Monday, December 7, 2020

A Carpenter's Gift

(I read this lovely story years back somewhere without the author’s name. I wish to share with you for the moral in it. How I wish we had such carpenters in the present day world ridden with suspicion, strife and hatred.) 
Once upon a time two brothers who lived on adjoining farms fell into conflict. It was the first serious rift in 40 years of farming side by side, sharing machinery, and trading labour and goods as needed without a hitch.
 Then the long collaboration fell apart. It began with a small misunderstanding and it grew into a major difference, and finally it exploded into an exchange of bitter words followed by weeks of silence.
 One morning there was a knock on elder brother's door. He opened it to find a man with a carpenter's toolbox. "I'm looking for a few days’ work. Perhaps you would have a few small jobs here and there. Could I help you?" he said.
 "Yes," said the older brother. "I do have a job for you. Look across the creek at that farm. That's my neighbor, in fact, it's my younger brother. Last week there was a meadow between us and he took his bulldozer to the adjoining river and now there is a creek between us. Well, he may have done this to spite me, but I'll give him one better. See that pile of lumber curing by the barn? I want you to build me a fence - an 8-foot fence - so I won't need to see his place anymore. Cool him down, anyhow."
The carpenter said, "I think I understand the situation. Show me the nails and the post-hole digger and I'll be able to do a job that pleases you."
The older brother had to go to town for supplies, so he helped the carpenter get the materials ready and then he was off for the day.
The carpenter worked hard all that day measuring, sawing, nailing.
 About sunset when the farmer returned, the carpenter had just finished his job. The farmer's eyes opened wide, his jaw dropped.
There was no fence there at all. It was a bridge... a bridge stretching from one side of the creek to the other! A fine piece of work handrails and all - and the neighbor, his younger brother, was coming across, his hands outstretched. 
"You are quite a fellow to build this bridge after all I've said and done." 
The two brothers stood at each end of the bridge, and then they met in the middle, taking each other's hand. They turned to see the carpenter hoist his toolbox on his shoulder. 
"No, wait! Stay a few days. I've a lot of other projects for you," said the older brother.
 "I'd love to stay on," the carpenter said, "but, I have many more bridges to build."

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Teaching a child

I chanced to see this lovely poem
by an unknown author and wish to share with you.
I hope you like it for its beauty and the message

How shall we teach
A child to reach
Beyond himself
And touch the stars
We who stooped so much?

How shall we tell
A child to dwell
With honour, live and die
For Truth
We who have lived a lie?

 How shall we say
To him' the way
Of life is through the gate
Of Love'
We, who have learned to hate?

How shall we dare
to teach him Prayer
and turn him toward the way
Of faith
We who no longer pray?

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Inconvenient truths

I found this in My documents folder and do not remember when I wrote this,may be in 2009 or earlier
Sometimes we do not say what is in our mind for fear of hurting people. This silence can cause problems. Contrarily we tell immediately what is in our mind and this also can create misunderstandings. What do we do? There is no hard and fast rule. There is a time and place for everything. A wrong timing or place can do harm to relationship.
Sharmila did not mean to hurt Sanjay.Yet when he came from office and went straight to give her a bear hug, she said, “Sanjay, you smell a lot. Take a wash and change your dress before you come near me. Sorry, don’t take me amiss.”
It was a truthful statement as he was stinking after the long drive in the afternoon to the project site. The ‘sorry’ did little to assuage the hurt in Sanjay.He looked at her with anger in his eyes and moved away. Sharmila did not expect him to react this way to what she considered a reasonable comment. She was right but chose a wrong moment especially when he was wishing to express his love for her after a long day. She could have mentioned later when they watched TV after dinner.
When he came after the bath, he did not go near her but sat on the sofa to watch TV. She knew he was upset. When she took a cup of tea that he usually took, he declined saying he didn’t need it.
“Why are you angry? Even the kids have complained that you stink. You know I am your well wisher and if I don’t tell you, who will? Your friends, you must have noticed, are probably keeping away from you” said Sharmila. This made matters worse. The act of deriving support from the statements of children and an insinuation that friends are possibly keeping away infuriated him. He refused to believe what he considered a hearsay statement from the kids.
He blurted out in anger “I have not been telling you not wishing to hurt your felicity that every time I come near you, your mouth repels me. You don’t brush your teeth well. Often I feel like throwing up. Being considerate, I have been putting up with you. Don’t think you are a paragon of cleanliness and personal hygiene.”
What started an innocuous statement had graduated into full blown mutual possibly exaggerated accusations and resulted in both going to bed without their dinner.
There was no attempt on both sides to understand each other. The issues were never dealt with patiently at anytime but started as accusations. Instead of indulging in ridicule or sarcasm, there should have been a friendly chat when both were in happy mood and in receptive mood to other’s view points. It must be agreed by both that the arguments resulted from a real issue that had to be resolved. Putting up with sweat and smell, however close the couple might be, is certainly not conducive for bonding. The initial dislike may run the risk of spiraling into incompatibility. The entire unpleasant situation could have been avoided had care been taken about timing and also either of them ending the argument by some acceptance of some responsibility. Ego has no place in close relationships.
Some tactics may help.
See the purpose behind the accusation or argument. If the intention is honest and shows a genuine concern from the accuser, accept it with grace and address it in a comfortable manner.
Avoid ridicule, sarcasm, and offending tone. The purpose of the argument is lost if anger is provoked without eliciting a proper response to the message that is conveyed.
Never resort to making others agree that you were right and that the mistake lay with them. Just leave the message directly in pleasant tone which would be surely be taken note of.

