes, floating in the sink.
When the clock struck eight I sent my husband to the office and then my children to school. With a great relief, I closed the door and came in. Then I noticed the unswept floor. Painfully, I took the broom and swept the floor, ignoring the sparkling nail polish on my long fingers.
I took the half-read novel Danielle Steel's "Daddy" in hand and sat on the sofa, with the fond hope of completing it. Suddenly, I remembered the dirty clothes lying in the bathroom. If I don't wash them today, by tomorrow they will pile up. Praying for Jayamma's quick recovery, I slowly entered the bathroom and bubbled up the soap.
When I saw the sparkling plates and the clean clothes, a strange feeling of joy and peace came into my mind and I added a new lesson to my knowledge bank: Every act is of equal importance and every moment can be well spent.
After dinner, I feel extraordinarily happy today. What is making me so happy? Is it my husband's sweet words or my children's appreciation for the work that I have done?
Or my self-satisfaction of not idling away my time, and making use of my energy in a better way?
Whatever it may be, while going to bed unusually early, with a determination to get up early the next morning, now I am not afraid to welcome the next day without the help of Jayamma.
I remember the words of one of my teachers from my school days. "To sleep several hours before midnight at the time when sleep is most refreshing and needed and rising up early next morning in good health and spirits to welcome the hard labours and struggles of the next day, is really a great thing."