A week prior to her final hospitalization, because her legs hurt if she stood for more than a few minutes, she asked me to clean the dishes – something she had not wished to burden me with until that day.
I was not exactly sloppy with the task, but such inexact standards are not what amma went by. Two days into my dishwashing, I saw her walking slowly into the kitchen, leaving me wondering what she was up to.
A couple of minutes later she emerged, and looking at me with a combination of smirk and smile said, “Go in and see”.
I was not sure what was there to see as I had completed everything. However, an inspection told me that something had changed. I came out, looked at her blankly and said “What did you do? The place definitely looks better.”
“Well, you might have done a good job of washing the tumblers, jars and pans, but you had not arranged them well on the shelf. Now, go back and check once again”
This time, I looked carefully and could see what she had done. In just a couple of minutes, she had rearranged on the shelf almost twenty utensils belonging to five categories (tumblers, jugs, pitchers..) in neat, separate rows so that each row had only that category. And it didn’t end there. Within each homogeneous row, each item was arranged by height – tallest on the left to the shortest on the right. Precisement!
Neatness and order. Every single thing had to be precisely in its place and order for amma.
There’s a good chance that her precise habits played a role in keeping her safe and away from hospitals at least a few times in the last ten years.
Fig 8: Précisément: With amma, it was all about precision. And it takes under a minute to get that precision in cases like the one above
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