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12. An Attitude for Saving
Shankarlalbhai used to wash Gandhiji’s clothes in Yerwada Jail. Once Gandhiji told him, “Don’t wash my clothes. I will wash them myself.” Shankarlalbhai thought that he might not have washed them properly, so he asked him about it. Gandhiji said, “You wash them properly. But I feel that soap is being used extravagantly. I would use this much soap for many more days.”
Shankarlalbhai assured him, “Now I would use it thriftily.” He used to think that although more soap was used but the clothes were washed quite clean. Now he had come to know how to be thrifty. One morning, Gandhiji said to him, “Shankarlal, don’t light the stove. Don’t heat the water.” “Why?” Shankarlal asked. Gandhiji told him, “The petromax is lit all night long. I think that we can put a pot of water on it so that it will be warmed till morning.” The experiment was successful. Gandhiji got warm water to drink. Shankarlal felt sorry. He thought Gandhiji was doing this to save him the trouble of lighting the stove. He said, “Perhaps you are not satisfied with me.” Gandhiji replied, “No, you were doing your job perfectly, but this is an experiment. We tried to heat water on petromax and were successful. We were able to save some coal. No need to be sorry about it!”