May be if all these things fail, it may be necessary to show resentment and show anger to make others know that you are interested in them and care for them. But that should be the last resort. Expressing resentment is preferable than suffering in silence and allowing the chasm to grow wider. In some cases, anger may trigger affection and emotional closeness too.

Friday, March 4, 2016

The sweet aroma of faith

As I was browsing through the net, I came upon this nice post in reading of the story reinforces the belief that total faith in the Supreme relieves one from the pressures of life’s problems
“You will never look at a cup of coffee the same way again. A young woman went to her mother complaining about her hard life. She was tired of fighting and struggling.
Mother invited her into the kitchen. Here she filled three pots with water and placed each on a high burner. They chatted while she placed carrots, eggs and ground coffee beans, separately, in each of the three pans. In about twenty minutes she turned off the stove. The contents of each pan were placed, apart from one another, in two dishes and a cup
Now, she spoke, "You see Carrots, eggs, and coffee." The daughter was asked to feel the carrots - they were soft. With the shell removed, it was obvious the eggs had become hard. Finally, she asked her to sip the coffee. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.
The daughter asked, "What's this all about?" Her mother explained that all three ingredients had faced boiling water, but each reacted differently. The hard carrot softened and became weak. The liquid egg contents had become hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were boiled they had changed the water.
"Which are you most like?" she asked her daughter. "When trouble knocks, how does it affect you? Are you like the carrot, the egg, or the coffee bean?" Think of this: The ground up coffee bean actually changed the hot water, the very circumstance that brings pain. When the water gets hot, the coffee releases the fragrance and flavor. Faith in God is like that.

If you are a faith-filled believer, when things are at their worst, you release the love of God that changes both yourself and the situation around you. When the hours are the darkest and trials are their greatest, you let go and let God have his way. This is how a believer makes the difference in adversity. It's called the sweet aroma of faith”

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

The journey

As the end of life's journey is uncannily felt near,
The soft thuds of ‘Kala's’ footsteps I seem to hear.
Thoughts of my wasted life bring me little cheer
And the spectre of unknown dark ahead makes me fear.

While my life unwinds in my mind like a film surreal
As I espy my foolish chase  for things ephemeral
In pursuit of endless desires -sensual and material,
I feel like a wretch having gambled life for unreal.

Deep inside me, I have always had a nagging fear,
Having spent my life without much of His thought
 In acts, that would not have pleased His heart,
My final prayer made in dread,He may not hear.

Still, I strive to chant His thousand names
And utter some hymns that speak of His fame
But the thoughts of near and dear hinder me,
Even as  the failing memory makes a fool of me.

My tears are mistaken for my loathe to die
And not as the upshot of my deep remorse
For my failure to grasp the life's real purpose
And a life wasted approaching its inevitable close.

