Welcome to a new edition of Monday Truclusions! Today, let me begin with a Hindi saying, “Kharbooze ko dekh Kharbooza rang badalta hai.” It means a watermelon ripens watching another watermelon. The above phrase is true not only for fruits but for us humans too, isn’t it?
To prove it to you, I will be taking you on a trip down memory lane to my road trip in Gujarat and will tell you about a very interesting incident that was shared with me. But before I do that, I want to tell you a story that I heard when I was a child. It goes like this:
The Tale Of Two Birds
Many years ago there lived a bird catcher who caught birds and sold them for a living. One day, he went to the woods to hunt for birds and caught two parrots. While he was on his way home, one of the parrots managed to escape.
The hunter’s child fell in love with the bird and insisted that he keep it at home. Soon, the parrot learnt the language that was spoken at the hunter’s house, it was rude and offensive.
The other bird took refuge with a sage and learnt the hymns that were chanted all the time. It learnt to be polite and nice. Many months and years passed and one day a King rode into the woods. He passed by the hunter’s house and the parrot began screaming,
“The King is coming! Catch him! Kill him!”
The King left the place pretty perturbed, but fortunately, he was mature enough not to punish the hunter for teaching the parrot such foul language. As the King rode to the other side of the woods, he passed by the sage’s hut where the other parrot had taken refuge.
That parrot spoke as follows when it saw the King coming towards it,
“Welcome your majesty, drink some water, take some rest.”
The King was intrigued to find out that behaviour and language depend on one’s surroundings.
Kindness Costs Nothing
Now, let me tell you more about an incident that was narrated to me in Ahmedabad. It is about a Gandhian couple from Baroda – Arun Dada and Meera Baa – who are both in their eighties. This story is about the house they live in. It was gifted to them 9 years ago. When they shifted into the house, they realised that their neighbour, who was in the catering business, was a drunkard and was prone to fits of violence. He would utilise the front yard of Arun Dada’s house to store alcohol, food items, and vessels.
Naturally, Arun Dada protested and somehow convinced the workers to remove these things from his yard. But that night at around 12:30 AM, they heard loud noises at their door and a rude voice shouted, “Who is Arun Bhai?”
Meera Baa, who was wheelchair bound, frantically shook Arun Dada awake. He put on his glasses and went out to see what was happening. Dada introduced himself to the furious drunk person on his doorstep. The man, with no hesitation, grabbed the old man’s collar and tried to intimidate him. The drunk roared, “How dare you turn my staff back? Do you even know who I am?”
It was his neighbour, hell bent on inflicting pain and distress on Arun Dada. In the process, cursing violently, he even struck dada’s face and broke his glasses.
To which Dada very politely responded, “Sir, you may pluck my eyes out, but you will have to remove your stuff from my front yard.”
Choosing The Higher Road
After creating a ruckus, the man finally decided to call it quits for the night. In the morning, the neighbour’s wife came to Dada’s house and apologised for her husband’s behaviour. She also offered Dada some money to replace his broken spectacles. But Dada, with his usual grace, responded, “My dear sister, I appreciate your thought but the spectacles were old and needed to be changed. My prescription has gone up significantly and the change was long overdue. Don’t worry about it.”
The lady insisted, but Dada wouldn’t take the money. Weeks later, the neighbour and Dada crossed paths again, but the neighbour did not have the courage to make eye contact. He felt embarrassed by his past behaviour. He always hung his head in shame when he saw Dada.
Arun dada felt sad about how sour the relationship had become. He started to look for ways to touch the neighbour’s heart. The opportunity Dada was looking for came most unexpectedly.
It so happened that the neighbour often have phone conversations outside and would use foul language frequently. Arun Dada and Meera Baa had to tolerate his abusive language. They endured it but were always on the look-out for an avenue to the man’s heart.
Dada overheard the man ending one of his phone calls with “Jai Shri Krishna”, an homage to Krishna, the embodiment of compassion. Dada at once went to him and said, “I heard you say ‘Jai Shri Krishna’ and it would be nice if we could say the same to each other whenever we cross paths.” It was impossible to refuse such a gentle invitation and sure enough, the man agreed. Soon this became a beautiful custom between the two that every morning when the man went out, he would call “Jai Shree Krishna” to Dada and received the same response.
One day, the customary call didn’t come and when asked the man said, “Dada, I saw you were busy reading something, hence I didn’t feel right disturbing you.”
Dada responded, “Disturbance? Not at all! Like the chirping of the birds, your words are a part of nature’s symphony. Hence continue.” The practice continues till date.
There are 4 types of people in society:
1. Those who see only the bad in others.
2. Those who look at both the good and bad.
3. Those who look at only the good
4. Those who amplify the good they see in others.
Now, I’ll leave you with some food for thought – which category do you want to belong to? Think about it.
Liked reading this? Then you might also like to read Monday Truclusions – Appreciating The Wisdom And Miracles Of Motherhood.