THE FAMILY HEARTH

Outline: Gives comfort to the mind and solace to the body – beehive (“honeyed sweetness”) – seat of warmth and kindness – the family hearth – contrast – my home and its surroundings – summing up.

Home is indeed the only place which gives solace to the mind and comfort to the body. We are like birds that fly away looking for good and come back to our homes as birds do in the evening. Work becomes sweeter and less boring with the prospect of returning to a happy home. Thus all the worries to eke out a livelihood disappear into the air.

There is, without doubt, no place like home. It is the soothing influence of a beloved and happy home that calms the intensity of the feelings, which the work-a-day world excites. Home can be compared to a bee-hive. There may be a lot of toil, there may be disorder, but there will always be “honeyed sweetness”.

No place becomes one so well as the home, however humble. It is a seat of warmth and kindness. It has love without selfishness. It is at home that one develops the chaste love of the heart. Home is the most suitable place to cultivate virtue and goodness. These two great qualities make one happy. At home one is away from envy, jealousy, ambition and greed. A peaceful home gives one rest, so that one can face the troubles of the world with redoubled energy every day.

“The family hearth” is a famous expression in England? The family hearth or home curbs the influence of vice.

Home is the only place for the purest of enjoyments. Home life is a life of sweet content, and, therefore, home-loving people are truly happy. The thrill of the lighted ball- rooms or of midnight revels is short-lived. It always leaves behind it a bitter taste. One’s own fireside is the only island in life’s stormy ocean. As William Cowper has so aptly put it: “Domestic happiness, thou only bliss, of Paradise that hast survived the Fall”. People at home are “far from the madding crowd’s ignoble strife”, and in the midst of calm and quite.

I come from a small village in Satara District. I lived in a hut built of clay and rubble and thatched with cornstalks and hay. The walls and floors inside are coated over with cow dung. My home is a humble rustic dwelling. Yet it is clean and neat and airy. To speak of the surrounding countryside is a difficult matter, since it contains so much of beauty that to describe it in detail would be next to impossible. Here in this lovely countryside, surrounded be the western gates, are to be found well-stocked trout streams, many of which are as big as any salmon river in Scotland. They afford excellent sport to the lover of’ the gentle art”.

A stately forest of trees looms up before my humble hut. The little lake behind my house is a sheet of burnished silver in the moonlight. Away on the Shivaji Parbat is silhouetted against the skyline with the fort crowning its summit. Beyond is a small arbour, fast falling into decay, built doubtless in the days of the Moghuls at the caprice of the queen or a light of love.


While summing-up I may say that home exercises a fine influence on character. It shapes character most solidly, to withstand the troubles of life. The spirit is guarded against temptation and is prepared for a brave new world?’

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