The month of December started with me keeping a gratitude journal for three weeks. It was part of a homework assignment my professor gave to our consumer behavior class. While writing the journal she wanted us to observe any changes we might feel in our thoughts, emotions, and actions and if we felt any different before and after the assignment. While the assignment seemed easy, making a daily routine was so difficult. To sit down, take a few minutes to think about what happened that day and then jot it down did not come naturally to me. To be honest, sometimes it even felt forceful. On days when I accidentally skipped, my conscious told me to reflect back. Surprisingly what started of as a homework assignment eventually into something that I started looking forward to doing every day. I can recall numerous instances where I could have thanked someone for their kind help but never got around to doing so. This assignment gave me an outlet for that. I expressed my gratitude for small things like being lucky to share dinner with family, listening to my son playing the saxophone, sharing a moment my daughters had in school, being invited to lunch by a friend, enjoying the warm, beautiful December afternoon in New York, seeing my parents for a few hours…and the list can go on. After acknowledging and bringing these feelings to surface, I felt an inner peace. It was truly a humbling experience.
It’s been a couple of weeks since I finished my assignment. I have not written in my journal since. But a weird thing has been happening. I have met so many people this month that have spoken to me about this very same topic of gratitude and how I should adopt it as a daily ritual. The book, “The Secret” mentions that the universe unfolds the right things at the right time and that if we are really are looking for that "something" in our lives we will see signs of it everywhere. I imagine that the universe is asking me to look deeper into my life and be happy and thankful for what I have and pass along this feeling of gratitude to another in some way.
My feeling of gratitude continued throughout my trip in India. Just about a week ago, while on a family vacation in Rajasthan, I came across people who did beyond what they were required to do and took hospitality to another level. After eating three continuous meals at our hotel, my family was desperate for something different. However, there was only a small village close by that did not have any restaurants. On our second morning, after our sightseeing excursion we were in no mood to go back to the hotel and sit in the same place for lunch. We requested our driver to take us somewhere he thought we might get some decent food. He immediately offered to take us to his house, which was nearby. At first, we were a reluctant as we thought this might inconvenience him, but seeing that he would not take no for an answer, we gratefully accepted.
Upon our arrival, we could see Sitaram’s happiness reflect on his face. It was a rare occasion that his guests would be dining at his home, and he wanted to make sure that he took care of our needs the best he could. At his humble home, he made us feel very comfortable, telling his children to run and get whatever we needed from the nearby market. His wife had lovingly prepared a simple but delicious meal. I felt so blessed that the world still had people like him and that I was fortunate enough to eat a meal at his house.
I captured some moments from that afternoon on my iPhone camera, and I am sharing those here with you. If anyone has had similar experiences meeting someone who has shared unconditionally, I would love to hear about it.