Dolly Koghar explores everything we have to be grateful for this festive season.
The link between Halloween, pumpkins, and candy is kinda cute, as are the heart-shaped chocolates at Valentine’s. Now with Diwali coming up on the 14th, the halwai (confectioner) is rubbing his hands with glee because we Indians will go crazy exchanging a whole lot of mithai (sweeeet sweetmeats) that we shouldn’t be eating. But ladoo, a perfectly round and incredibly yummy mithai remains the favourite for announcing the birth of a child, especially if it’s a boy. We can pretend and deny all we want, but it’s a given that we Indians favour males, even if it’s just to say I too, have a son. Nevertheless, try as I might, I can’t connect the dots between the poor, hapless turkey and the Thanksgiving meal. An even bigger puzzle is why we are grateful only on the designated Thanksgiving Day, and why not every moment of every day of every year.
This morning, I heard the alarm ring but tarried in bed for a while longer before getting up to draw the curtains and slide open the aluminium windows. In these haze free skies, the sunlight was blinding, so I shielded my lasered eyes against it, but stood basking in its warmth while enjoying the gentle winter wind. It promised to be a normal day like any other. But the truth is that normalcy and routine is very precious and extremely precarious. Life is uncertain, and fate is ﬁckle.
However boring and humdrum the day ahead looked like, I was alive, while a distant relative didn’t last the night. The shrill sound of the alarm disrupted my sleep, but millions wake up to their ‘normal’ deafening silence. The brightness that was blinding me, will never penetrate those eyes that only know pitch darkness. While I was running around the house like a headless chicken, many lie supine staring at the ceiling, waiting for someone to come and help them start their day. Their normalcy is very diﬀ erent from the normalcy we take for granted, that is, until something untoward happens and then we wail and cry, “why me?”
Melody Beattie says, “Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more.” We do have enough and so much, much, more that no amount of gratitude is enough. Our sun has risen in the eastern skies over centuries upon centuries to give us essential light, warmth and energy. Though dark clouds occasionally hide it, the oceans and the rivers continue to vaporise, condense, and then come down as life-giving rain. In today’s war-torn and intolerant world, we in Amazing Thailand earn and live as we please. Uppermost, we have complete freedom to practice our religions in our own worship houses and the liberty to wear our turban or the fez or the hijab.
In Kung Fu Panda (2008), Master Oogway says, “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift; that is why it’s called ‘the present.’” Everyone loves presents, and yet strangely, the most precious of gifts, the gift of life, we hardly value. We consume it by ‘passing time’ when it’s actually time that’s ticking past. The present is th
at brief split of a second; blink, and poof, it’s gone; never ever to come back or to be relived. The ticking seconds constitute a minute and those collectively turn into hours. Lots and lots of hours turn into many, many, days which in turn, become months upon months. Those months have added up as the years we have lived this far, oblivious that the present and normalcy is a gift like no other.
When normalcy and routine convert to boredom, remember tomorrow is not guaranteed and today is extremely brief, and irreplaceable. So, be in the moment, relish every second and make it count; spend it joyfully and abundantly, but wisely. Our life, our existence is a gift, a present from the Giver.