Rashmi Pappu » Photographer


Hard work spotlights the character of people:  some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don’t turn up at all. ~Sam Ewing


These are the hands of AjiBai. She has worked with my Aunt and Uncle for three decades. Sweeping. Mopping. Dishes.Laundry. With a house full of kids a couple of decades ago.. her work was very hard. But I don’t ever hear her complaining while we kids tossed our clothes in the wash or a spoon in the sink without a thought to the fact that this would be WORK for  her.

Once in a while a new photographer in the area will email me, asking for some tips and ideas. The biggest one is just practice practice practice.. know your camera inside out and then work hard. The photography part is fun. The business part is work. Hard work.

I always think about my parents and grandparents generation. They had to work hard for decades before they were able to buy their first car, their first home, their first real vacation. I think perhaps our generation is much less patient. Overnight fame and success.. these come to a few people. But most just work hard, work sincerely, work diligently. It is also an ethic that we need to pass down to our children.. the instant gratification generation. I think we teach our kids the value of work by giving them chores. My three year old is expected to make her bed. She doesn’t do a perfect job but she tries. They help me with emptying the dishwasher, setting the table, sorting out laundry. They clean up their rooms, put their clothes away. Do these things really matter? Does an unmade bed matter? That is up for debate. But I do think they need to realize that these things are work.. that work is not always fun. That their parents work hard.

What are your thoughts on working? For yourself, your parents, your kids?

Here is Ajibai.



  • Lana - Rashmi, I absolutely love the hands picture. Our pastor at our church talks a lot about doing all things excellently. I have found that so many people do not try at all and have no work ethic. (i.e. some of Carmen’s night nurse) And they sure don’t want to pull up their sleeves and do any hard work.
    Great post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Sally - Beautiful portrait of her hands. I love images of hands, especially ones with such beautiful features. In art school I did a whole semester documenting hands’ activities. Thanks for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Sarah - I agree that our kids, and even adults, are into instant gratification. I find the more “instant” things are getting, the more ADHD I feel and the less patient I am. I can only imagine what Max’s generation will be like. I love the idea of teaching kids that things take work. I try to get Max to help me whenever I think about it now, even though he’s only 20 months. Of course now it’s a novelty, but I want him to have the idea that as part of a family, we all pitch in.

    My parents were really good at this, though it annoyed me growing up. Whenever we went to a function (usually church), everyone else would skitter out and my parents would make us stay and help clean up – even if we weren’t signed up for it. They made us realize that most people will make excuses and hightail it out of there not caring that SOMEONE has to clean up. I think it helped open my eyes to what people do behind the scenes and gave me appreciation when anyone does anything for me. Keep up the good work, Rashmi!

    On top of teaching “work” I also feel I need to teach Max to learn to be bored. I see all these new cars with TWO DVD players in them and, while I’m not above using them for a long trip, I think this is a terrible lesson to teach kids. I think learning to occupy yourself is such a valuable life skill and by offering our children CONSTANT entertainment, they lose out on the ability to be creative and deal with boredom.

    One final thought, a dear coworker of mine had a phrase she used with her kids sometimes when they thought something was beneath them: “We all have to clean toilets sometimes.” It’s not fun, but it’s necessary and makes you a better person.

    Thanks, Rashmi, love your blog!ReplyCancel

  • alpana - Love the hands photo, R. Isn’t it amazing how the bai’s stay active and working for years and years? R makes his own bed and a few other things. I think his generation has far more in terms of material things than we did at that age. Not his fault really but I think there is an expectation of being able to get things. “Treats” are such every day things- eating out, getting toys, etc or even trips. He has flown 5-6 times and my first airplane trip was in my 20’s. I don’t know if there is an easy answer to it.ReplyCancel

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *