It is a wonderful festival today- Pongal as they like to call it in Tamil Nadu, Makar Sankranti or Lohri in other Indian states. It is a harvest festival reminding us the nature’s bountiness. There is a festive feeling in the air and of course our phones are buzzing constantly as wishes are pouring in. The holiday mood set in even before I dragged myself out of the bed this morning. Festive lunch having been taken care of, I just had to make some prasad and get something important for the puja. I was feeling so lazy. I hoped that our local store in the community would be open. If not I had to walk just 300 meters to the next store in the neighborhood. But that was too much for the lazy mode I was in. I thought that there was happiness in laziness, LOL!
I walked into our community store this morning praying they would have all that I was looking for. The association office was closed. Oh yeah, holiday today, I thought to myself. I heard the sounds of a couple of excited voices as the women who work in the maintenance team starting pouring in to narrow stairway, dressed in their cleanly pressed uniforms. I thought to myself, that it is sad that they don’t get a day off while the association staff get. But what they do is far more important and needs to be done everyday. They help the community with garbage clearance, keeping the common areas clean, relieving blockages…the list goes on. “Do they get the recognition they deserve?” I think to myself. Little did I know that they would let me in on a huge secret of happiness when I returned from the store.
I felt grateful that the store staff had come on a holiday, so that people like me could get what we wanted for the puja. They were courteous as usual and helpful as ever. Did they think of being lazy like me this morning? Perhaps not. Their energy was contagious. I felt awake and determined to accomplish something.
Did I get what I was looking for? Oh yes and so I did not have to walk that 300 meters to the next store, thanks to these lovely people. I walked out feeling good and then I got something better.
The group of ladies from the maintenance team had grown in size now and as a result louder. I heard the sound of cheer and laughter as they wished each other “Happy Pongal”. I looked at those faces smiling behind their masks, simply thrilled to see each other. It hit me then that each one of these women might be having different family situations and its own set of difficulties. But coming to work even on a holiday brings them cheer as they get to see each other, wish each other, share jokes may be and simply spend time together as they go about doing work that is important by clearly not very enticing or fascinating. Yet, there is happiness that is so transient that they managed to pass on some joy to me as well, someone whom they have probably never seen.
I hope you found at least a few moments of joy as you read through my moment of happiness this morning.