Lesson 81 on Making the most of precious opportunities.
I was thinking about Sanjit this afternoon. Perhaps you remember her. She was the pupil at Mandy’s school who chose to be mute.
When I first went round to see her mother, despite not speaking each other’s language we hit it off. In the course of our conversation I enquired about what Sanjit most enjoyed at home.
As Sanjit translated (she would speak to her mother and a bit to me) I noticed them both looking distinctly guilty and exchanging secretive smiles. I could see they were wondering if they should trust me. I did my best to look encouraging.
Then they confessed. When everyone else had gone to the Gurdwara and they had the house to themselves, they used to clean the whole place till it shone and everything was just as they liked it. Then they would sit down, wherever they wanted, to enjoy their handiwork on their own.
It was the only time they ever had to themselves. They lived in a complex extended family, but when Sanjit’s strange condition became evident, the disgrace of this was felt so deeply that she and her mother were excluded from most activities. That was why they had the house to themselves each weekend to scrub and polish and enjoy.
Why did I think of them today? Because I had time to myself and I was bleaching the tiled floors. That was my secret treat. To be able to carry out a simple task at a leisurely pace, to suit myself, without upsetting or disturbing anybody, without interruption or objection.
I’d be willing to bet a lot of us know the restorative value of such times.
Every time I get out the bleach, I still think of Sanjit and her mother, and wish them well, wherever they are.