The Mouse in the House

Below is an incident from my childhood which I remembered today.
“There must be atleast two or three of them.”, said my mother referring to the sightings of rats in our house which had become more frequent in the last few days.
“Yes, at least two. One of them is bigger than the other.”, I replied.
“Let’s set up a trap for them. Otherwise they will become a nuisance.” 
“Ok. Let me go and get them.”, I said as I rushed to the store room to get the mouse trap. “Should I set it up?”, I asked my mother, excited by the idea of baiting and trapping a mouse and rushed towards the refrigerator. I took out a small piece of dried bread from the refrigerator and was fixing it in the trap when my mother interrupted.
“Hey, what are you doing? A cold piece of dried bread? Let me cook a small piece of roti and we will apply some ghee and put it in the trap.”
“What? Roti? Ghee? Why the hell do we want to treat the rats with roti and ghee?”, I shouted as I found it hard to understand.
mouse trap

A typical mouse trap – Giving them what they want

“Because we want the mouse to do what we want (enter the trap), we must give them what they want (which is the nice smell of food). They won’t come into the trap if we just lure them with a dried piece of bread. These mice are not foolish. We have to lure them with what they can’t resist, which is the smell of roti and ghee.”

“Ok. If that is how it works.”, I said.
As I recalled this incident from my childhood, I was totally moved by the great lesson it has. My mom very clearly demonstrated that if we want someone to do what we want him to do, we must give him what he wants. But in our daily conversations, how often do we talk about the other person’s needs. We always start our conversations with “This is what I am doing, and this is what I want. And you should do this – buy this, act like this, or some other blah blah blah.” The other person must think on hearing this – “Why the hell in the world do I care about what you want?”
Only if we can keep in mind what the other person wants and start our conversations with his needs, and without doubt we can get the desired result more easily. Whether it is in sales or business or personal relationships, this one realization can change our lives.

Prescription Before Diagnosis

Scene 1

“I am having difficulty seeing properly. It seems a haze or cloud cover is between my eyes and the things out there”, said Ramesh, finally sitting in front of the doctor after waiting for two hours outside as the patient queue cleared.

“Maybe your eye-sight is getting weak. Here, take my glasses. You can use these. I have been using these for many years and they work fine for me. I have an extra pair of glasses at home, I will use those.”, said the doctor.

Ramesh, a little surprised now, remarked – “But wouldn’t you want to test my eyes first?”. He was certainly expecting a little more after the excruciating wait outside his clinic. “The least they could do was offer tea or coffee to the waiting patients”, he thought as he stared at the doctor’s face.

“Are you the doctor or me? I have used them for many years. Try these now and see for yourself.”, the doctor said, handing over the glasses to Ramesh.

“O..o..h..h..k..k”, uttered Ramesh as he reluctantly took the glasses and tried them on. As he expected, his vision got even worse, and he removed the glasses at once.

“What’s the matter?”, asked the doctor.

“I couldn’t see anything after putting them on. Now even my head is hurting.”

“What?? You must not have focused enough. The glasses are perfect, they will work for you too. Just try harder this time.”

“I am not putting them on again. I thought you would give a prescription after proper diagnosis. Now it looks I am only wasting my time here.”, said Ramesh as he got up and left the doctor’s cabin.

Don't prescribe before diagnosing

Don’t prescribe before diagnosing

Scene 2

“What’s the matter Neha, you seem unusually quiet today?”, asker her mother as the usually chirpy Neha as not spoken a word since she returned from school this afternoon.

“Nothing mother”, chirped little Neha.

“I know there is something. I only care for your welfare, so tell me what is bothering you.”

“You won’t understand.”

“Just try it dear. You will only feel better. And I am sure I can relate to whatever is going on in your mind and suggest a way out.”, her mother persisted.

“Hmm.. Mummy, I just don’t like going to school anymore.”

“Not feel like going to school anymore? Do you know how much we have sacrificed to make sure you can go to a good school and have a quality education? Your whole future depends on your education, and you don’t feel like going to school anymore?”

“But it is too hard, Ma”, muttered Neha, realizing that she should have stayed quiet in the first place.

“Learn something from your elder sister. If you apply yourself in your studies a little harder, even you will start enjoying it. You need to understand education is the foundation your future will be built upon”, said the mother with a tone of her voice finally coming back to normal.

Neha went back to being quiet.

Scene 3

For the third scene, lets imagine a similar scene from our own lives where he have been too quick to pass judgement or offer solutions. A scene where we want the other person to understand our point of view before making any effort to understand theirs. I am sure it would neither be too difficult to recall such a scene nor much different from any of the above scenes.

The Little Boy With His Hugs

There is so much we can learn from little boys and girls if we just observe them play, laugh and cry in their day to day activities. Recently I saw a little boy in a shopping mall with his parents. Suddenly, out of nowhere, he starts running and hugged the left leg of a girl coming from the opposite direction. The girl immediately smiled at seeing this little boy’s smile and innocence, and hugged him back and even lifted him in her arms. The parents looked a little embarrassed at first, but were smiling themselves soon.

A hug is a great gift - one size fits all, and it's easy to exchange.

A hug is a great gift – one size fits all, and it’s easy to exchange.

With the girl gone, the boy started looking for someone to run towards again. Sensing this, his dad said “Now no more running around, hold my hand and walk like a good boy.”

But before I could look anywhere else, he got his finger free from his father’s grip and starting running again. This time, he crashed into an elderly man who was talking over the phone to somebody, and looked a little tensed or worried.

“Get off me”, he said to the boy, but you know kids, and he held on.

