Saturday, April 09, 2016


There is this story which I used to love. There are different versions of it. But the one i remember vividly is what I am writing here.

There was once a king who had a son after a very long time. Needless to say, he loved his heir and took great care of him. The king had a wise teacher who was also entrusted with the care of the son. The prince grew up and was a blessing in many ways. One day, he had an accident and he lost his finger. The King told the teacher and was very upset over the incident. The teacher told him, "Everything is for the good." The lack of sympathy, upset the king so much that he sent the teacher to prison. The teacher still said, "Everything is for good. (Ellam Nanmaikae)

A few weeks later, the prince was out hunting when he was captured by a group of cannibals who wanted to sacrifice him to their gods. Since he was royalty, they were sure that the sacrifice would get them great results. Now, they had him all primed for the sacrifice when they noticed the missing little finger. Disgusted with his deformity, they sent him back as they did not want to anger their God. The king released the teacher once he got to know of this incident. The teacher's house was destroyed due to a freak accident and he had survived only because he was in jail.

Now this story is morbid in a lot of ways and perhaps a little too exaggerated. Come on, cannibals and a teacher's house getting destroyed in a supposedly secure kingdom? Well, remember one of my favorite theories? The form survives, the idea disappears? I think the idea here was of acceptance. When you truly accept what the fates have in store for you and perhaps sacrifice your idea of perfect, maybe then things will be easy.

It is easy to say but so hard to implement. If I accept that this is as good as it is going to get and keep smiling and moving forward, will things actually move? Would acceptance prevent me from striving for perfection? Is that a bad thing? How much do we sacrifice in an attempt to find that perfection? The idea of something in our head that is so fixed, that we cannot see beyond it. Is it ok to accept and embrace your reality? I have always swum in the direction I wanted, irrespective of where the currents were. Sometimes, I went along with it, sometimes I went against it. I have been battered and bruised in both instances. I believe that everything happens for a reason. But can I truly believe that everything is for good and not try to change things? Or am I reading too much and in a different direction for a folk tale? I dont know..

Am I like the king who is angry with the counsel of a perceived wise man? Or am I the wise man who has accepted and is ready to face anything that comes? Or is the wise man only supposedly wise because he is a coward and is not truly ready to accept that life is not easy and that it is going to keep hitting everyone? Is the wise man actually being insensitive? Or Am I the prince? Supposedly the cause of all trouble but actually without a role to play? Something without which there is no story, but something that truly does not have an identity beyond the creation of the story? I dont know.

I wanted to write about acceptance and moving forward with the bird in hand, but the post took a different target altogether.


The Visitor said...

I remember this story - one that I used to like. But after reading all your questions I'm confused. :D But still keep those questions going. Worth thinking about. :)

Harini Padmanabhan said...

I actually confused myself too. Earlier, the story seemed simple enough, but with time, there were just too many layers!