You know, Mi, each​ time I think of the phrase ‘give and take‘ I can’t help thinking of T’s Dad. I would go looking for her and while entering her house, see her Dad sitting in the porch. He would call out to T to say “Bunny’s here” and then sit me down in front of him and we would chat about this and that. Not one of our conversations ended without him saying, “Life is about give and take rey. But for some people, the interpretation is different. They believe in the sort of give and take where they believe in the “you give, I take” policy.” Then he would guffaw. Right on cue, T would appear and we’d disappear into her room.

Today when I saw the prompt in my email, I was about to read it and let it go. But when I saw what the prompt was, I couldn’t help thinking about the very profound words “life is about give and take”. I could not help laughing and feeling just a little sad at all the memories it brought forth.

I remember how you drove me nuts with your policy of always giving. When I argued with you, you would playfully chant, “Friday’s child is loving and giving” and make me madder by laughing!

Ah, those were the days. Bittersweet memories

Over the years, though, I understood you better, because I began to experience the joy of giving, too. There is nothing greater than the feeling of giving and being rewarded with a smile. I’ve felt this the most when we would carry food and clothing to all our regular street people. I am glad you started off that habit in me and tell me the story of how Grandpa would wear 2-3 shirts, one on top of the other so that he could take them off and give it to someone he saw shivering in the cold.

[box] For it is in giving that we receive. St. Francis Of Assisi[/box]

I also remember stories of my great Grandmother whom you described so colorfully as a generous soul.Β  I loved listening to those, Mi. And now, so does Vidur as I pass them on to him.

And my own Grandmother? How could I forget her? She never let anyone leave our house without feeding them. She never hesitated to help someone in need, regardless of whether she knew them or not, without expecting anything in return. I know that in present times that can be dangerous, but who suspected everyone those days?

I have such interesting memories of those pathans who lived downstairs in a shelter attached to our building, where Grandma allowed them to stay as they had nowhere to go. One of them, Maruthi, would make those fragrant thick chapatis on an open fire and offer me a piece when he noticed me standing and watching from a distance. I would be too afraid to accept, simply because he was so huge and seemed to be as tall as the second floor on which we lived! They were such a friendly lot, though and I remember a conversation, faintly, where I heard about how ready they were to help and refused to accept anything in return, because they were a compassionate lot.

Speak the truth.
Give whatever you can.
Never be angry.
These three steps will lead you
Into the presence of the gods.

Buddha

You know, Mi, I consider myself fortunate for seeing all the good things first before seeing the real world and what people are like.Β  It is like have a happy foundation, a silver lining around those intermittent dark clouds. Always hoping. Why, I have even begun to follow your example of believing there is good in every single person – some show it right away, some take longer. It is there, nevertheless.

My Grandmother had a point, which has been proven time and again to me. She would say: Give, give, give. You always get it back. So maybe it is not from the same source, but how does that matter? Life always balances itself.” And what good is giving if you expect something in return?

[box] Blessed are those who give without remembering and take without forgetting. Elizabeth Bibesco [/box]