DRAWING A LINE by Sudha N. Desai

Rani’s husband used to admire her qualities of cleanliness and
meticulousness. He often praised her in front of his friends and
colleagues. She used to keep the house spic and span. Everything would
be in its place. Clothes neatly ironed, the children’s toys properly
kept in the cupboards, the kitchen clean and the toilets dry. She was
as if obsessed with this cleanliness.

Over a period of time her husband started getting irritated with this
obsession of his wife. He would come home tired from work and would
wish to relax for sometime, but Rani would insist on his removing his
shoes outside the house and washing and drying his feet before entering.
Even after this, she would not like him to rest his feet on the table.
Every time he put down the newspaper after reading it, Rani would insist
that he folds it neatly and keeps it serially on the cupboard. She
would not let him lie down on his bed until he changed into his night

She would be so busy cleaning and keeping things in order that she would
not even sit by her husband’s side when he had his dinner. Rani’s
children too found it very difficult to keep up to her standard of
cleanliness and orderliness. Her husband started getting irritated with
her obsession as a result of which, he started staying away from his
house for longer periods of time. He spent more time with his friends
and would come home late. Gradually things came to such a pass that he
was unable to even stand the annoying look that his wife gave him every
time he did something that was not to her liking. He was looking for a
way to get out of this.

Fortunately for him, one of his friends suggested to him to visit The
Yoga Institute and meet Smt. Hansaji. He accepted the suggestion and
took an appointment with Smt. Hansaji. He brought his wife Rani along
for the meeting and explained the entire situation.
Smt. Hansaji wanted to speak to Rani in private and asked her husband to
wait outside. She told Rani to close her eyes and relax for sometime.
She then told her to visualize her house – all neat and clean, spic and
span, everything in order, everything all right except, that she was the
only on living there and her husband and children were absent. The
smile that had begun to come upon Rani’s face slowly faded away. Smt.
Hansaji next told her to visualize her house – slightly untidy, messy
and not up to her standards, but, with her husband and children happily
living with her. Smt. Hansaji now asked Rani to open her eyes and to
narrate her feelings.

While narrating her feelings Rani broke into tears. She realized how
difficult and foolish she was behaving. She said that she valued her
family more than her cleanliness. She realized that cleanliness is
good, but one has to draw a line a and know one’s limit. Inspite of all
the dusting and cleaning in one’s house, it is bound to get dirty again.
One cannot keep cleaning it the whole day. Smt. Hansaji explained to
her that what is more important is cleanliness at the mental level.
Obsession about external cleanliness, beyond a point, makes the mind
negative, which in turn makes others around you unhappy. On the other
hand, a positive and clean mind ensures happiness all around.
Thus, Rani learnt a simple lesson from Smt. Hansaji, which saved her
marriage and family from breaking down.

Published in the October 2010 edition of Yoga & Total Health Magazine.

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