Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I need to be grateful towards life for giving me the lesson in a way 
I understand best, rather than complaining. 
- Sanna Gosavi

A rich man was passing through the desert towards his destination. It was a new experience for him as he was without all the luxuries and comforts that he had been used to. The hot sunrays were piercing through his skin and the sand was reflecting back immense heat. The hot air ran past and slapped his body, head to toe. It was getting difficult for him to carry on as he was beginning to get dehydrated and his water reserves had depleted. As he struggled and moved ahead, his eyes fell on a small tent at a distance. Gathering all his energy he somehow managed to reach the tent. He saw an old woman inside and dropped at her feet, begging for some water. 

The old woman immediately filled a dusty cracked mud bowl with water and offered it to the man. He readily drank enough of it, thanked the old woman endlessly and when he felt a little better, carried on with his journey. The most important thing for the man at that point of time was water because only water could help him to survive and move ahead. It would have been unwise of him if at that point, owing to his status, he cribbed about the condition of the mud bowl and blamed the old woman. Interestingly he thanked her for her help, without bothering to complain about the bowl. 

"Every event that happens in my life - whether favourable or unfavourable, is only a vessel carrying a lesson for me."

And that lesson is necessary for me at that point of time. The condition of the vessel is not important then. Understanding is that wisdom is in taking the learning along and leaving behind the vessel with all gratitude for it had served me. At times the experience may be something I enjoy: at times it may be something that is totally opposite to my expectation. It may cause pain, it may cause hurt, it may shake me up, but ultimately it has come to teach me a lesson of life and help me evolve to the next level. 

My responsibility is to find out the lesson I got to learn from a particular event. If I learn fast, I go to the next stage faster; if I don't, then I will manage to overcome this experience. But similar experiences will continue to happen to me until I eventually learn out of them. 

It is as simple as I will not be promoted to class six until I clear the examination of class five, no matter in how many attempts. Just as the man was thankful to the old woman, I need to be grateful towards life for giving me the lesson in a way I understand best, rather than complaining. 

If that's with life, then how can I even blame my fellow beings for anything? They are simply playing their part in this whole play and I need to be grateful to them too.  
- Frozen Thoughts October 2011 - Page 58

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Best Teacher I Ever Had by David Owen

Extracted from Reader's Digest (Asian Edition), April 1991, pp. 47-48.

Mr. Whitson taught sixth-grade science. On the first day of class, he gave us a lecture about a creature called the cattywampus, an ill-adapted nocturnal animal that was wiped out during the Ice Age. He passed around a skull as he talked. We all took notes and later had a quiz.
When he returned my paper, I was shocked. There was a big red X through each of my answers. I had failed. There had to be some mistake! I had written down exactly what Mr. Whitson said. Then I realized that everyone in the class had failed. What had happened?
Very simple, Mr. Whitson explained. He had made up all the stuff about the cattywampus. There had never been any such animal. The information in our notes was, therefore, incorrect. Did we expect credit for incorrect answers?
Needless to say, we were outraged. What kind of test was this? And what kind of teacher?
We should have figured it out, Mr. Whitson said. After all, at the every moment he was passing around the cattywampus skull (in truth, a cat's), hadn't he been telling us that no trace of the animal remained? He had described its amazing night vision, the color of its fur and any number of other facts he couldn't have known. He had given the animal a ridiculous name, and we still hadn't been suspicious. The zeroes on our papers would be recorded in his grade book, he said. And they were.
Mr. Whitson said he hoped we would learn something from this experience. Teachers and textbooks are not infallable. In fact, no one is. He told us not to let our minds go to sleep, and to speak up if we ever thought he or the textbook was wrong.
Every class was an adventure with Mr. Whitson. I can still remember some science periods almost from beginning to end. On day he told us that his Volkswagon was a living organism. It took us two full days to put together a refutation he would accept. He didn't let us off the hook until we had proved not only that we knew what an organism was but also that we had the fortitude to stand up for the truth.
We carried our brand-new skepticism into all our classes. This caused problems for the other teachers, who weren't used to being challenged. Our history teacher would be lecturing about something, and then there would be clearings of the throat and someone would say 'cattywampus.'
If I'm ever asked to propose a solution to the problems in our schools, it will be Mr. Whitson. I haven't made any great scientific discoveries, but Mr. Whitson's class gave me and my classmates something just as important: the courage to look people in the eye and tell them they are wrong. He also showed us that you can fun doing it.
Not everyone sees the value in this. I once told an elementary school teacher about Mr. Whitson. The teacher was appalled. "He shouldn't have tricked you like that," he said. I looked that teacher right in the eye and told him that he was wrong.