A beginning!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Don'ts versus Dos

Dusk fall. Sun rays that had relentlessly set the desert ablaze all day were losing ferocity like retreating army. But the sand still burned. The green little patch bore the sole testimony of habitat across sea of sand that stretched over thousands of acres. It was lighthouse for sojourners lost in myriads of sand. Few families resided there, mainly earning their livelihood by selling stuff to the travelers.

As the heat grew lesser, kids came out of their huts and started playing. They climbed and jumped across the trees. Their parents, tired from hard day’s work, rested at a distance, looking aloof, albeit fondly watching their kids play.

It looked all serene till the storm hit. The slow humming wind suddenly hit the little town with force of hammer. Dust filled the town like water swallowing wrecked ship. Kids started running everywhere in panic even as their parents screamed for them.

In the midst of this hubbub, two boys, perhaps too scared to act at this unexpected eventuality, got stuck on tree branches. By the time their fathers realized, it was too late to even keep eyes open let alone climb down.

One boy’s father shouted, “Son, no matter what, don’t let your hands drop off the branch”. Other boy’s father shouted, “Son, just hold the branch tightly”.

As the storm hit, the first boy lost his grip and fell on ground. Second boy clung on till the wind abated and then climbed down.

It’s a simple story, and my rhetoric experimentation means it is perhaps packaged with more preface than it warranted. But the message is subtle.

‘Don’ts’ can clutter mind to the extent that one often walks into the very trap it is trying to avoid. ‘Dos’ are lot more effective since they help focus only on what needs to be done.

As the second boy’s father shrewdly expressed, every ‘don’t’ can be phrased into a ‘Do’. A point to ponder: how many times in our day to day life do we think in terms of Dont's rather than Dos?

[The story pages of Reader's Digest where I read similar story few years back are long lost. But I haven’t lost its gist though I cannot possibly recount it verbatim].


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