Month: October 2011

THE ANT WHO TAUGHT ME A LESSON

Yesterday I saw a huge ant. It looked menacing and I didn’t know what to do. It was near my computer and I knew if I ignore it, it would bite me, my daughter or my wife one day.Or bring more of its companions. Which was even more dangerous. It was conveniently near a hammer.

I respect life. But “Something as menacing as this can’t be ignored,” was the logic that prevailed.

So I picked the hammer and killed it. And made me guilty, immediately.

Something was wrong and it forced me to introspect.

That ant was a complex life form. So complex that no human being could create it.

Then did I have a right to take away its life?

And then dawned an understanding of what was wrong.

I could have picked a paper, scooped it and left it outside, in the open in an environment that was friendlier to that ant.

I would have removed the passive threat from my home and let it live.

I resolved I will do this for all life forms in the future.

And the analogy extends to human beings too.

Some people trouble us and our first reaction is to hit them with a hammer (our retorts, anger etc.) But each individual is complex and varied, adding to the diversity of human beings that has helped us come this far. Each individual has exceptional qualities not found in any.

The ant is a scavenger and is among the many animals necessary for a human being’s survival. 

Similarly, irritants like the colleague or next door neighbor who trouble us are important in creation. 

Otherwise they wouldn’t have been here among us. They all have something to teach us. Lessons we have to learn and master.

If we are not aligned to the views of these irritants, it’s best we scoop them out of our lives, mentally. We can’t set them free, but we do, ourselves. We get liberated.

The life of that ant didn’t go waste. I will ensure it won’t.

5 Bread Slices and Aloo Gobhi

He was a newbie to our office.

He brought 5 slices of brown bread and Aloo Gobhi to office everyday. He would heat it in the microwave and gulp them down with two cups of coffee.

We all shared food amongst each other and found his eccentric behaviour funny. In every other matter he was normal.

He ate alone and didnt eat with us. Besides who would want to share the kind of meal he brought to office everyday. We would have been the losers, not him.

He was ‘normal’ in every other way.

Office is office and there will be gossip behind people’s back. Everyone used to comment at his back. Laugh at him or speak in an unkind way.

This continued for two years. Then he resigned one day.

It was his last day at the office. This time when he opned his tiffin box there were no bread slices. But biryani, kadai paneer and curd. This was completely unlike him.

It was this day or never. If we didnt ask him the question that was uppermost in our mind we would all die with the mystery unsolved.

‘Sir, if you dont mind, can I ask you a question?” We formed a semi-circle around him, with him at the centre.

“Yes?” He was not the least intimidated.

“Why did you just eat those 5 slices of bread and aloo gobhi everyday? For 2 years?”

He laughed. “You took a long time to ask the question. Well, every day we take the same route to office. Everyday we sleep at exactly the same time. Every day of our life is no different from the previous. We do nothing with our lives. When every aspect of our lives is the same, why should the food be different. I vowed I would eat the same stuff as long as I would do the same thing day after day…”

“And this change today ? What’s the reason?”

“For 7 years I was trying to complete a novel I was writing. Every other distraction was welcome, because it was damn tough to work in discipline. So I took the vow. That I had to publish my book before I would get rid of those 5 slices and aloo gobhi. Yesterday the novel got accepted. I had broken my routine. Did something with my life after all.”

He shared his meal with us that day. It was the tastiest lunch I ever had.

“Please do show us the copy of the novel when it appears in print,” we told him as we saw him off.

It was amazing, we had a writer amidst us and we never knew anything about him.

While driving back home, I saw his point of view.

The same boring road. The same routine.

Life was precious and ticking by.

I too began to think of my passion. Photography.

I would have to do something about it.

Next day, I too brought 5 slices of bread and aloo gobhi.

I was not alone. Three more colleagues had the same menu.

We didnt laugh when we saw the coincidence.