The best

  • Episode 23
  • 29-11-2022
  • 10 Min Read
The best

Life flows smoothly… shouldn’t it be so? An elderly couple was sitting in their living room and joking. Accidentally the conversation slipped into stories from forgotten decades. The man said, “Baby, how about writing down the most touching experience in our life. Let’s see if our experiences match.” The wife also agreed to it.

“That’ll be funny!” she said.

Both of them took writing pads and moved a little away and began writing the most touching experience in life. When they were complete, they exchanged their stories.

The man began to read out his wife’s story. It read, “Some forty years back, we had gone to a science film with our little Tom. While we were in the queue, there were some nine kids and a middle-aged man also, waiting for the entry tickets. We were just behind them. They appeared to be a group from some remote village school. It was clear that these kids were new to the city. The man came to the counter.

“Nine half, one full.” said the man, who could have been their class teacher. The lady at the counter told him that only executive seats are available. Don’t remember the exact amount she told him. But surely it was a pretty good amount and they’re not prepared with that much money. The man replied, “Sorry ma’am, we will come a little early tomorrow.” All the nine students and the teacher left the queue and walked out. Next it was our turn and when you passed your card Tom shouted,

“Ten half and three full, executive!”

“Fred, you knew what Tom meant. You didn’t say a word. You paid the full money. I still remember how fast Tom ran to the gate with the tickets. The school team had almost reached the exit gate. He took the senior most boy of the group by his hand. He was a black boy with curly hair. Tom showed them the tickets and gestured to follow him. The teacher also could not resist the pressure of the moment. They soon decided to accept the offer and marched to the theatre entrance. We were the last in the line.”

The man looked at his wife passionately. Their eyes were filled!

His story also was the same. They knew that it was the best gift Tom had ever given them. The man continued looking into his wife’s eyes for long, as if there was something more to learn from her.

I remember the story of a Zen guru who used to keep looking at the river for a long time.

Once his students asked him why it was so. After a while, still not taking his eyes away, he spoke, as if awakened from a trance.

“Flowing water teaches us to live. Wherever it touches it gives life; wherever it is needed it shares – it is kind and compassionate. It knows how to resolve level differences on the surface – it is impartial to everyone. It doesn’t slow down even while it falls from a cliff – it is always bold. Its surface is always smooth and even. But it can hide strong currents and contain heavy pressure inside – it is wise. It flows around all obstructions – it’s always tolerant. Still, it keeps trying day and night to dissolve all blocks – it’s always energetic and smart. Doesn’t matter where through it flows and how long it has to flow, it doesn’t ever move off from its final goal of reaching the sea. Above all, it is always renewing itself. Everything added together, teaches me to live.”

The old man continued looking at his wife. The story doesn’t say that they spoke anything more. In absolute integrity, they might have merged with each other and might have gone beyond spoken language. It could be because the Chinese guru wanted to see if his students had learned to listen to the language of the mind that he waited a few moments before he opened his mouth to answer!

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