WASTE NOT WANT NOT
EVERYTHING has a use and a value of its own. Even the serpent’s poison, when turned into vaccine, can save the life of persons bitten by snakes. Yet, we often see persons foolishly wasting articles of food, money, time and energy.
The habit of making the most careful and intelligent use of all things is called “thrift.” A rich person without thrift may become poor in no time. A thrifty person, though not rich, can lead a happier life than a rich man with wasteful habits.
Mahatma Gandhi’s habit of thrift often surprised his followers. One day, Miraben (an English lady who had joined Gandhiji’s ashram) saw the Mahatma searching for something all over his room. Seeing his worried face, Miraben asked him, “What are you searching for, Bapuji? Have you lost anything?” “Yes,” said Bapuji, “a pencil.” “How big was that? Was it a new pencil?” she asked again, hoping to help him in finding it out. “It’s the one I was using, just the size of your thumb.” All others in the room wondered why Bapuji felt so much worried over the small stump of a pencil.
Someone came with a new pencil and gave it to Bapuji. “I don’t want a new pencil,” he said. “I want the one I’ve been using for the last three weeks.” The search continued and at last the lost stump of pencil was found in one of his files. “Ah!” said Bapuji with a beaming smile, as though he was saved from committing a grave sin.
Once Bapuji was on tour along with Miraben. They were camping in a village. Bapuji was in the habit of taking some honey with his meal. Miraben had forgotten to bring with her the honey bottle when leaving the ashram. So, she got a new honey bottle from the bazaar. Everything was ready for lunch. As Bapuji took his seat, his eyes fell on the brand new honey bottle and he asked, “What happened to the honey bottle we were using?” “I forgot to bring it, Bapuji,” said Miraben. “So, you bought a new one!” said Bapuji, a little annoyed. “The money which we spend is people’s money. We can’t afford to waste it. I can’t have this honey till the bottle we were using is consumed.”
Bapuji did just what he said. He went without honey till the tour was over and he was back in the ashram – where the old honey bottle awaited him.
- What is “thrift”? Why should we practise it?
- Suppose you win a prize of Rs. 100/-. What will you do with that money?
- Indicate – at least four ways in which people often waste each of these three-
- (a) Money (b) Time (c) Energy.