Pots On The Same Shelf.


‘We’re one step closer to perfection, if we embrace our flaws.’ Through this story, I’ve tried explaining how each individual is so different from others. Instead of critically analysing someone and intentionally looking for flaws in them, we must always try to look for something good in them. Have a nice day! 🙂


 

The slant rays of the sun illuminated the small town. Another day had begun, and the residents of the town were out of their homes, on their way to work. The old potter stepped out of his house. He used the his hand to shield his face from the sun, and shut the door behind him. He started walking to his small workshop. His feet were distinctly heard on the cobblestoned street. After walking for 20 minutes, he turned right, walked for about 2 minutes, and stopped before a small workshop. Apple and Pomegranate trees grew on both sides of the workshop, and geraniums grew at their base. Chris took the key out of the pocket of his trousers, and opened the lock. He stepped inside, and immediately got to work.

Summer was approaching. The shrubs lining the sidewalks were withering, and the leaves on the trees were wilting, due to the intense heat. The people of he town would need pots, to carry water around. He knew that the process of making pots had to be sped up, because the demand for his pots would increase, in the next few weeks. He started rotating his wheel, and dipped his fingertips into the bowl of water, kept close to him. He picked up a mound of earth, and his skilful fingers began to work on it. He carefully worked on the sides- a little curve here, a little curve there. He continued to make pots, till it was time for lunch. He made each pot different from the other. No two pots on the shelves of his workshop were identical. At noon, he stepped out of the workshop. He went back home for lunch.

No sooner did he step outside, than all the pots on the shelf came to life. There were a few moments of commotion, as the old pots confronted the newer ones. They subjected each other to critical glances, and shot snide remarks at each other. Careful to highlight their flaws, and bring their own specialities to light. A group of old pots laughed at a pot with a really long neck, while others mocked at a bright yellow pot. Everyone seemed to cover their own insecurities by belting out harsh words. All this went on for a while, until the oldest pot decided, that it was time to take charge. Something had to be done, to ease the tension.

‘Silence!’ He yelled.

All the pots stopped talking, and stared Edmund the oldest pot. They greatly respected him, and seemed his help to solve their conflicts. They always valued his feedback and suggestions, and he had continued to provide justice for many years now.

‘It deeply saddens me, to see how you all are criticising each other, based on physical appearances,’ he said gravely. ‘Our physical attributes do not reflect what lies within.’

The other pots huddled around him, eager to listen to what he had to say.

‘A mirror only shows you what lies on the outside. Is there a mirror that shows you what lies on the inside? Maybe that’s why we make mistakes judging people. We tend to judge people based on how they look- their colour, their physical appearances. You cannot judge a pot by its colour or its shape. Maybe the prettiest pot may shatter into a million tiny pieces, if it falls to the ground. A pot that everyone calls ‘ugly’ may endure the pain, and other tests posed to it. Character, Goodness and Sincerity cannot be judged by simply looking at someone.’

The pots looked at each other. Till the last few minutes, they were scrutinising each other, looking for flaws. Some flaws were visible, but could be ignored. The others were flaws that could be found, if you tried hard to look for them. Why should you even try to look for flaws in people? You’re just missing out on the good stuff.

The old pot coughed, trying to bring the pots back to reality, out of the trance they seemed to be lost in. He looked around, eyeing the pots with a sense of warmth and love. He pointed to one of the newer pots, and said ‘You look amazing. No matter what anyone else has to say about you. If your neck is longer than the others, it won’t reduce your goodness or worth.’

The pot being spoken to weakly smiled. He had realised, that he had to accept himself, for who he was. ‘Remember’, said the old pot. ‘Embracing your flaws is the first step to loving yourself. Only if you embrace your own flaws, will you embrace the flaws in others, and love them for who they are.’

‘You cannot spend your entire life hating yourself, just because someone told you to hate yourself because you’re not pretty enough.’

Similarly, people are going to put you down all the time. Tell you that you’re not worth having the things you want the most. Just like a basket full of crabs. If one crab tries to escape, the others will try to pull it down. People are going to put you down, and act like its their JOB.

‘What really matters lies on the inside,’ smiled the Old pot.

The pots were embarrassed, at their petty behaviour. They looked at each other and smiled. Maybe they should have realised this a long time ago.

They thanked the Old pot unanimously. None of the pots was perfect. All of them had flaws they had being trying so hard to conceal.

