Divya’s 3rd grade teacher had given them an interesting assignment. They had to write about “One thing that I am grateful for and Why.”
Divya was happy because she had learned the real meaning of the word during her summer holidays in India. She knew what she would be writing.
Her mother had always used the word ‘grateful’ frequently in her instructions to Divya.
“Divya, eat everything on your plate. Do not play with your food. Be grateful for your meals. There are starving children in the world.”
“Divya, stop pestering me for another pair of sandals. I will not buy you anymore. You already have two good pairs. Be grateful for all the things you have and stop wanting more and more.”.
It had been so overused by her mother, Divya did not stop to think about it.
During her summer vacation, in India, she went on a road-trip with her grandparents and her uncle to a temple. It was a long six hour trip and they stopped at a wayside shop – “Murugan’s tea-stall”.
There were a few tables and chairs in front of the shop, and the display counter had sodas, colorful candy in glass bottles, bunches of bananas, tender green coconuts, etc. There were not too many customers. They all sat on the tables and uncle ordered some tea, tender green coconuts and some cookies. A little boy about Divya’s age brought them their order with a broad smile. Grandpa talked to him in Tamil and asked Divya to try her language skills with him.
She found out that his name was Seenu. He was not sure of his age though he showed her ten fingers and then seven or eight. He had no parents. He did not go to school and he worked and slept in the shop. All through her questioning, he laughed and giggled as he found her Tamil accent strange. Divya was embarrassed and felt annoyed with this little boy.
But her grandparents seemed taken up by him. They made him sit with them and eat. Grandpa also gave him about twenty rupees which he refused to take. Grandpa forcibly put it in his shirt pocket. As their car left the place, the little boy ran beside it and waved to Divya. Grandma kept saying, “Such a sweet kid. He must be our Divya’s age. He was so grateful for all the attention we gave him.”
Uncle said, “I wonder how he is so happy! He has no home, no family. He did not even have slippers. Did you see he was barefooted? Amazing!”
Grandma said, “A grateful child is a happy child. Hope he somehow gets a better life just because of his happy heart.“
Divya could not stop thinking about the barefoot Seenu. Uncle said, “So many children are like that in our vast country.”
Divya was grateful for her parents. She had the best parents in the world. They gave her so much. She would be always grateful. She knew that being grateful would make her happy. And that is what she wrote about in her assignment.
Vijayalaxmi Maddali, Redding CA