Op-Ed, Views & Reviews
Tomorrow never comes? It does appear every day
Jack T. Chakhesang
Every now and then one still comes across a person or two who at the drop of a hat tends to quote “Tomorrow never comes!” In his mind he has probably been convinced at some point of time or the other and hence decided that he is onto a valuable quote and would repeat it whenever and wherever possible. The beauty of it all is that a number of other people keep getting impressed by this cliché and who knows they probably have been quoting it somewhere else at some other time to impress yet others! In a sense, what the quote implies is correct. However, on pondering it further and deeper, I feel that the reverse is true also. In this context let us refer to the Hindi word “kal” for yesterday. The same word with the same spelling and pronunciation written either in Devnagari script or Roman Hindi can also mean tomorrow depending on how you frame your sentence with this particular word to refer to the past or the future. Thus, I am now of the view that “Tomorrow comes every day” which we call it “today” every day of our lives.
It would also be prudent if you “Never boast about tomorrow. You don’t know what will happen between now and then” (Proverbs 27: 1). Tomorrow is such a concept occurring every day that Jesus Christ Himself referred to it in His own inimitable style—
“This is why I tell you not to be worried about the food and drink you need in order to stay alive, or about clothes for your body. After all, isn’t life worth more than food? And isn’t the body worth more than clothes? Look at the birds: they do not sow seeds, gather a harvest and put it in barns; yet your Father in heaven takes care of them. Aren’t you worth much more than birds? Can any of you live a bit longer by worrying about it?
“And why worry about clothes? Look how the wild flowers grow: they do not work or make clothes for themselves. But I tell you that not even King Solomon with all his wealth had clothes as beautiful as one of these flowers. It is God who clothes the wild grass—grass that is here today and gone tomorrow, burnt in the oven. Won’t He be all the more sure to clothe you? How little faith you have!
“So do not start worrying: ‘Where will my food come from? or my drink? or my clothes?’ These are the things the pagans are always concerned about. Your Father in heaven knows that you need all these things. Instead, be concerned above everything else with the kingdom of God and with what he requires of you, and he will provide you with all these things. So do not worry about tomorrow; it will have enough worries of its own. There is no need to add to the troubles each day brings.” (Matthew 6: 24-34; Also refer Luke 12:22-3—GNB).
Not so long ago, a young woman asked me my age. My response: “Well, young lady, since it is only my age you ask, here is my answer.” And thus I told her. It is said that one should avoid asking any woman her age and any man his income. The concepts behind these two lines of wisdom are as follows.
It is widely taken for granted especially in the Western World that once a woman crosses the age of forty, she tends to say it is thirty-nine years and so down the line of lesser years till as far as she can get away with it.
As for asking a man his income even in our very own Nagaland, most replies tend to be exaggerated. Men do prefer to pad up or inflate their gross earnings even if they happen to be in Government service. This tendency I have noticed on many occasions.
Both versions are, therefore, misleading and so be clever, if not wise enough, to discern it all and take it all with a pinch of salt. Better still, avoid such inane questions.
Once I was attending a gathering of cousins on a holiday. There were two of them who always were at loggerheads with each other. One asked the other a clarification on something. The other mumbled this and that answer to much exasperated response. Finally the first cousin said: “Don’t try to bypass the issue. I know everything from A to Z!”
This time, the second cousin got his chance and so he riposted: “I know only from A to J. So, brother, please enlighten me on the rest!” (A gentle answer quietens anger).
On the same occasion, while the women folk were busy with laying the table and other culinary duties. Some cousins were playing cards while others the carom, chess etc. I happened to pick up an old copy of Readers Digest and as I read through “Humour in Uniform” I burst out laughing (silently) a few times. It was a while before I noticed silence all around me. I looked up and saw several brothers staring at me. One of them blurted out: “Are you mad?”
Please just guess my reply.
There were other instances too on similar lines. No animosity as such. Just banter and brotherly digs at each other making it all the more fun and memorable.
Come and satisfy yourself!
OTHER HALF OF HUMANKIND
Another popular saying in almost all cultures is that if a woman wishes to keep her husband, or man, happy the best way is to provide him satisfying meals. From this all other aspects follow. The ingredient of the menu is not as important as other factors herein involved.
The Good Book says, “Better to eat a dry crust of bread with peace of mind than to have a banquet in a house full of trouble” (Proverbs 17:1). Or even better, “Better to eat vegetables with people you love than to eat the finest meal where there is hate” (Proverbs 15:17). From this it follows that the righteous have enough to eat, but the wicked are always hungry (Proverbs 13:25).
Homes are made by the wisdom of women, but are destroyed by foolishness (Proverbs 14:1). A gracious lady is respected, but a woman without virtue is a disgrace (Proverbs 11:16). Therefore, beauty in a woman without good judgment is like a gold ring in a pig’s snout (Proverbs 11”23).
Therefore, be cautioned, “A nagging wife is like water going drip-drip-drip on a rainy day. How can you keep her quiet? Have you ever tried to stop the wind or ever tried to hold a handful of oil?” (Proverbs 27: 15).
Be that as it may, all said and done, perhaps the greatest tribute to women is “The capable wife” as enunciated in the whole chapter of Proverbs 31.
FOOD SECURITY ISSUE
The issue of food has become an important ingredient in every day life. It was indeed sad to read about the deaths of 23 school going children in Bihar on July 16 and the hospitalization of 78 students in Rajasthan a few days later because they had consumed mid-day meal which had been contaminated.
It was nice to see in one of the local papers a picture of young students enjoying their mid-day meal in Govt. Primary School, Merhulietsa, Kohima. However, despite the colour picture, the background of the school room looked dilapidated. Perhaps, the authorities concerned could do something about this forthwith.
If there are a few things initiated by the ruling UPA Government which must be lauded, they would include Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment (MGNREGA), nation-wide mid-day meal and Food Security Bill to name just a few. Even Opposition political parties cannot deny this. However, the scheme was initiated in the Southern State notably Tamil Nadu years ago.
What is relevant in food security is that food grains would be available at much subsidized rates especially for those living below poverty line (BPL) but it would also benefit those (just) above poverty line (APL).
Thousands upon thousands of tonnes of food grains have been rotting in the godowns—much to the delight of marauding rodents—while 23 million people were going hungry and scores of farmers committed suicide due to ongoing starvation. Surely the authorities concerned do still have a pang of conscience?
LAST BUT NOT THE LEAST
When it comes down to real brass tacks, it is education that does not top the list of priorities. Most important of all is to ensure that everyone in a family eats and drinks (good water at least) to his or her satisfaction. For energy and strength to be able to do whatever is necessary not only to keep alive but to sustain life itself for a better tomorrow which will become today every day so that life may continue as long as possible.
The land that we inhabit dictates what we can have as our staple diet. Be that as it may, it would be always wiser to go for organic food especially in Nagaland where there is less use of chemicals for the crops.
For this to be achieved everyone is expected to work and earn according to one’s ability. From this all other aspects of life follow. So work hard and if possible, save for a rainy day which may or may not come tomorrow or any other day.
But always be prepared for a tomorrow which may come with all kinds of surprises that will test your qualities as to how best you can deal with any contingency. All the best.