(kala means time or a form of Yama the god of death)

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Break the Egg from inside

I received this wonderful message in whats app and wished to share with you

Break the Egg from Inside - Maulik Unadkat
One night Rabia, a noble Sufi saint, was desperately searching for something on the street outside her small hut. When Hasan, returned back from work, he saw this and curiously asked, “Rabia, my dear, what are you looking for, here on the street, at this hour?”
Rabia replied, “I lost my needle.”
Hasan joined her in the search, but after searching for a while, he asked, “Can you try and recollect where you might have dropped it?”
Rabia said, “Of course, I remember. I dropped it near the bed, in our hut.”
Hasan mocked her, “Are you insane? You lost it inside the house, then why are we looking for it outside?”
Rabia innocently replied, “There was no oil left in our lamp. It was pitch dark inside the house to search for it. Hence I thought of searching for it outside, since there was enough streetlight here.”
While holding his laugh, Hasan said, “You are really acting weird. If you lost your needle inside the house, how could you even expect to find it outside?”
Rabia simply smiled back at Hasan and Hasan got the beautiful moral behind her silly act. We are all seeking outside, what we have lost inside us. Why, just because it is pitch dark inside? Silly, aren’t we? Light the lamp inside you. Find your lost treasure.
As children, we were all so happy. Somewhere along the journey of life, we lost our happiness. Where did we start searching for it again? Outside! We do not need the latest Smartphone, a 7 digit salary, a beach house or a long vacation to be happy.  Happiness is an INSIDE job. Nothing in this world outside will make us happy, if we are unhappy from inside. Many a times, people who have much less than us are much happier than us. Happiness is self generated. You are not expected to be unrealistically happy when your life may be miserable. When life is harsh on you, stay at peace and wait for happy days peacefully. This too shall pass. When your peace of mind is lost, remember where to look for it, INSIDE.
We keep looking for God in the world outside, while He resides inside each one of us. God can never be found outside but that doesn’t mean temples are useless. Temples help us connect with the God inside us. God is lost somewhere inside us, in the darkness of our disbelief and our ignorance. Light the lamp and search, the postal address of God is INSIDE.

If an egg is broken by an outside force, a LIFE ENDS. If broken by an inside force, a LIFE BEGINS. You will find all the treasures of life, all the secrets of life inside you. Stop looking outside. Break the egg from inside, let LIFE BEGIN.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Add glamour to life by calculated risks

In our lives we are often confronted with situations where the future outcome is not clear. We tend to weigh the pros and cons but still remain undecided, or opt for a safe path that is always less attractive. Nevertheless in day to day life, we are to take risks constantly, we cross the road hoping that vehicle users would follow the rule of road, we take our food in restaurants hoping the food is made hygienically, take our medicines trusting they are not fake duplicates and submit ourselves to treatment believing the doctors know their job well. Even marrying a person is a risky gamble until everything turns out to be fine. In business risks are taken day in and day out based on reasonable conjectures of the market, supplies and margin. One cannot play safe waiting for the waves to subside to take a sea bath. It never happens. Risk free road where no vehicles ply is the busiest boulevard but no successful men are found there.
We must remember that all risks are not the same. There are some risks that are just dumb, foolish and chancy like buying a lottery ticket, placing a bet on a horse over which you have no control or playing roulette in a casino to win a jackpot. But many are reasonable risks which one has to take perforce, intelligent risks, where the benefits outweigh the disadvantages. In the evaluation where all factors have been taken into account, it would be foolish to let go an idea where the positive outcome is more than negative fallout. If the damage by failure is minimal or manageable, the risk should be taken and an opportunity to make good should not be lost by excessive caution. "A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” -John A Shedd
Take the simple example of a young lover wanting to propose to his girl friend but afraid of possible .rejection. If he fails to take the risk of proposing to her and face whatever her response is, he would surely miss the girl forever. While we should give a wide berth to reckless dumb risks, we should not fail to avail intelligent risks. Otherwise our lives would be ordinary with no glamour or success.Every decision has an element of risk.No risk means no success.
There are a couple of things,however to bear in mind like taking a long term view of the decision and the likely positive outcomes and not being guided by a few cases of failure we often hear about. Success may not be immediate but one should work putting in maximum efforts and hoping the intelligent risk taken will pay out well at the end. Success is not for cowards. Those who refuse to lean towards risks by bending with each storm of life may never get hurt but their character to be daring would be irreparably hurt.
There is a proverb ‘Everybody pushes a falling fence’. You can never command respect. We can easily distinguish the leader among men just by looking at a pack of animals cowering under danger. Suddenly one animal steps forward and moves towards the danger. This halts the other terrified many. So is the case among men too. The leader takes an intelligent risk and assumes charge of the situation. This ability to take risk distinguishes the grain from the chaff