Friday, April 15, 2011

We often need to be told

When I was young we were neighbours to a large family of six daughters and three sons. They were all different in their attitude and mental makeup though outwardly they resembled each other. It may look strange as they all had the same parents and lived in the same surroundings exposed to same influences. Yet each one of them was different in some detail or the other in their traits.

Those were the days when there were no convenient gadgets as we have today like gas stove, washing machine, mixie, grinder, mobile or dishwasher. Everything had to be done manually. There was no overhead tank and water can be obtained only by pumping. The lady of the house used to slog in the kitchen from early morning to the time they retired to bed. I have heard my mom telling me that although the daughters were affectionate to their mom they, save two girls, needed to be told daily what is expected of them. The main job of sweeping, swiping washing clothes were done by a maid There were plenty of other odd jobs like bringing the clothes from the clothesline, folding and sorting, serving food and cleaning the place, giving respite to their mom by preparing coffee and so on. When those two girls were available, things were done without fuss. If they were away on some work the other girls always waited for someone else to do the odd jobs unless specifically asked. The lady of the house could not assign the jobs on regular basis to the girls as they were available at different times on different days and as a result she was found doing many things.

My mom used to tell how nice and heartening it would be if the other girls like the two exceptions took the initiative and completed the job remaining undone without being told. We tend to think that unless the job is specifically assigned it is not our responsibility and that we can just relax. Being in a house is like team work with many members sharing the work and doing it without prompting if something is seen pending, unless specifically asked not to do.”Initiative is taking action even though you haven't been given the orders. It means meeting new and unexpected situations with prompt action. It includes using resourcefulness to get something done without the normal material or methods being available to you.”

This should apply not only in our homes but outside too. When there is an unscheduled power failure, anyone from the locality can telephone the department. If there is an accident in the road, help can be rendered by any passerby. What we witness is that people wait for someone else to take the initiative and tend to remain mute witnesses. We waited for an Anna Hazare to start the agitation against corruption though it could have been done by anyone. How many of us would file a PIL petition in a court against perceived injustice?

.”Initiative is doing the right things without being told”


  1. It is true. Many times my husband would drop me at the places I wanted to go on his way to wherever he was going. It had become a habit for me to plan my visits according to his schedule. Many times he would not be going by that side or he would not go because of traffic etc., then I would get irritated with him and start cribbing. He used to tell me that I can go on my own as there are buses to take me there.
    First i used to feel lazy to venture out on my own, but after going out on my own, I really enjoyed the freedom of doing things at my own pace, there was nobody to answer, nobody to hurry up for, and nobody to trouble, and be troubled also.
    I really enjoy my freedom, ad my husband too enjoys his freedom.
    So the point you have made , that why do we need a push to do something is very valid. I too could have experienced the freedom long time back, but my lethargy to venture on my own was the real culprit.
    But the minute, I was pushed i had no other go but to do it. It is as they say," better late than never".

  2. Rama, I was thinking that I wrote this comment, because I am a lot like you! I too have noticed that if we are on our own, we can be relaxed and do our work better! Now, often I ask my husband to just drop one way!

    Partha Sir, yes, if all of us share our work, if one of us are not at home also, no one's work will get affected. Here, if the mother is ill or not at home, the whole family will become standstill!

    ”Initiative is doing the right things without being told” Very true!

  3. sometimes, people are so occupied with the mundane existence of their life, they need to be prodded and told that 'this is the right thing to do. and you should be doing it'. i have seen this in so many people. they do not accept responsibility unless someone forces it on them.