which ought to be paid

Most human beings have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted wrote Aldous Huxley. Over the past years I have learnt how true this is! And how it sometimes hurts. I guess in spite of my years of being in the doing good business, I have not been able to shed my human failings. But let me put all this into context.

Two days back the boarding school kids were back from school with their endearing smiles and large doses of holiday homework. Daily writing from the newspaper, charts of roman numerals, English grammar charts, crafts and science projects and what not. A handful for even one like me. Wonder why schools give so much work! Holidays are no more holidays. As I said it is bad enough for educated parents but how do illiterate parents handle this. I am of course talking of our seven little kids. So the holiday homework becomes another mission project why. A teacher has been assigned to handle just this and the children would have to come to pwhy at least for half a day. Everything was planned and ready to go.

The next morning Vicky's mom came to in to inform us that they were off to the village for 2 months. When we told her about the homework she seemed unconcerned and a tad annoyed. She was unwilling to understand that there was a need to get the homework done and refused to listen. Reluctantly we had to get out the big guns and threaten to withdraw Vicky from the school. Ultimately the father got involved and understood the situation and the village trip was postponed post homework. The problem was solved but not quite for me as it once again brought up the nagging issue of gratitude, one that I am loath addressing but which nevertheless bothers me. I guess I am still human and not selfless enough not to expect a modicum of gratitude. I still have a long was to go, I presume.

I must admit that the lack of gratitude I have experienced over the last ten years has been troubling and even incomprehensible. I always thought, erroneously I guess, that people should be thankful for any help proffered. But that is not the case at all. It almost seems that if you give than more is expected and if the more does not happen then you become the villain of the piece. And this happens all the time. People do have an almost infinite capacity for taking things for granted to borrow Huxley's words. So if you want to carry on, you need to change, they will not.

So you embark on the mission of trying to find excuses that will make situations more palatable even if they seem paltry: poor people have had such a raw deal; they have hardly seen good; they have always been in want and hence are always in need, do not know better and so on. But that is not the way to go. What is needed I guess is the ability to think like Rousseau and say:Gratitude is a duty which ought to be paid, but which none have a right to expect.

The one lot that has perfected the art of being grateful is undoubtedly our band of special children. Just walk into their class and they greet you with such warmth that it warms the cockles of your heart and turns the darkest moment into pure light. They do not expect anything in return. Their eyes are filled with love they are yearning to give and should you peer into them, there is no looking back, you will be touched by their magic. It is a unique experience that needs to be experienced.

On the other hand we mere mortals still expect gratitude and hurt if it is not forthcoming. Maybe the special kids have a lot to teach us and maybe it is time I walked the talk.