All the pots came together in a huddle. Red pots, pots with large,round beads, pots with long necks, pots with short necks, old pots, new pots. They were so different, yet so alike. They all had learned to accept not only each other, but also themselves. They were all pots of the same shelf.

Edmund watched from a distance. He beamed. He had resolved another conflict, taught them yet another lesson. Maybe accepting our flaws and moving on brings us a step closer to perfect 🙂

Edmund cleared his throat after a while, to get their attention. He smiled, and then said:

‘Chris will be back soon. Let’s get back in line’.

The pots got back in line, and beamed at each other. Each pot was trying to look for something in another- something good. They huddled together, and stood united.

When Chris got back, he noticed that they were closer together than he had placed them, about two hours ago. He shrugged his shoulders, and went on with his work.

In the shelf above him, the pots were impatiently waiting for another ‘beautiful’ addition, to their family.

 

 

 

Songbird.


Life is all about being grateful for everything, and enjoying every moment. The people we meet in life often teach us lessons, which will never be forgotten.

(The following story is a work of fiction. None of these events actually occurred.)


 

It was just another winter evening. Cold, Dark and Bleak. Winter was laying it’s icy hands on every object that it could find- carefully wrapping its long fingers around them. Soft flakes drifted down from the pines, onto the ground. The sun had decided to hide behind the grey, towering clouds. It was beginning to grow darker by noon. I had been home all day, procrastinating. Or rather, Binge-watching. The second season of my favourite show had started airing two weeks ago, but I’d been so caught up with my job, that I did’t have the time to plonk myself down on the couch, and marvel at the clever punchlines, and the to burst out laughing, at the perfectly timed jokes. So, after binge watching for about 8 hours, I finally completed the season. Whew.

I decided to go out for a stroll. It had been a while, since the last time I had the opportunity to spend some time alone, reflecting back on the past week, and planning for the week ahead of me. I rushed through the things I had to do, before stepping outside- I hastily wore my winter coat and my gloves, slipped into my shoes, and made sure that the doors of the house were locked. ‘It’s freezing outside’, I thought to myself, and jogged to the park.

I have been living in this neighbourhood since I was two. Naturally, I have many memories associated with this place. How the flowers along the sidewalk bloomed in spring, how the trees changed colour in the fall, how the snowflakes gently fell to the ground in the winter, and the sound of the ice-cream man’s bell, in the summer. I’d made so many friends- Merriam, Scott, Brian, Robbie and Nick- whom I’d grown up with. We spent the most memorable years of our lives at the neighbourhood park. Whenever I was sad, upset, or just needed to be alone for a while, I’d just jog down to the park. But today was different. I just wanted to get away from the madness- the pressure at work, deadlines and assignments to be submitted. As soon as I entered the park, I suddenly felt much younger, more at ease. I sat down on a bench, in one corner of the park. I looked around, and saw so many young kids. Waiting in line for the swing, giggling on the see-saw, squealing as the merry-go-round started moving faster. The gloominess of the surroundings had not dampened their spirits, obviously.

One particular kid caught my attention. He was about eight years old, and was bursting with energy. He was like a ray of sunshine, daring to shine through the dark clouds around. His mother was sitting beside him, gingerly holding his hands in hers. He wore a bright orange cap, and I figured out that he was bald. He smiled at me, and waved. Excitedly. I smiled warmly, and waved back. ‘What a nice little kid,’ I thought. He motioned for me to come play with him, and I gave a short, hollow laugh. Wasn’t I clearly too old to play with an eight year old?

He sensed denial and realised that I wasn’t to keen on joining him. He clasped his tiny hands together and pleaded me to join him. I reluctantly got up and took fast paced steps towards him. On seeing me, his eyes lit up like an entire constellation. He told me that his name was Taylor and that he loved meeting new people and getting to know them. When I asked him if he liked school, he told me that he had stopped going to school a few months ago. He said that the doctors told him that he was really sick, and that he should not go to school anymore. ‘I’m so sorry,’ I silently whispered. An hour went by, talking to him. In the middle of our conversation, he saw a firefly. His eyes gleamed, and he chased it. He followed it to the bushes, running behind it. I smiled at him. He was enjoying every second of his life, and he did not let his sickness drag him down. After he had taken off behind the firefly, I asked his mother about his health. A tear trickled down her cheek, and glistened under the light of the lamp-post. Taylor was diagnosed with Leukaemia (also spelled as ‘Leukemia’), about six months ago. The doctors had asked him to stay at home, and had prescribed expensive medicines and chemotherapy. Taylor’s father had died when he was just three years old, and Myrna was the sole breadwinner of the family. She worked at the Town Library, but her income was not sufficient, to cater to his medical needs. She worked multiple jobs, in order to pay for the sessions. In the end, she only hoped that a miracle would see them through.

