Life unfolds in a surprising formula every day and comes with its own measure of ups and downs. But with the right values to live by, one can make life happier and more rewarding. A general trend is to attribute values to the so-called elite section failing to think that we can glean ethics from the humble lives of the unprivileged and illiterate, too.
I learnt this fact when I began imbibing morals from my two most dedicated domestic helps - Geetha and Chandramma - the former working in my residence since a decade and a half and the latter since half a decade. Geetha is employed for daily chores of cleaning and mopping, washing clothes and utensils; while Chandramma works on a weekly basis for dusting, washing bathrooms and other miscellaneous chores. The steadfast discipline and principles of these two women have been acknowledged by my entire neighbourhood.
Right from the day of her appointment, Geetha has been a committed, honest and punctual employee. Every day at 7.45 am, she is ready to punch in. After completing her work, she sincerely locks the terrace and balcony doors and the outer passage gate without fail, drops the key bunch inside the house, pulls the automatic main door and walks away without disturbing my busy schedule in the morning as I have to wind up cooking and report to my college.
Battering rain or biting cold have never deterred Geeta from coming to work. She has also never expressed her displeasure for the job in spite of being a victim of domestic abuse - she has, at times, come to work with bruises. Rarely do I hear complaints about her family troubles until that one day when she desperately needed my help to lodge a complaint at Vanita Sahaya Vani. When I turn the pages of her biography, the values of commitment, sincerity, hard work and punctuality that she embodies without any schooling win my heartfelt appreciation.
Chandramma, her counterpart, is quite an old lady but a diligent worker. Soft-spoken and full of manners, she does a wonderful task of dusting and other minor chores and never expects any high returns. Whatever I pay for the job done, she accepts it gracefully; of course, I always pay a penny more.
The three most priceless words that I began appreciating after her acquaintance are Thanks, Sorry and Bye. Whenever I offer something to her in kind or cash, her instant response is, "Thanks, aunty!" Before she leaves my home, never has she failed to say "Bye, aunty." Finally, when she wishes to take an off due to health issues, she tenders an apology holding my hand: "Sorry, aunty. Do not feel bad, I shall do the work next time." These small words have a profound significance on our way of life for they mould our personality. These simple words have nothing to do with wealth or education; all it takes is a big heart.
Often small values matter the most and the way these women lead their lives should be emulated by all. An important moral lesson from their lifestyle is: "Respect the value added, not the effort exerted."