06 November 2015

‘I don’t have anything to wear!

This would have been the fifty first piece of a series  for the JEANS section of 'The Nation'.  The paper was shut down after this section went to print.  Temporarily, they say.   The series is for children. Adults, consider yourselves warned...you might re-discover a child within you!  Scroll down for other articles in this series. 

That’s probably not true.  What one means when one says ‘I don’t have anything to wear’ is probably ‘I don’t have anything PROPER to wear’.  ‘Proper’ would mean ‘suitable for the occasion’.  Some would add that ‘proper’ also means ‘new’ and ‘stunning’. 

When someone says something that begins with ‘I don’t have anything to…..’ he or she is not being untruthful.  If you want to look stunning and you don’t have a stunning dress, shirt, shoes or jewelry then in your mind it is legitimate to say ‘I don’t have anything….’

About 900 years ago a Persian poet by the name of Muslih-ud-Din who used the pen name Sa’adi (1184-1291) wrote the following in ‘The Gulistan’ (‘Rose Garden’):

I never complained of the vicissitudes of fortune, nor suffered my face to be overcast at the revolution of the heavens, except once, when my feet were bare, and I had not the means of obtaining shoes. I came to the chief of Kufah in a state of much dejection, and saw there a man who had no feet. I returned thanks to God and acknowledged his mercies, and endured my want of shoes with patience.” 

Now you’ve probably heard the part that refers to someone complaining he didn’t have shoes until he met a man who had no feet. 

It is easy to say of course.  Who, after all, would want to go out in rags, right? Who would want to dress up in something that might invite sneers, right?  And just because someone else doesn’t have feet one should not feel that one must go without shoes. 

And yet, it is good to think about what the poet Sa’adi said more than 900 years ago.  Here’s something that happened nine years ago.  It happened on Lester James Peries Road, Bambalapitiya.  At the time it was known as Dickman’s Road. 

There was a little girl called Ashwini.  She was just two and a half years old.  She was the daughter of a domestic worker.  August 8, 2006 was a happy day for her.  Her grandfather, Rasiah, an employee in a restaurant had bought her a pair of shoes. She wanted to try them out. She walked towards a bus halt on Dickman’s Road, Bambalapitiya, after kissing her grandpa by way of thanks.  That was it.  A car bomb ensured that Asvini would never walk, that she would never learn.  She died right there.

So, if you want to complain, therefore, there are enough things you can find to complain about.  But you think about things a little more and count your privileges, you might not sentences with the following words, ‘I don’t have anything….’

Other articles in this series
Un-cluttering is an art
A puddle is a canvas
Venus-Serena tied at love-all
Some jokes are not funny
There's an ant story waiting for you
And you can be a rainbow-maker
Trees are noble teachers
On cloudless nights the moon is a hole
Gulp down those hurtful words
A question is a boat, a jet, a space-ship or a heart
Quotes can take you far but they can also stop you
No one is weak
The fisherman in a black shirt
Let's celebrate Nelli and Nelliness
Ready for time travel?
Puddles look back at you, did you know?
What's the view like from your door?
The world is rearranged by silhouettes
How would you paint the sky?
It is cool to slosh around
You can compose your own music
Pebbles are amazing things
You can fly if you want to
The happiest days of our lives
So what do you want to do with the rain?
Still looking for that secret passage?
Maybe we should respect the dust we walk on
Numbers are beautiful 
There are libraries everywhere 
Collect something crazy
Fragments speak of a thousand stories 
The games you can and cannot play with rice
The magic of the road less-traveled
Have you ever thought of forgiving?
Wallflowers are pretty, aren't they?
What kind of friend do you want to be? 
Noticed the countless butterflies around you?
It's great to chase rainbows
In praise of 'lesser' creatures 
A mango is a book did you know?
Expressions are interesting things
How many pairs of eyes do you need?
So no one likes you?
There is magic in faraway lights
The thambilil-seller of Giriulla
When people won't listen, things will
Lessons of the seven-times table


දේශක යා said...

Malinda, I need your help to understand this.

You said "You don't have anything to wear"
If I say "I have nothing to wear", will it separate from the original idea.. I had this problem always. But your "heading" directed me to the solution.. You know you can explain it well.. Thkx

Anonymous said...

When we are content with what we have , will never create the question 'I don't have anything ".....:)

MB said...

Thanks Malinda, as always profound words. Kind regards, Mohan