Recently, Amazon suggested ‘Bangles to Mom: Letters from Pakistan’ as a title that I may like to read next. Authored by Marsha Marie — it is an American woman’s memoir of the days she spends in Pakistan upon landing there in the 90s. Later, her husband returns to the States and she finds herself caught between raising their two children in an unfamiliar land and the yearning to return home. It’s written in simple words — honest, straightforward — everyday conversations between a mother and daughter. I finished reading it last week and have recommended it to many others as a title they may like. Marsha talks about waking up to the sound of sparrows, her children playing with interesting village toys, the experience of making dung cakes, et al. ‘Not a work of literature, but about life’s simple truths.’
Quite a few excerpts from the book are worth sharing but there’s one, in particular, that’s stayed with me. It reads so.
Mona (her daughter) is starting to ask lots of questions. Kids say the darndest things, don’t they? Last night after talking to you (her mum) on the phone, we were coming home on the horse buggy, the sun was going down and she wanted to know why. I told her we used the sun all day and that it’s now Grandma’s turn to use it. Then she said, “So when Grandma’s done with it, will she send it back to us?” I said, “Yes, we share it with her. Okay?” She said, “Ok.” She is so sweet.
It happens to be the simplest definition of sharing I’ve come across. As parents and as adults, we teach kids to share their toys with other children. We tell them to share chocolates and lunches too. When they resist and complain, we’re quick to make them reflect on the concept of caring and sharing. ‘It will also help you make many, lovely friends.’
However, while we work towards imparting them with this vital lesson and skill, over time we forget to lead by example. The change is to do with growing up, like many other things. So the contacts we make stay hidden in our phonebooks, lest a colleague gets to shine. After all, we all have goals to meet and families to feed. It’s okay to be competitive too, right? As for materialistic things — they’re hard to part with. Our reasons are genuine. With age, we learn how to measure the returns on every action performed.
Perhaps this survival instinct is unconscious. But can we fight the natural urge not to share — be it responsibilities, successes and even failures? Maybe we can begin small. When you’re hurt, share your feelings and watch it transform into strength for others. Quite a few people can benefit from your good, bag, and ugly professional experiences too. Share the recipe of chocolate cake with your neighbour. Share a joke with a co-worker and watch how it changes your day. Know how to paint, teach it to someone. Share your dreams, ideas, and thoughts with others. You never know it may open doors that you never knew existed. Think beyond hitting the share button on social media platforms. Sharing, just like happiness, is contagious. And believe it or not, it brings more benefit to self than the others. Of course, in the process, you can form meaningful friendships too — just as your parents said when you were kids.