Time Bank

  • Episode 15
  • 27-10-2022
  • 12 Min Read
Time Bank

There is the story of an American attorney, who went to a village for bird hunting. There in those large wheat fields, he knew that big birds come regularly. He stood aside the rail marking the border of one of the fields, aimed one bird and shot it down. It fell on the other side of the rail. He bent through the space between lines and crossed the rail to take the bird. It was an unusually big bird, big enough for one family meal. He took the bird, but heard a shout.

“What the hell are you doing here?” The attorney turned a little and saw a lean old man there. He looked like the owner of the field. The attorney gently replied that he had come to take the bird, which he had shot. The farmer argued that the bird belonged to him because it fell on his property. Warm arguments turned hot and the attorney was not ready to submit. Right or wrong, he argued that there were clauses in the US code of laws, that say flying birds belong to none but the hunter, who shoot it.

But the farmer was not ready to leave the bird to the attorney. It seemed that anybody might jump upon the other any time. The attorney told the farmer that the matter will be taken to the court.

The farmer replied that there was another unique technique which they follow in that village, which settles all sorts of disputes and fights in no time and that very easily. The attorney was anxious to hear about that. The farmer said that both the parties were summoned and were asked to keep kicking the other. The lean among them kicks first, then the other, then the lean and it will continue until one of them submits. liked it Because the attorney knew that he is stronger than the slim farmer, he agreed to it!

The farmer got ready to give the first kick. So, he did it, hitting the attorney at his lower belly. The attorney screamed aloud. He had never imagined such a powerful stroke and that from such a thin human being. The attorney said, “Okay, now it is my turn.” The farmer replied.

“That’s true, but I have decided to submit. You may take the bird.” He turned back and walked away.

The face of the attorney was all red with shame.

The story says that even those people who are over confident on their extra smartness may fall ashamed, many times. Always there should be some legible thinking before every act. When it is old age, no smartness helps, because physically returning a kick is not possible at all. Only very few realise this and schedule their daily chorus accordingly.

Because of this unawareness, families are broken and relationships are shattered. There is the story of a young officer who had moved his old mother to an old age home. One day he received a call saying that his mother was breathing the last.

He hurried to the place immediately. He sat aside his mother and asked her if he could do anything for her. She replied that he can fix a fan in this room and also give a refrigerator for the kitchen. She said that because they did not have a refrigerator in the kitchen, they could not keep any food in reserve and she had to go to bed hungry many evenings. The son asked his mother why she did not tell him about this before. She said that it was okay for her but he may not be able to withstand these, when his children drop him here.

Most of the time, our thoughts are either shrunk like that of the attorney or torn like that of the young officer.

I remember reading a post written by an Indian student in Switzerland. He had written that people there deposit their free time in Time Banks. The officials there will let the depositor know where they may have to spend their service time. Sometimes it could be on palliative care and sometimes helping another purchase grocery. It can be some sort of humanitarian or public service. All these will be marked in their account and they can freely withdraw it when they need it most. This facility could reduce old age-related complaints in the country, to such a low point.

Doesn’t such a thing fit our country too? One thing I can assure you, all these culture/religion/politics/caste/attitude related clashes we see outside will not affect Time Banks. While lying helpless, our concern would not be any of these. In 2018, there was a heavy flood that strangled Kerala from all sides. People were caught in their own shelters and many without food. I heard the experience of a man travelling in a public bus. His journey was interrupted because of an overflowing river. They were all taken to a Lower Primary School turned relief camp. Some got only newspapers to spread down on the wet cement floor. Some fortunate people got sheets and very few got pillows. They had to spend two days there. Among them were very rich, over conservative and blindly religious too. They were clearly holding on to their understanding, the first day. The next day, everybody did submit to their fates and waited patiently for somebody to bring them food parcels. Their only wish was that they get an extra morsel.

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