Life is not easy. There are many occasions where we are faced with situations that seem simple on the surface but hold multiple layers of meanings, there are decisions that have multiple repercussions and then there choices that we may make that end up governing our entire lives.
As a mother I have always taught my children that while the short cut solution may seem easy and effective at the moment, it is more often than not harmful in the long run. A decision that gives pleasure in the immediate moment may cause many moments of regret later. A choice that gives immediate benefits may actually be much worse than the one that involves long hours of labor but gives long term satisfactions and benefits.
While I try to teach these values to my kids, it is often difficult for me to follow them myself. With various circumstances and temptations, sometimes easting that extra sweet seems much better than thinking of long-term weight gain, jumping that red signal seems more convenient than waiting for ten minutes for the light to change and ignoring the queue at the cinema hall tempts more than being patient about one’s turn. But there have been instances in my life where I have learnt that truth eventually prevails. Where I have learnt that Kitna chain hota hai na sachchai mein.
Once when I was young I was playing in the garden with our maidservant’s daughter, Lali. She was almost my age and a very active child. She enjoyed my company and vice versa. Each afternoon after school, she and I would play in our garden among the trees, jumping, laughing and chasing each other. On one such day, we were busy having fun when something happened. My arm hit a flower pot and it fell of the ledge. It fell to the ground and broke into many pieces. There plant was thrown away and the ground was filled with soil and pieces of clay pot.
Hearing the noise, my mother came out from inside the house. She looked at the mess and then at both of us. We were all quiet for some time. Then she said, “Who did this?”
There was silence again. I just kept staring at my mother and thinking of all possible results if I told her the truth. I had no idea what Lali was thinking. She just kept quiet. My mother was very fond of gardening and valued each pot immensely. On top of that, she had quite a temper that I was scared of. I was tossing all situations in my head over and over. in that split second I would have run over the incidence at least twenty times. Finally I decided to blame it all on Lali. She as anyway a servant’s child and used to being scolded or beaten up. Even if she disagreed with my now, nobody would believe her because in the end might is right.
I opened my mouth.
And then I don’t know what happened but my words froze. It would have been so easy to take advantage of the innocent Lali as many people do all the time and perhaps I may have done earlier too, but this time I decided to be honest. This time I decided to tell the truth.
I said, “I did it mother.”
What happened later is not important at all, because today after all these years what I remember is the pride I felt in telling the truth, the self-worth that I experienced in standing up for what’s right and the thankfulness I saw in my dear Lali’s eyes.
And that feeling was priceless. Just like what this daughter feels when she tells the truth to her father:
p.s. The post is written for this initiative