This was my helper, Rosmawati from Indonesia, with my daughter years ago. Ros used to live with my family and I when we lived in Kuala Lumpur. Ros can be the craziest, most illogical woman on the planet. For example, she would purposely throw rubbish out of the car with a big smile on her face until I stopped her doing that.
“Stop littering,” I chided. “It’s not nice.”
“Oh Ma’am, I’m providing employment for the roadsweepers. If the streets were clean, they wouldn’t have a job, would they?”
Anyway, Ros loved gardening. She got rid of our gardener and did all the work herself (without wanting more pay). As we were living in a rented house, I told her that she could not dig up the garden willy-nilly. She had to stick to planting in the flower beds and in the pots we bought her. And when we ran out of pots, she planted her precious plants in unsightly old paint buckets.
One day, I caught her digging the garden to plant a mango seed. I decided to try a different tactic than chiding her for digging a hole on the lawn.
“Ros, mangoes are cheap here. I buy plenty and you can eat as many as you want. You don’t need to plant this seed. It will take at least 6 years for your seed to bear fruit, and by then, we won’t be living in this house,” I had said.
“Oh ma’am,” she smiled beatifically. “I’m planting this seed for the people who will live here after us.”
Last night, my partner who is a diligent student of Indian philosophy, showed me this passage that he had just read, written by Rabindranath Tagore.
“Isn’t this your Ros?” he asked.
The one who plant trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade,
has at least started to understand the meaning of life.
– Rabindranath Tagore
Yes, that is indeed my Ros, who had brought so much joy, beauty and wisdom to my family. You don’t need to learn only from people with letters after their names. Wisdom is to be found everywhere. Love you to the moon and back, Ros ❤