12222011 - An afternoon stroll..
For a change, there is no prologue for this blog.. Its story telling time :)
It was his routine, a stroll in the afternoon around his kingdom to see how things were, expecting to see everyone doing good. On that particular day, destiny had different plans for him. His servants were struggling to keep up with his pace - holding a giant umbrella which shielded the king from the scorching rays of the sun. The land was dusty but this did not bother him. As he walked by, many people came outside to greet him and wish him well. The elders wished the king good health and the young bowed in front of him as a sign of respect, and why not, he had ruled his kingdom with great wisdom and valor. People offered him cool water, fruits and other delicacies which the king accepted with humbleness and gratitude. The act of sharing food to him was a sign of being self sufficient and content.
The king was almost done with his stroll when he saw an old man, perhaps in his 80's, sitting on the ground in the afternoon's heat. He got curious and walked towards the old man. The old man was digging the dusty land with a shovel. His age had robbed him of this strength, but not his will and persistence. Little by little he dug the ground trying to create a niche. Beside him was a bucket full of water and a plant. The king got curious. He addressed the old man, "Hey! Old man, what are you doing ?"
The old man turned around, it took a minute for his eyes to adjust to the bright sunlight. He saw the silhouette of his king. He looked at him, smiled, blessed him and said, "I am planting a coconut plant, my lord".
Raising his eyebrows the king questioned, "A coconut plant?"
The old man continued to smile and said, "Yes, a coconut plant"
To which the king asked, "And how old are you?"
"80... 85, i do not know, i have lost count of my age my lord" came the response.
"How long do you think the plant will take to grow and bear fruits??"
"Perhaps, more than 10 years my lord"
"And do you think you will live that long?" questioned the king!
The old man smiled back and said, "No, if I live for another 5 years, its a miracle!"
The king was confused, "When you know you are not going to survive, why are you taking the trouble of planting a coconut plant, whose fruits you can not enjoy!!".
The old man replied, "Oh king, I was thinking today, and I realized, that I love tender coconut water and I have had them to my stomach's full through out my life. But, none of the trees from which I took the coconuts were planted by me. They were planted by my elders and fore-fathers. It was because of their efforts that I was able to enjoy the fruit. Now, how can I go without doing my part ?? I am going to plant this and water it everyday so that my children and their children can enjoy its sweet fruit".
The king was amazed, an elderly subject of his kingdom with such commitment and dedication, this was his moment of felicity. He ordered his servant to bring a bag of gold coins. He rewarded the old man for his dedication and thought and was about to leave. The old man interrupted. He smiled at the king and said - "My lord..", the king turned back, the old man showed the bag of gold to him and said, "look, my plant has born fruits here". The king simled at the witty answer, he gave him another bag of gold and said, "If I stay here longer, you are going to rob me of all my wealth". They both parted their ways.
I love this story for two simple points in it:
1. The old man's thought to share fruits of his work even after he is gone, ie. the thought of "giving back" to the society and his persistence in doing what he wants to do, not letting the age stop him. There is a saying in sanskrit: Alasyam hi manushyaanaam sharirasto mahan ripuhu. Translation: Laziness is the biggest enemy of the body. Procrastination of late has become a habit. I have to start procrastinating procrastination :) .. any advice here on how to do it, is welcome :)