Leaving the Remains

I read Kazuo Ishiguro’s Remains of the Day last week. Stevens, the butler, somehow remains in my mind. How devoted can a man be to his work? I can’t understand it since my devotion to my work is almost non-existent. If someone gave me a million dollars, I wouldn’t work. I would instead maybe live life the way I wish I can.

But I digress. Today, I was watering this small bamboo house plant I was given as a birthday gift in June. How things have changed since then! The plant has grown – it is no longer small, and the yellow stalks it came with have now turned green with life. Yet, the plant reminds me of a person I no longer wish to be reminded of.

I have this policy – I never keep gifts from people who are no longer in my life. As in, not the people who move on to another life, but the people who move out of your life. In such situations, I usually throw away what was given before – not out of spite, but because certain painful things don’t need any more reminders that our mind doesn’t provide. It’s my way of cleansing out the past, so to speak. But I was stuck with this plant. I can throw out all other things – but how do I harm a small, living thing? So the plant stayed. I wonder how the plant feels – it is unwanted, yet survives on largess. In fact, it thrives. Sometimes, I think that’s all we need – a little bit of kindness. To thrive. To grow. Why then, is it so hard to find? And how ironic is it that the person who gave this plant that survives on my meager ration of kindness, never could find the kindness to stay on in my life?

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