Saturday, October 8

Every little thing in life is inspiring


Life is made up of little things and true greatness consists in being great in little things. — AFP photo

‘THE Hundred-Foot Journey’ by Richard C Morais –  courtesy of a good-books friend, is a wonderful  novel.

Don’t read this book if you are hungry. You might eat  it – quite an appropriate opinion from an  award-winning  screenwriter.

Indeed, it was spicy fish curry Machli Ka Salan in olden West Bombay from the first page when the character  of this book, Hassan, was born, right to the end when he puts his final touch to the dessert Arte Au Vin en  route to his elevation to the uppermost echelons of French haute cuisine.

Plates and baskets of food literally sprang from the  pages as readers took the journey with Hassan,  across the continents.

But, it is good food for the brain, too.

When he was small, Hassan’s dear mummy brought him on a bus ride to downtown Bombay and they both  entered the posh French restaurant for the first time  in their lives.

Coming from a family owned village restaurant,  the little boy was overwhelmed with the luxurious  furnishing and panic-stricken with the exotic-sounding  dishes like Bouillabaisse and Coq Au Vin. But Mummy smiled kindly and said: “Never be afraid  of trying something new, Hassan.Very important. It is the spice of life.”

Yay, thinking of my application for judicial review  to challenge the Election Commission’s endeavor to  delineate electoral boundary as they wish, a voyage  into uncharted Malaysian legal waters.

Reading The Hundred-Foot Journey was what I had  done from the eve of the Lunar New Year into the  first day of the festive holidays and I turned the last page  that evening, so pleased with what I have accomplished  in the annual off-day.

The then unfinished story of Hassan was shared with  Mum and Dad, over our usual vegetarian breakfast of  rice with a dish of vegetables and beans to start the  Lunar New Year.

They were pleased, more delighted with my young  boy’s story of dinosaurs befriending some young  scientists, though.

The little boy had forced himself to read a story book past the midnight hour, too.

It is a tradition for the Chinese, at least in my family,  from my great grandmother’s time, that children  do not go to sleep early on the night of New Year’s eve. There is always so much cleaning and  tidying of the house after the reunion dinner.

After the chores and a bath will mean it is close to midnight and all the children will take out their books  to read or holiday homework to complete and this  must be carried through the midnight until the deafening  fire crackers in the neighbourhood have ended.

Great grandmother would come for breakfast in our  four houses all close by, all similarly rice with a dish  of mixed vegetables and beans to start the Lunar  New Year day.

As children, we could not wait to impress great  grandmother with what we had read or written because  she had kept ang pows in two separate pockets.

The ones in the left would contain a little extra, compared  to those in the right pocket. Only the rare few who fell  asleep or took too much time enjoying the fireworks  and firecrackers would end up with a smaller  ang pow from her right pocket.

“The best time of the year is in Spring, the best time  of the day is the morning. Or plan for your year in  Spring, plan for your day in the morning,” she repeated  this time-honoured Chinese teaching every year.

“That is the significance of the Lunar New Year because it marks  the coming of the Spring.” We grew up with those words.

We do not have the luxury of the four seasons of the temperate  countries. We have one better and perpetual season of “mild  Summer all year round, Spring after a shower.”

So, to be honest, I do not wait until the Lunar New Year to plan for the year. We follow  the common Gregorian calendar to lay down our resolutions and  plan for the year. But tropical or temperate, the wisdom is shared in the  teaching that it is the best time to plan and start one’s day in the  morning. The earlier the better, of course.

“Early birds get the worms.”

Wake up early, plan our day early, start our day early.  It doesn’t only give us a start ahead of others, more  labour hours than our peers; it means uninterrupted  extra hours of freshest of mind and concentration on  the tasks in our hands and head.

We were always told, successful people have a secret weapon that everybody has access to, but few choose to take advantage of: Early morning.

When our aged elders wake us up early morning and tell us  grandfather stories during the morning walks or mothers grumble  about our studies, diets and clothing, appreciate them and take their teachings positively. They do everything just to inspire us to  be successful in life.

Are you going to wake up early tomorrow morning?

Have you read anything that inspires you today?