Thursday, March 26, 2009

Save the best for last!!!!!

Yesterday I gave my daughter some chocolates. She quickly gobbled up a few and kept her favorites one for later. I asked her why she had kept her favorite one and had the ones she did not particularly like? Her reply was “ Mummy, I am saving the best for last.”

I think I did exactly the same when I was young. In fact my mother used to do the same and I suspect her mother and grandmother did the same. Some where somehow in our psyche we have been programmed to save the best for last.

I’m not sure where this belief originated and whether it is the right thing to do or not? But it got me thinking…. Why do we save the best for last? What if that last was too late?

I remember a beautiful set of china in my house which always stayed neatly packed . I asked my mum, when we would use it? She said it was for a special occasion and that it was rather expensive, so we had to be extra careful with it. The result was that we never ended up using it. It stayed neatly wrapped occupying space in the cupboard. I left home when I was 20 and sort of forgot about it. When my mum passed away,iIt came upon me to sort out her stuff (Stuff that she had collected over years and that was neatly wrapped in tissue and plastic) I saw the expensive china dining set and with great trepidation opened it. It was beautiful, but it had gotten stained! It had never been used and yet it had gone brown and showed very fine cracks. I saw it and cried and cried.

Maybe it was not that special after all!!!

What would have made it special would have been the memories associated with it. The occasions that would have been termed special just because we chose to make them special . What if we had used it just for fun? Just because we wanted to celebrate the fact that we were all together. We never realized that just being together and being alive was reason enough to celebrate. I don’t think it was my mother’s fault and I don’t blame my grandparents either. It was just the way things were. It was all a part of conditioning based on fear and lack.

Most of us keep waiting for a special moment when things will begin to feel special. We put happiness on hold in anticipation of a better tomorrow. We keep our best linen and our best china neatly wrapped in anticipation of a special moment. The special moment when I get that promotion, the special moment when my child graduates, the special moment when !!!!!!


Why not make every moment special? According to Buddhist teaching, death is definite, but it’s time is uncertain. So why not rejoice the moment of life and stay prepared for the moment of death.
I know I have digressed a long way away from the irresistible chocolate and why my daughter wanted to save it for the last. But a seven year old getting conditioned in the theory of “saving the best for the last was definitely not something I wanted to encourage.

At the same time I do not wish to imply that we should live a nihilistic lifestyle with no regard or appreciation of the future. We all want to savor what we like for as long as we can, but we do not need to go through life waiting and wanting. In our waiting and wanting we forget to appreciate the moment and fail to realize that every moment is special and that every piece of chocolate has a distinct yet pleasurable taste.

Ironically, my daughter lost her favorite chocolate. My dog realized it was something rather special and very appropriately found his salivating mouth all over it. Inara was inconsolable, but in this case I had a few extra chocolates and I very quickly replaced the one that had found its way into the dogs belly, but often in life we do not get chances to replace what we lose or to make up for moments that could have been special but we did not think they were.

So go get that beautiful china out, lay the table with your best table cloth and decide to make every moment a special moment.

Next time someone offers you, your favorite chocolate, grab it with both hands and thank the makers for that irresistible smooth creamy taste. Start living in the now and revel in the abundance and not in fear and regret.



Unknown said...

Bean Smith at 1:30am March 22
Here! Here! I could not agree with you more!!! :b
-ps- my mom still has that china that never sees the surface of the dining table... its one of the things that inspires me to do exactly the opposite. wear my fav clothes regularly .. etc etc. tizz about the *NOW*

Karamvir Dahiya at 2:12am March 22
Your words here, brought pain and tears....I discovered a very old beautiful bottle of whiskey in my house....had some guest over....opened that bottle....when i was filling the sister told me that Papa had kept it for a very special time..for my marriage.....however, ironically, it doled out to mourn!

Namita Kochar Singh at 6:41am March 22
Beautiful writing Shveitta! Sometimes you have to lose something before actually appreciating it's worth. It's sad...but true! Every time I'm down thinking about what I have lost, I remind myself to think of what I have and what I am missing at that very moment thinking about the past. You are right....we forget to live in the present and ... Read More

Shveitta Sethi at 10:21am March 22
namita, me too is so glad that I found you. infact it is tani we should thank for having found me and directing me to you.
All moments are so precious , only if choose to see them as such.Talking to you is like being in heaven.
Karamvir, i know that your father was very keen on your marriage, but like I said yesterday.." to thine self be true". Do... Read More

Deepam Chatterjee at 11:44am March 22
'Life is uncertain, eat dessert first'!!!
Love and Blessings

Shveitta Sethi at 12:00pm March 22
Deepam, I did not tag you on this as I thought you were so far ahead and I felt silly asking you to read what i have written. Many thanks for reading and appreciating. You are my inspiration. love and happiness always.

I always eat dessert know how I love chocolates. My biggest weakness. Hope your mum liked the ones I left for her. I am deriving huge amounts of vicarious pleasure just thinking of her .

Rachna Sandhu at 6:04pm March 22
Shveitta,this piece is truly beautiful,moving & introspetive....KUDOS!!!

Gitte Birlev Könyves at 6:38pm March 22
This is the reason why I want us to do something in the future. It´s really, really good and great reflections. I have started to take the best part or pieces first and do not wait anymore. Hugs Gitte

Alexandra Lambo at 8:10pm March 22
Fantasic, love it, you're a star! I use my best stuff every day...cos we never know where we'll be tomorrow!!!

Mukul Bakshi at 5:18am March 23
Thanks for sharing this. So touching. Having read it this morning, I set out to live today for today. BTW, chocolate is not good for dogs:

Alexandra Lambo at 6:55am March 23
Makes them go blind!

Shveitta Sethi at 8:46am March 23
Thank you Rachna . I liked the parachute email and thanks for thinking of me. Are you back or still in the US? Inara is missing you a lot.

Alex darling, you I need to see. It seems that we are not getting our regular fixes and Inara said, mummy aunty alex and aunty Tina were your best friends and you don't even speak anymore!!!!.

Gitte, you are quite an inspiration, get skype and lets speak soon. Send me somw stuff so I can start thiking of what to write.... Read More

Alexandra Lambo at 8:57am March 23
Thought you were in India - are you there or are you in HK?

Tina Hoefner Jansen at 12:09am March 24
Hi gorgeous, really nice article, great writing and sooo true...I just loved it!! We have to enjoy life every day, not only on special occasions... I will treat myself with something nice today... maybe chocolate or a lovely glass of wine..?
How was India? let's skype soon I miss you!!

Anonymous said...

Very accurate. The origin of the phrase, or at the very least, its earliest incarnation 'save the best for last' comes from the Bible. But in that case its mentioned as an abnormality, as the best is normally served first, but in this case, the wine Jesus created was better then even that.

Unknown said...

Thank you for making me aware of the origin of the phrase .