It is said that the poor are the most generous. I don’t know if that’s entirely true, but generosity does seem more profound when you have little and yet give. I was raised in a modest neighbourhood. We were probably the most well-to-do family as compared with the rest, and believe me we weren’t doing that great. My next door neighbours were a family of six – mother, father and four sons. They had a meagre income and were always struggling to make ends meet. Even then, I remember bowls of steaming food arriving for us before they had eaten themselves. I especially looked forward to the festivals. That was when the best food was served. There was not a single festival when they ate without sending us food first. The other neighbours were big-hearted too; so open-handedness and simplicity was a staple we grew up on.
Now when I’m getting attracted to the concept of minimalism, it’s probably me going back to my roots. If you have experienced the beauty of a simple life and simple emotions you will understand this better. If you haven’t, you’d probably want to know what the fuss is about. At the end of the day, all we ever want is peace, happiness and good health.
My friend just forwarded me this very beautiful story. An anthropologist proposed a game to a bunch of African tribal kids. He placed a basket of fruit under a tree and asked them to stand about 100 metres away from it. Then he announced that whoever got to the basket first could have all the fruits. As soon as he said, “Ready, steady, go!” guess what the kids did. They held on to each other’s hands and ran towards the tree together. They then divided the fruit amongst themselves and happily relished the meal. When asked why they did so, they replied in unison, “Ubuntu”. Ubuntu in their language means: ‘I am, because we are!’
When I imbibe this philosophy of ‘Ubuntu’ fully and honestly, I would have crossed an important milestone in my journey towards minimalism.
© Renica Rego