Ingenious Ways

The other day, a young mother had come with her infant to work at a construction site. She reported to the mason and looked around. She zeroed in on one tree and endeavoured to fling one end of an old sari that she had brought along over a sturdy branch. When she eventually succeeded she knotted the ends and improvised an instant cradle for her babe.

True, necessity is the mother of invention, besides such acts are common in our sub continent. Yet what made her stand apart from the rest was the way she kept the makeshift cradle clean. Whenever the baby wet himself, she picked up the child, wiped him clean and secured him to her back with the pallu of her sari. Then she would raise a bucket of water to the damp loop of the sari and dunk the end in the water and rinse it clean. She would wring out the drenched end with all her might and stretch out the fabric to help it dry faster before returning the baby to the cradle. Her ingenuity lay in doing the needful without seeking help or undergoing the strain of redoing the cradle from time to time.

Her uncommon approach mesmerised me. She had acted creatively and differently without attending any niche workshop!

Seeing her reminded me of an oft narrated family tale. Several decades ago, an aunt of mine faced a dilemma as a young bride in her marital home. Her parents in laws had purchased a new steel cupboard. She was instructed to keep her silks in one of the racks. Even as she hastened to do the bidding, her husband instructed her otherwise. She was torn between the two sets of opposite instructions, both of which she felt obliged to fulfill. A lesser woman in her place would have pointed out the anomaly or very simply obliged one of them. But, this enterprising lady chose to do otherwise. She stacked her clothes neatly in a suitcase and pushed the same on the floor beneath the cupboard. Needless to say, the ingenuous act lightened the atmosphere and rebuilt the bridge between the mother and the son.

These women were thinking out of the box an art much touted these days. There are zillions of workshops, seminars and orientation programmes which chalk out schemes to instill the art in novices. I am not sure if we can see palpable results in these structured attempts. Yet in real life, quite a few people (untrained in the art, I must say) have the ingenuity to arrive at apt solutions to their problems by just being themselves.

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