The gift of giving..and receiving.

It is a peaceful monday morning. Everything seems quiet as all beings slowly enter the beginning of the week, after the weekend. Fall is definitely here, the weather has become chilly and its time to get the jackets out. The dawn is later than usual, and this morning, both Abhi and I felt like taking the day off and staying in bed. We feel that way every monday morning-reluctance to end the carefree weekend and begin the work week. It would have been wonderful to have monday to be a holiday as well! though I bet, then I would still feel the same, except it would be on tuesday morning ;).

We had the opportunity to take some fall pictures- check them out at Abhi’s new website:

The weekend was lovely. On friday evening, I had invited three indian students who have just come to Dartmouth for their M.E.M (master’s in engg. management). I had met them at orientation, and they are really sweet folks. They mentioned, when I met them in passing, that they really missed indian food. Having been there, I know how it is when you are new in this country. Thats when being around indian folks and good food really make a difference. I had had some wonderful people who had invited me to dinner when I was new to the place, and I had really appreciated it. Later, when you settle down, being around desis does not matter so much as in the beginning. So, I promptly invited them for dinner.

I later pondered over how I had invited them so spontaneously. I’m not used to cooking for more than 2 people, and I have never done this before, just because of how much work it can be. Its not easy to entertain when you are working all week! I think the answer lies in karma. Indians believe a lot in karma. My parents always believed that when they helped someone, it would come back to them in some way-maybe someone else would help their children. Its a common notion-karma is one of the foundations of hinduism. every action of ours bears fruit in some way. At that moment, when I met Parul and Vyas and Akash, who were my sister’s age and in a new place, I felt that if I could help them, it would reach my sister who is also in a new place, in some way. House (from ‘House’, the serial, about this Doc, who is a sarcasstic, narcissistic mean guy and does not believe in emotions), would say, I don’t see how your action can possibly travel 8000 miles!! ;). Anyway, there is was, my intention to help.

I found instead, that I was the one who was receiving grace. I was learning the gift of giving-and how wonderful it feels to be able to give-and in that giving, how we become the receiver! There is really no separation between the giver and receiver any more. we unite, to create loving energy.

I spent hrs cooking over the week for that nite, making mutter paneer butter masala (a dish with paneer, indian cheese, and peas in a rich gravy) and aloo saag (spinach-potato dish spiced with ginger and chillis) and got naan (indian bread) from the store. I froze them so I wouldn’t have to cook that nite. It was good food that I had sweated over.

And the best part was seeing the folks enjoy it. For the first time in my life, I knew what it was to cook for others, to see them enjoy it. Of course Abhi has enjoyed my food before. But this was different. Parul, Vyas and Akash loved the food, and I sensed that they could relax, without being on guard. They felt at home. For dessert, I made strawberry blueberry crisp. As we were chatting, I cut the strawberries right there (like a chef 😉 ) and put the topping, and put it into the oven. 45 minutes later, when it was done, as Parul took the first bite of the warm crisp with bubbly fruit served with ice-cream, her face lit up-she had this million-dollar smile beyond words, that simply made my day. It made all the effort worthwhile. It was a fantastic feeling! :).

So, I came to the conclusion: ‘karma ko golee maro’, shoot the karma, who cares. I loved doing this, and even if no karma results, I’m feeling pretty happy about the whole thing :). I feel blessed to have a lovely home, a wonderful husband (who entertained them with stories and wisdom from when he was doing his M.E.M) and enough money to feed people, and most of all, lovely guests who brought so much fun into our house :).

Not sure if I can make a habit of this , just because of the work involved, but once in a betcha!! :).

Much love, S.


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