The Dancing Doll and the Pot

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A dancing doll kept to adorn the bookshelf of a scholar looked at the pot kept on the floor and asked: “Hei! Look here. Look at my fate. The whirling fan above makes me dance. The breeze too that enters occasionally forces me to dance. But you are quite different. I don’t know how you maintain your calm. Have you any secret to tell me?”

The pot replied: “What secret? Nothing.”
The dancing doll put her question in different words: “Tell me how you manage to remain cool in every situation?”

“Oh!” said the pot, “I just remind myself, now and again, that I am made of mud…that’s all”.

The poor doll couldn’t make out. She said: “So what! I am also made of mud”. The pot said: “Perhaps you are aware of only one part of life. But I know the other part too”. The doll became curious and sharpened her ears. The pot continued: “I remind myself that I am destined to return back to mud. Then why should I have pride and anger?”

The dancing doll had her lesson. But what about you? And what about me? Every day is a lesson, we hear people say. Yet how many of them learn properly and teach effectively what they have learnt to others? Learning is a big process and bigger is the teaching process.

When I was very young my first teacher was my mother. And till today she continues to be the best of all the teachers I had in my life. She is no more but yet what she taught me with affection and love are still green in my memory.

I still distinctly remember the time when I pumped mosquito repellent liquid, which my father used in our bedroom at night before we went to sleep, into the eyes of my playmates perhaps mistaking their eyelashes for a swarm. The whole village felt the irritation and the mothers of the affected children ganged up and stormed into my house in a rage. My mother, very much liked by everyone in the village as she proved to be a good friend in the time of need, pacified them and sent them away. She then took me into her arms and smiled at me. It was a very meaningful smile. And that was the end of it. She let me go but stopped talking to me. She bathed me, dressed me up, fed me but refused to play with me and didn’t allow me to move out of the house to play. That was the worst form of punishment I could endure at that age. I did not consider that mischief of mine as an unpardonable offence. Her yogic silence began to haunt me. A sorrow and longing gnawing at me, I began to plead, weep, cry and even howl. But it was of no avail.

Only days passed. But my mother kept her stand. My father came to my rescue. He whispered into my ear the next move from my side. I followed every word of his to the core. My mother smiled and took me into her arms, showered my face with kisses and said: “If you do one good to others, ten good will come to you; do one harm to others, one hundred harm will come to you”.

You may be interested in knowing what my father cooed into my ear. Here is his mantra for the mischievous soul: “Go and say sorry. Let it be from your heart”. Both my parents were good teachers. And I was a good learner. The advice of my parents made my life soft and smooth sailing. It continues to be so even in testing times.

Once a court astrologer bent on fooling his king told him, “Your Majesty! It will do you good if you see a pair of crows very early in the morning before you begin your daily routine.” Happy at the good coming on its way, the king commanded his bodyguard to tell him when he sees the black birds the next morning.

The morning came. The bodyguard also came to wake up the king to see a pair of crows sitting on the branch of a tree in the royal garden. The superstitious king rushed to his balcony to see the birds. But he could see only one. He stared at the bodyguard and howled: “You blind fool! You have cheated me. You deserve ten whiplashes and will have all of them today”.

The poor bodyguard began to laugh to his heart’s content. Taken aback the king asked him why. The other replied: “Your Majesty! I saw two crows in the morning. And the result is ten whiplashes from you”.

Every day dawns to give us a lesson. The king had his lesson. His bodyguard too had his lesson. I too had my lesson. And you?

About the author: P. Raja

P.Raja (October 07, 1952) a son of this divine soil, Pondicherry, India famed for its spiritual heritage, writes in his chosen language, English, and also in his mother tongue, Tamil. More than 5000 of his works – poems, short stories, interviews, articles, book reviews, plays, skits, features and novellas – have seen the light through newspapers and magazines that number to 350 in both India and elsewhere. He has 30 books for adults and 8 books for children in English and 14 books in Tamil. Apart from contributing special articles to Encyclopedia of Post-Colonial Literature in English (London), Encyclopedia of Tamil Literature in English, and to several other edited volumes, he has also written scripts for Television (Delhi). He broadcasts his short stories and poems from All India Radio, Pondicherry. He was General Council Member of Central Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi (English Advisory Board - 2008-2012) representing the Pondicherry University. He is Editor of TRANSFIRE, a literary quarterly devoted to translations from various languages into English. His website: www.professorraja.comAuthor can be reached at [email protected]

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