“Leave uncle alone, you are hurting him”, said his father as he tried to take him away from the old man. He said sorry to the old man too, in the meanwhile.

“Ok, I have something here, I will call you later”, said the old man to whoever he was talking to. He then looked at the boy, waved his hand on the boy’s head and smiling at him, said “What is your name?”

Seeing the old man smiling, the boy loosened his grip, shied a little bit, muttered his name (which I couldn’t hear) and then again held his father’s hand and started walking.

Sometimes gestures can do more good than any combination of words coming out of our mouths. It seemed that this boy had a gift of hugs, and he went about distributing them to strangers, spreading smiles all around. The world would be a much better place, if we can also focus a little bit more on gestures of love than on words.

Flash The Fish – And The Search for The Big Ocean

There lived a fish so wonderful in the ocean that the tales of its beauty has reached far far lands. Her name was Flash. It was vibrantly colored with a tail called the “half moon“. All the other fish were envious of Flash for its long finned tail and brilliant colors. Its “D” shaped tail with sharp and crisp edges form almost a 180 degree angle. Flash also had the proud heritage of belonging to a rare family of fish who could breathe directly from air (apart from water).

But Flash had a worry. She was worried about and constantly looking for this thing called the “ocean“. She had heard about it and how beautiful and vast it was, but she couldn’t find it. She wandered all around the water, looking beneath the rocks and beyond the danger area where predator fishes reside, but to no avail. Her life was perfect in so many ways, but yet the meaning of ocean eluded her, and that spoiled her days.

Flash The Fish and the Search for the Great Ocean

Flash The Fish and the Search for the Great Ocean

She looked worried and anxious at all times due to this never ending search, and it started to impact her beauty too.

Word came one day to Flash that there was a wise teacher who knew the secrets behind the elusive ocean that she had been looking for. Without wasting a second, Flash waded through the currents, had to cross some very narrow ridges between under-water rocks to finally reach the place where the teacher was. She had heard that this teacher understood the meaning of the “great ocean”.

Flash finally asked, “Teacher, what is the great ocean? Where can I find it? Please tell me the secret, please. I have looked all around but couldn’t find it.”

And the teacher simply laughed. His laughter had a sense of calmness that only someone wise can display. It seemed like a song in perfect melody. But he just laughed.

— End of Story —

Why do you think the teacher simply laughed? What was the secret? Did he knew about the vast ocean?

Perhaps it was because the fish was in the ocean and yet looking for it. Separate the fish from the water, and there is no possibility of life. The ocean was its life. But Flash just didn’t realize it, and wasted all its beauty and other unique traits in this mindless search for the elusive ocean.

When was the last time you wondered about the meaning of life? Or do you recall how many days have you sat and thought about the secret of life, and made plans about how to ‘crack’ it? How you have sought different ways to find this “answer”?

(Laughter) (Laughter)

The Car is Always Empty

“Oh no, not again today. Why do these last minute tasks keep coming up at just the wrong time”, Vivek thought as he rushed out of his office in a hurry. The watch read 5:15 pm. “I might just escape the evening traffic.”, he murmured as he started his car.

He had traveled around 15 minutes and the traffic was smooth.

“So far so good”, he uttered as he approached a traffic signal, knowing that a real busy stretch was about to commence. He waited for the signal to turn green, which happened after around 90 seconds of waiting. But alas, even as the signal was green, the car in front of him didn’t move.

“What the …? What’s wrong with this …?”, he shouted as he rolled down his glass windows. “Why do people take their cars out if they don’t know how to drive?”, he said, his voice getting louder.

It has been 15 seconds now, and was only 30 seconds before the signal would turn red again. He honked, and then honked some more but to no effect. He decided it was time to give the driver an earful and got out of the car.

“Can’t you see the green signal in front? Will you bloody move……”, he stopped his angry tirade as he saw that the car in front of him had no driver in it and was empty. “Maybe it had broken down and the driver left it here to find help.”, he thought.

Realizing the futility of his honking and shouting now, he got back in his car, took a little reverse and then went around the car with no driver. He crossed the signal just as it turned red again. “What just happened?”, he said to himself as he drove off.

“If all it required was to take a little detour around the car in front of me, then why was I shouting and honking and getting angry, even when I know I am already running late.”

The Car is Always Empty

The Car is Always Empty

…. Silence …

“And where did my anger disappeared when I saw there was no driver. After that it was just common sense to drive off around the broken car. But where was that common sense before. How does it matter whether the car had a driver or not. I could have still drived off around it.”

This kept on puzzling him till he reached home an hour later. Later at night while having dinner, he suddenly shouted, “I got it. The car is always empty.” “Yes, it is always empty. Even if the driver is there, it is always empty”, he said it out aloud in excitement like he has just had an eureka moment.

Everyone around him on the dining table sat puzzled, wondering what has just happened to Vivek.

— End of Story —

Here is the thing – Whenever we encounter people and situations which don’t turn out as we ‘expect’ them to, we are finding an “empty car”, but we don’t always see it that way. We think that someone ‘else’ has spoiled our expectation when what is happening is normal, just plain normal life. We might judge them, curse them, and find other ways to justify ourself but the truth is that they are just living their lives as we are living ours, and they just happen to be ‘in our way’. Just like we also are in other’s ways multiple times a day.

This is a tough task, to separate the actions of the world from our judgement and ours always thinking mind, and see them just as they are. If we don’t get angry at the sun making us sweat, or the dust making us dirty, and we just do whatever is required, the similar is true for other empty cars too.