Taylor had suffered from seizures, frequent headaches, nausea and other symptoms of the merciless disease. Even after all that he had been through, he still managed to be happy. Combating all the hardships, always trying his best to pull through.Of late, his condition had deteriorated. He had grown weaker, and the cancer had gotten worse. I suppressed my tears. No parent should every see their children lose to diseases, and fade away. My heart ached for Myrna. Apart from being a single parent, she had been through a lot already. Her eyes searched for Taylor. She finally spotted him, playing with the other kids. ‘I hope he’ll pull through’, she said. Her voice cracked, and her eyes were moist. She closed them, and pear- shaped tears trickled down her cheeks. I sighed. Life was so cruel, sometimes. All this while, I had been thinking that the pressure I was going through was the worst thing that could ever happen to anyone. I’d pitied myself, for the wrong reasons. I was wrong. So wrong. I had to be grateful for everything that I had.

I had to get home, as it was almost ten. I promised Taylor that I would see him again. Soon.   He flashed a toothless smile, and waved. It was something so angelic and innocent, that it was etched in my memory. If anyone would ask me what comes to my mind first, on hearing the word angelic, I’d say Taylor’s face. Those innocent eyes, and that toothless smile…

Over the next week, I saw him several times. At the park, at the library, and at the toy store. I was there, buying a stuffed toy, for my niece. It was a pleasant surprise, to see Taylor there. He was standing at the door, staring inside. I could see a sparkle in his eyes, and followed his gaze. He wanted the limited edition action figure, of a very popular movie franchise. I smiled at him, and without another word, went inside. I came outside with two parcels. I saw that he was still standing there. I handed the carefully wrapped parcel to him. ‘This is for you, young man,’ I said, and he was overjoyed. He gave me a quick hug, and ran, to keep up with his mother. She turned around, and mouthed two words. ‘Thank You’.

Over the next few weeks, I kept checking up on Taylor. I’d call Myrna, to make sure that he was doing okay. 5 weeks after the first time I’d seen him, Myrna called me up. She asked me to come over for dinner, that night. It was Friday, and I would come home from work by six o’clock, in the evening. I graciously accepted her invitation, and promised to be there that evening. At seven, I was at their front door. Taylor opened the door, and welcomed me inside. Their small house was cozy and comfortable, despite its size. After a hearty meal, Taylor asked me to follow him to his room. On reaching, I saw that the walls were lined with various doodles that he had made.  I sat down on the bed, and listened to him, as he spoke. ‘The last time we visited the doctor, he told me that I didn’t have too long to live.’ I felt a lump in my throat. ‘But, I’m so grateful, for waking up to a beautiful day. Getting the opportunity to spend time with the people who mean a lot to me. It’s not always about the number of days a person lives for. It’s how you make those days special, and add life to your days- not days to your life.’ I smiled. I was trying hard to forget, that his days were numbered. ‘Thank you so much, for today. You made me really happy. I’d love to have another dinner party soon!’, he said cheerfully. Later, he pointed at the doodles on his wall, and explained the significance of each of them. I saw Rainbows, Happy faces, and a United world. Later, he asked if I could stay to play with him, and his action figures.

The next day, I received a call in the evening, after I came back from work. ‘Hello Tom,’ said the voice at the other end. I recognised it to be Myrna’s. I could sense the tension in her voice. ‘Is everything okay?’ I asked. ‘Taylor passed away last night, he died peacefully. He was so happy. Thank you.’ She broke down. I promised to visit her that evening, and attend the funeral the next day. The next morning, I went to pay my last respects. I placed the action figure in his coffin. The one that he loved so much. He was a songbird, and had flown into my life, and filled it with melody. However, he couldn’t stay forever. He had other world to sing in. I also placed a bouquet of white roses- just like the ones in the bush in the park.

