My grandmother always reminded us of some famous sayings. Her most favorite was, “It takes millions of raindrops to fill up a lake for the survival of a whole village and tons of stones to create mountains for the protection of the same village.” More the merrier, safety in unity.
During the lockdown last year because of Covid-19, my dog was taking me for our usual walk when one of my neighbors stopped me. She wanted to know where I got all the different masks I wore. She was not interested in aiding China’s economy by ordering the disposable ones. That evening I gave her a lot of masks. She offered to pay me. I refused payment but told her if she had any elastic, thread, or good cotton fabric to spare that would help me to make more masks. The next day, she gave me boxes of fabric and a box full of thread and remnants of elastic as well as spread the word of my mission. All the neighbors had come together to help me make masks for them. Some volunteered to help me make more of them. Soon we created a group. We started making masks for nursing homes, cashiers at retail neighborhood stores. This led to going shopping for neighbors, sharing toilet papers, and providing toiletries and other medical supplies to homeless shelters. We stopped hoarding. Everybody spared whatever they could to benefit other needy people. We got to know each other and started meeting for coffee to plan our activities. We started carpooling thereby less pollution and less wastage.
Covid-19 taught me the true meaning of Anuvrat. Now I buy only what I need. I have started giving away stuff I do not need to those who do need. My dog still takes me walking every day, but now other dogs walking their owners also join us! We all learnt that our backgrounds do not matter. Living together harmoniously, being generous, and helpful is very gratifying and creates a lot of happiness around.
Because of my Anuvrat of making much needed safety masks for others to help during Covid-19 crisis, my neighbors who joined me also observed Anuvrat, perhaps knowingly or unknowingly. However, it gives a similar message I mentioned at the beginning that my grandmother told all of us.
Mrs. Hansa V. Ramji was born in Kenya. She came to the USA in 1984 from London, England. Worked for the Capital One bank for 20 years. Now retired from the Mass Mutual Insurance Company and helping people find the right Medicare insurance. She lives in Nesconset, Long Island, NY with her husband Subhas and daughter Seema Ramji. She also has another daughter Mona and two grandchildren, Kahana & Dillon Parmar.
People Also Ask
Why do Jains wear masks?
Ahimsa- nonviolence is one of the pillars of Jain principles. Jains take extraordinary measures to avoid killing any living creature. They, mostly ascetic but lay people too, wear face masks to make sure they do not accidentally breathe them in, like tiny flies.