By Life Positive
I had gone to Boisar, a small town on the outskirts of Mumbai, to meet my wife’s aunt. It was there that I met a wonderful woman, Meerabai, the most gracious, noble and happy person I have ever met. Meerabai is very enthusiastic, playful, hardworking, caring and loving. She is energetic in all her activities, and extremely eager to serve everyone around. She is all of 82 years.
At her age Meerabai is in perfect health and does not require any medicines or medical assistance whatsoever. She has 10 children. “All the deliveries were normal and carried out at home,” she said, adding, “In any case, I cannot afford the medicines or fees of any doctor or hospital. I have never been to a doctor, or had even one injection or medicine in my life.”
In addition to working as part-time helper to my wife’s aunt, Meerabai also works for a couple in the same building. She cleans the house and all the utensils. She is paid INR 1,500 for the job. The job can perhaps be finished within less than an hour; however, Meerabai spends almost the whole day in their house. Explaining her long hours, she says, “The house owner calls me Aai (mother). They also ask me to do many other jobs in the house like cooking and looking after their two-year-old child. He too calls me Aai, so he is my son, isn’t it? How can I refuse any job given by my son?”
I said, “But they do not pay you for all that extra work.” To this she replied “I cannot even think of asking for more money from my son. They are my children, my family. It is always a pleasure to serve your own family, isn’t it?” She arrives at their house at nine in the morning and leaves only by four in the evening.
“Where do you stay?” I asked her. She replied, “I stay in a small village about seven kms from Boisar. It is a very remote place compared to Boisar. I come by a share auto. I have to pay `7/- each way for the auto.”
“That means you are spending about `420/- per month out of your pay of `1500 and that leaves only about `1080/- for you. How do you manage?” I asked her.
“I also work for your aunty and she pays me well,” she replied, adding, “Do not forget the most important thing is that I have a job! And I need the job as I have to support not only myself but also one of my sons who is paralyzed and is bed ridden after a fall from a coconut tree. I am enjoying my job as I am serving my children.”
“I am so lucky, I have a job. In these difficult days how many persons of my age even have a job? There are millions out there who do not have a job,” she said simply.
“But how can you manage with this meagre amount?” I asked.
“God has been very kind. We manage to get one meal a day. That keeps us going every day. Nature is kind to us. Our bodies get used to whichever way we train it. Thus I am very content having a meal a day,” she replied.
In the meantime she saw my wife’s aunt clean her spectacles. At this Meerabai watched her closely and said with a smile, “She has spoilt her eyes watching too much television. She spends long hours watching the TV instead of praying to God.”
Then she added, “I must leave now as I have to go home, and do the cooking. But before that I have to go out and collect some fire wood for the cooking. You see, I do not have gas or kerosene. So I have to depend upon fallen tree branches or twigs. In the old days there were plenty of trees and woods. But with so many buildings coming up, very little forest cover and trees are left. So that makes my search even more difficult. Sometimes, I have to walk a lot to get enough wood for cooking. But God is great, and I have managed all these years and I am sure that I will manage by the grace of God.”
“God bless you, my son,” she said before leaving. “Love whatever you are doing and be grateful to God for everything in life. That is the only way to live. At my age almost all the people are like my children. God has given me this long life. So it is my duty to serve as many people as I can.
Just five minutes of conversation with this simple lady gave me a wonderful insight into life and showed me the way to happiness. Someone has correctly said, “I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet.” So true!
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