In the'60s, when I was still in primary school, I often heard my father say, "A place for everything and everything in place." It might sound a trivial statement to some but oh, the difference it has made to my life! My father, an extremely responsible parent and in fact my closest friend, practised what he preached. He led by example. And the valuable time and bother he thus saved, was utilised in other constructive pursuits. He followed a systematic lifestyle throughout the nine decades of his existence. Along with making life organised, this habit lends an enviable well kept look to the house and workplace. The consequent peace and a unique glow it spreads over you is an added bonus.
Whenever my father went anywhere by a rickshaw, he invariably paid the rickshaw-puller a two rupee coin in addition to the regular fare. This brought a smile on the poor man's face. About studies, my father would often tell me, "When you come from school, do rest a while after lunch. But after that you should revise whatever you learnt at school. Study everyday as if you are to take an exam tomorrow." This advice stood me in good stead throughout my student life.
Performing one's duty with a smile instead of a frown makes this world a better place, was another of my father's beliefs.
My mother was very fastidious; a perfectionist to the core. A simple lady, she never ignored the small but meaningful details related to the house, cooking, dress and hygiene. "Never find faults with others," was a rule she followed. She said, "Why do such things as might cause tension?"
Though it's been two decades since my parents passed away, yet I feel their presence when in some context or the other, their principles turn into lighthouses for me.
My friend Jhikki is always polite with the maid, sweeper and whosoever works for the family. This in turn makes them extra sensitive towards her requirements. Serving them tea or water respectfully is a negligible act but the dividends my friend reaps are big. A word of praise or sympathy at an appropriate moment works wonders. Using words like please, sorry and thank you frequently is a small gesture but the magic it creates needs to be seen to be believed.
With the passage of time, one realises the significance of such aphorisms even more. I wouldn't trade this precious legacy for anything on earth. Trifles indeed make a big difference to our lives.
One is reminded of Italian painter Michelangelo's observation, "Trifles make perfection and perfection is no trifle."