*********

Like the firefly, his life was elusive too. But, it had made mine so much brighter.

I have a picture in my living room, that says- ‘Songbirds have many worlds to sing in’.

He’ll always be remembered.

 

 

 

‘Bounty Of Happiness’


What goes around, comes around. As humans, we must empower and support each other, always. Our good deeds will eventually pay off.


 

The electric buzz of the streetlights could be heard distinctly. The New York skyline glowed like a million tiny stars, with the tea-wash coloured rays of the sun as a background. Beyond the tall metal and glass spires of New York was the lesser known locality. Looking out of a tinted glass window, seventeen year old Alfie Scarcemouth covered her mouth, to prevent the scream inside her from escaping, Tears trickled down her pale cheeks. She walked to the dressing table, and saw her reflection, in the mirror. Her tired, puffy eyes were a testimony of all that she’d been through. The cloud of sadness loomed over her world, and she thought that she would never make it out alive.

She stood at the edge of the valley of depression, with various dark and dangerous thoughts clouding her childish brain. She had almost given up on life. As twilight crept in, the cedar trees lining the sidewalk glowed. Opening the door of her dingy, run-down apartment, she caught a glimpse of a pamphlet. Picking it up, she surveyed it carefully. It said ‘Oakwoods Social Service Centre’. Her eyes lit up, for the first time in weeks, when she read that they were employing teenagers, for their prestigious spring program. She was broke and depressed, but she needed happiness more than the money.

At the crack of dawn the next day, she dashed out of her apartment. The stairs creaked, but did not give way, under her weight. She made her way to the social service centre, which was a few blocks away. She was breathless by the time she got there, and took a few moments to linger outside, and survey the place. Through the glass windows, she saw hundreds of smiling faces inside- aged from 4 to 13. They had battled tough circumstances. They had lost their parents, at a very tender age. Despite the tough conditions, they had still found ways to be happy. On seeing this, she knew that she wanted to bag the opportunity, to work with such amazing kids. She stepped inside, and a kind lady led her to the Founder’s office. At the end of the hour long, gruelling interview process, she succeeded in securing the job for herself.

The first day went by like a breeze. Alfie met various children, who were from unprivileged backgrounds. They were deprived of the basic necessity  of life- their families. One particular child, who succeeded in attracting her attention was Karen Smith, a bubbly seven year old. Karen was an orphan, and was seeking refuge at the social service centre. She was full of life and energy, enjoying every wakeful moment of her life.

As the weeks passed, Alfie succeeded in getting to know Karen better. She realised how Karen could weave magic and spread smiles, with her words. Karen taught Alfie the real meaning and value of life, and gave Alfie one thing that she lacked-HAPPINESS. With time, Alfie’s life had begun to change. She was looking at life with a fresh perspective, and optimism. She had also started working at a bookstore, and had managed to stabilise her financial condition. In order to reward Karen, Alfie used some part of her salary to buy books, toys and stationery, for Karen. The seven year old’s life had touched her heart, and she wanted her to know that she loved and valued her.

A few weeks passed. Alfie Scarcemouth had learned how to smile, and she was changing for the better.

She continued to shower her love on Karen, in small ways. Buying her candy from the local convenience store, or getting her a can of her favourite soda. One day, Alfie decided to take Karen to the beach. While Karen made sandcastles, she told Alfie her story. How she had lost her parents, when she was just two years old. She told Alfie that life was about living, loving and laughing. In spreading happiness to others, Karen had benefitted too, and had become a happier person, at the end of the process.

Alfie realised that she was happy too. In making Karen happy and doing small acts of kindness, she was inching towards her personal goals-‘happiness’ and ‘satisfaction’. A few hours later, they decided that it was time to go. Alfie hailed a taxi, and helped Karen to get inside. Alfie looked out of the window, and saw glimpses of the palms, as the taxi sped by.

As they neared Oakwoods, Alfie realised, that the next day would be her last day, working there.

Karen got off, and waved to Alfie. Alfie smiled. She beamed with pleasure. Tears of joy clouded her eyes. She wore her sunglasses, rolled down her window, and smiled through her tears. She had realised the true meaning of life. In spreading happiness to Karen, she had nurtured her own soul. Just then, she heard the faint song playing on the radio. ‘What goes around, comes around…’

Her heart sang with joy, she left her sad past behind and they wind brushed past her.

She was finally happy.

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