Dear Darling Friends,

 

 

Ashay has been closely watching his uncle Vinod for the past few days. He was on a holiday to his native village Shilapur where he was staying with his uncle. Since the village offered no special entertainment, wherever he went, his uncle took him too.

 

 

In the village everybody seemed to know uncle. So often a journey of 200 mtrs from home to his shop would take almost ten minutes to cover. And the greetings exchanged were not just formal or ritualistic. They were enthusiastic and lively. “Hmmm, looks like my uncle is a popular man here” he thought with pride.

 

 

Uncle had a textile shop. The whole day used to be occupied with work. Since Ashay wanted to be of help to his uncle, he used to sit on the cash counter. He was thoroughly enjoying his encounters with the rustling notes and the jingling coins. Every time a customer would come to pay, Ashay used to get excited. Every time he returned the change, he would feel tremendous excitement again.

 

 

Sometimes he would be clumsy in his efforts. The response from the customers varied. Some would be patient; some would be encouraging, while some would just laugh at it. Uncle, was always appreciative.

 

 

In a few days he realized uncle was like this with everyone. His employees sometimes made mistakes. Uncle did correct them but his gestures and words were always filled with respect. Sometimes customers would be unreasonable. He would still be a man of patience.

 

 

Over dinner one night, Ashay asked his uncle Vinod, “From where do you get so much patience? How are you so respectful towards irritating people?”

 

 

Uncle just smiled and continued to eat. They finished dinner. Everyone else was engrossed in some television serial inside the house. Vinod and Ashay were sitting in the verandah just outside the house.

 

 

Uncle caught his eyes and asked him, “Beta, what is dharma?”

 

 

After a little thinking Ashay answered, “Doing one’s duty?”

 

 

“You are right!” said uncle. There were a few moments of silence. And then uncle said, “Beta you are absolutely right when you say ‘dharma’ means doing one’s duty. All creations have their duties. We humans have it, the eagle that flies in the air has it, the dog on the street has it, and the snakes that crawl on earth also have it. But do you know a fundamental difference between the duties of human beings and other creations?”

 

 

Ashay had never ever in his life thought on this question. For reasons unknown to him, he found himself interested in this discussion. He however had no clue of an answer to uncle’s second question.

 

 

Understanding this uncle said, “Beta, I believe there is a difference between the duties of a human being and that of other creations. The ‘law of the jungle’ governs all other creations. This law says ‘might is right’. This law leads to ‘survival of the fittest’. If the mother snake is hungry, without remorse it can eat up its own children. Why? Because the mother snake is mightier than her children. Here might is right!

 

 

With a pause Uncle added, “However, in the human kingdom, might is not necessarily right. Even those who do not have might, do have rights!!!”

 

 

This was sounding very interesting. Vinod uncle had Ashay’s total attention. This was making so much sense.

 

 

Uncle continued, “Unfortunately, today we see ugly exhibition of the animal in the human more often that the human in the human. Humans cannot base their life on domination, revenge, punishment, creating fear and ensuring control. Human life must be based on love, forgiveness, sharing, serving and lifting others. I am just attempting to do my best in living a human life. If the almighty god has given me certain strengths, I believe it is my duty to strengthen others and not to exploit others. The weak, the meek and the helpless have equal rights to respect and dignity. My duty is to help them the best way I can.”

 

 

Ashay knew, after this experience with his uncle, his life would never be the same again. What he thought as a routine small holiday was turning out to be life changing. He wanted to listen to his uncle more but uncle had become silent.

 

 

Uncle looked concerned, thoughtful and peaceful. He looked at Vinod, smiled and he got up. Only then Vinod realized the sound from the television had stopped, the house was looking dark. This meant others had already gone to sleep.

 

 

Uncle left to sleep leaving an awakened Ashay behind. The thoughts that kept on lingering in his mind was, “In the animal kingdom might is right. In the human kingdom everyone has equal rights. I will never ever use my might (health, intelligence, money, education, position, experiences) to exploit the weak but I will use all my might to lift myself and enough others.”

 

 

Dearest Darling readers, do you think Ashay’s uncle Vinod, was right?

 

 

With love, prayers and exceptional wishes,

 

 

naren

 

 

Imagine, when we wake up, we are given only what we had thanked for.

 

 

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