Saturday, 18 July 2009

The Art of Sharing (or not)

Last week, a beautiful young woman and her small daughter appeared at the end of our street selling food to rickshaw drivers and passers-by out of large stainless steel tupperware. Because both she and her daughter were interested in Maya and Lily, we started to talk a little each time we went by, she in her stilted English and me attempting a few words in my appauling Kannada. The child is older than Maya, though she looks far younger but she is a gorgeous little girl with a big smile and boundless energy and she plays patiently by the roadside for the entire day whilst her mother sells food.

A couple of days ago, I was asked if we had any clothes we could give her daughter and I rummaged through Maya's cupboard and found a few things. One item was a dress that had been badly wripped, so I took it to the tailor to get it mended. Because the tailors here are so amazing, it looked as good as new when it was returned to me. The dress had been a favourite of Maya's, so when I told Maya initially we were going to give the dress to the little girl, that was fine. But now that it was restored to its former glory, this posed more of a problem. When we went to hand it over, I could see Maya really thinking about it, remembering how much she loved this dress. But then she looked at me, looked at the little girl and gave it to her. I was really, really proud of her. But for fear of sounding like a sanctimonious 'oh-yes-my -daughter-is-so-kind-considerate-and-emotionally-advanced-child' kind of parent, when we got home, she promptly threw a huge tantrum because she didn't want to share something with Lily, kicking out at her sister so violently that Lily actually sank her little teeth into her. So yes, it's all swings and roundabouts!

The photo is not actually of this little girl but a child called Malama who lives on the other side of the park and Maya has given her nail varnish, a pineapple and a school bag. In return, Malama festoons Maya with flowers plucked from the bushes.


  1. How sweet. I have a hard time sharing my clothes too. I'll bundle up a package for Goodwill and then pull items back out, one by one.

  2. I have tried to offer my old clothes to the homeless when they come to the door, but they take one look and say, 'You must be joking. I'm not wearing that rubbish.' Some people just aren't grateful enough.