Deepawali, festival of lights. Perhaps the only festival that builds up for almost a month. Sadhana, fasting, cultural events, purchases, cleaning, and coming together of families are some of activities that keep most of us occupied. With so many experiences of the inner and outer world, coupled with the transition to a comfortable weather, we all are in a big participation that elevates our energy levels. The ever present law of normal distribution, however, does not provide everyone the chance to experience the energy motions (emotions) associated with the month-long celebrations.
Within the field of our emotions (my spouse—Sangeeta and self), we have been fortunate to know the inner wishes of two souls—Megha and Laxmi—during Deepawali. While the story with Megha happened almost three years ago, the one with Laxmi is two days old.
Megha is the daughter of our neighbor who is suffering from Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Very briefly, MS is a potentially disabling disease of the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system). Some people with severe MS lose the ability to walk independently or at all, and Megha is one of them. While talking to her parents three years ago, we realized that she has not gone out of house for a very long time. We asked her if she would like to go for a ride on day of Diwali and she smilingly conveyed to us in affirmation. Her parents do not own a four wheeler and she cannot be a pillion on the two wheeler that her father has.
We discussed with her parents and decided to take her for a ride on Diwali. Although, her father was a little concerned on the logistics but we shared our plan to put her in a chair, take her to the ground floor in an elevator and carry her from the chair to make her sit in our car, suitably parked to carry out the entire exercise.
We took her for a ride in the city. All buildings and shops were lit and with cool breeze flowing through the window of the car, she had a smile on her face and enjoyed every bit of the short journey. One could see the joy on her face as she experienced the energy of the festival. We offered to take her to an ice cream parlor or any eatery; however, her father advised us not to do so for reasons that we could relate to.
We were happy and, so were her parents that we brought her safely and comfortably back to home.
Fast forward to this year. Laxmi is our support lady who cooks food in our house since the last three years. Two days ago, we recognized that she was not her usual self. On inquiry, she said that she is tired of this life. She was married early in her life to a person who, she later found out, is addicted to liquor. Since then, she has been only working day in and day out from 11:30 am till 7 pm. She went further to share with us that she cleaned her kitchen last night till 11 pm and had to cook for her family of six, thereafter. We recognized the ‘burnout’ that she is experiencing.
Two of us discussed what we could do to help Laxmi? Laxmi works in many houses, including for a couple who are medical professionals with two kids and she cannot be excused from all houses for a day. She is well aware of her responsibility and is committed to the same. Not coming to work for a day or more will not be feasible as she herself is a conscientious worker.
As always, the grace provided part of our answers. We were invited to a dinner the next day and, therefore, we decided that she need not come to work in evening. Fortunately, the other family was invited to same place and, therefore, she got some relief from evening work.
On the very next day, she wanted to take the evening off to which we readily agreed. We wanted to relieve her from her responsibilities at her home. Today, we inquired about her time in her house and, specifically, if she cooks food after completing her work or, otherwise. We informed her that the dinner for her family today will be provided by us so that she does not plan for the same.
We bought a local delicacy:dal bafla for her entire family of six along with desserts and handed her the same this evening for dinner. She was happy and conveyed her thanks to us. We emphasized that she should not do any work today at her home and that we would love to see her enjoy the dinner with her family without any stress of cleaning, or cooking tonight.
We are not going to celebrate the festival this year. My mother who left for her next journey this year in February treated the support staff just as another family member. She would counsel them and do whatever she could to help them. We know that she would be so delighted to see us follow her legacy.
We do not consider these as acts of kindness; these are acts of gratitude to Mother Divine for choosing us to energize the shining light inside beautiful souls. All of us know that every soul does not get to experience the energizing aura of the festivities of Deepawali.
May all sentient beings see only auspicious things during this period. Have a joyful Deepawali.