Long back there was this incident when I had a lot of dresses in my wardrobe which were either worn out or unfit. I gave it to my mother who donated them to people who couldn’t afford them. Later when I came across a send off party photo from my mother’s college I found a girl wearing that dress which I discarded. It was probably the day everyone dressed their best and that was her best dress. My eyes welled up as I confronted the painful reality of the financially challenged and how destiny doesn’t favor everyone.
My parents were givers and not receivers, in all the two plus decades that I lived with them. Clothes, money, food, moral support, advice, you name it , they gave it. However what they received had always been criticisms and brickbats. But I believe that blessings come from God and not from the thankless mortals we extended a helping hand to. And yes, over the years I have seen my parents blessed by the Almighty abundantly by each passing day through all the pains and hurdles that befell them.
It had me thinking… which is right? Donating something which you don’t need, or something which you selflessly want another person to have? As per logical and practical conclusions, no deed is selfless in this world, which may be true if we perceive it that way. There are scores of people who contribute to charitable trusts and orphanages by being anonymous. And there are people who pose for photographs and get a receipt from them as a part of their personal finance management and cheap publicity. However I cannot comment or start a debate on this, because, frankly speaking, I do not know. But as per the scriptures, the one who has is expected to give the one who doesn't.
So when I was having a late night chat with my mother, she casually mentioned about her maid, who was so poor that she and her daughters lived in a single room hut. When they went to church on Sundays, dogs and cats would break into their home – which was now closed with plastic sheets as the rain washed away the mud walls- and eat the lunch they made for that day. I fought tears as I heard this. One of these daughters was getting married and this woman was trying to make some money for the wedding. Well, affording gold was out of question, but for good clothing? Any girl, rich or poor would want to look good on her wedding day. It is the single most important day of her life, whether she gets married in a thatched chapel or at a Cathedral.
I made a decision.
I made some phone calls, and made arrangements with the help and support of my in-laws and parents....and I gave my wedding reception saree to her. This saree, which I wore just once, is not something I would discard. Even though the chances that I will wear it again in my life are very remote, I’d save it, as it holds an emotional value. As a part of this so-called “emotional value”, I would stack it up in a wardrobe and over the years it will be eaten by insects. But today, it could change a woman’s life.
And so it did.