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Monday, 6 November 2017

NaBloPoMo 2017: Day 6: Listen to the Mahout God

Recently, I met someone I had known several years ago. He had impressed me then as being a smart and capable young man with a lot of potential. However when I met him now, he was visibly in a condition much worse than what I had expected. Maybe he noticed the surprised look that I tried to hide without much success. Taking the bull by the horns, he addressed the issue himself. “You’re shocked to see me like this, Madam? I don’t know what came over me…got into bad company and made a mess of my life. Now, slowly, I’m trying to get back to a normal life.”

As he told me his story, I realized how, in the hot-headedness of youth, ignoring the advice of parents can be the worst thing to do.

This was one of the points mentioned by my old friend Reena when I asked for inputs on what had made a difference to her life. Reena sent me a big list of about 8 points that she had adopted and found to majorly influence the direction of her life. Each one of those deserves a post by itself and I will do justice to it sometime. For today, though, one of the things she said reminded me of the guy I mentioned before.

I remember Reena as a shy girl and beyond some small talk here and there, I hadn’t really interacted with her much. A few years ago, I met her after long; and this time, I learned a lot more about her. The shy girl had grown up into an astute businesswoman and caring mother and homemaker, who, despite having a child with special needs, didn’t act like a victim of a blow from fate.

Reena tells me today about how when she was in school, her father rarely allowed her to go out to friends' houses except to the people he knew really well. And she used to get angry with him for that because all her other classmates and friends used to get around a lot. She used to feel her father was too controlling and rigid. 

But later, from experience, she learned that someone whom her father had struck off the list of acceptable friends turned out to be really not the right sort of person. Ever since then, Reena says she understood the meaning of what her father always said, “It is your friends who can make or destroy you; so choose them carefully.”

As Reena rightly points out, when our parents give us advice, we might get angry and feel they are interfering in our space…but that is not true…they are trying to play safe for us…unfortunately we understand only when they are far away from us…

As we grow older, our parents’ opinions take a backseat as we grow more capable of taking our own decisions with maturity. But there may be significant others who raise a voice of caution when we’re rushing headlong, impulsively, into unknown territory. While the final decision remains our own, I think it’s important to at least consider the possibilities that these voices raise; think their objections through, and then decide if they ought to influence our decision. 

Why? Because of the story of the “Mahout God.” I’d written about this on my Facebook page (called Write Every Day) a few days back. Because many readers of the blog don’t follow that page, here’s that story again.

A holy man once taught his disciples to see God in everyone and everything. One of the disciples was walking in town one day when a mad elephant came charging towards him. The mahout who was following the elephant was screaming to everyone to get out of the way. This disciple thought, “Like the Guru said, the elephant is also God, so I have nothing to be afraid of,” and didn’t move. The elephant caught the disciple in his trunk and hurled him aside as it rushed ahead. The disciple lay bruised and battered at home. Later,  the holy man visited and asked why he hadn’t moved from the elephant’s path. The disciple explained his logic. The holy man then asked, “Fine, you saw the elephant-God; but shouldn’t you have listened to the mahout-God’s advice?”

We are sometimes like the disciple in this story – we rush to follow the “Elephant God” of our own mad desires, willfully ignoring the “Mahout God” of voices of reason.


  1. Really we grow older we realise our parents took d best decision for us.. Which once we disliked...


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