Lessons

The cat came down the steps. Paused. It saw only the milk. Drank the milk. And turned down the steps where it lay by the fire, curling up and warm.

The dog came down the steps. Bounding with life. It saw the milk, but looked for its master to offer the milk. Master said “yes,” and tongue lolling with drool, it lapped up the milk. And came with a sigh to rest at the Master’s feet.

Then, the Master’s wife came down the steps. Tenderly. Gingerly. One at a time. She saw the milk, and cursed the bowl that held the food for the cat and the dog, which now lay strewn to the side. Bending down, she picked the bowl, and sighed her way to the sink where it lay among all the other vessels that once held food that satisfied man dog and cat.

And then the Master rose to go out of the door, for his life was at the moment so complete. He turned his back, for to see his wife would be to know just how incomplete his life was.

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I write woefully so many times. Especially at times like these when I cannot believe the obtuseness and deliberateness that accompanies human behavior. But there’s a lesson here. Lesson one, never ignore signs. People speak more through actions than words. Ah words!! Lesson two, don’t believe the words! Such pitiful bastions of communication! How well we can package words, and make it seem we invest it with emotion. How much we can be swayed by words. These two and more years, words were what swayed me. That is why I chose to ignore the signs. The oh so obvious signs.

Three, we all have utility value to another. Affections rank higher as we offer more utility. Remove the utility and the affection crumbles and dies a natural death.

Four, everything comes with a shelf life and expiry date. People more so. Judge accurately your own shelf life after considering the first few lessons : see the signs, balance the words, and consider your utility.

Five, you are more dispensable than you think. This illusion is one we nurture the most – we really think we mean something to another. But we are no more than disposable contact lenses or plastic feeding bottles or a disposable camera. We mean something within that period only, so we start to think we mean more beyond the period. But we forget that lesson four – shelf life.

And six, live on the surface and life is fine. Scratch it a little, and you will find a whole seedy moss of undergrowth crawling with leeches beneath. People are like that. Especially those who conform to the above five lessons.

But am I being too pessimistic? Too harsh? No. Because the ones who teach you these lessons are the ones you ought to thank. Because they are the ones who by showing you just how rotten the undergrowth is, can shine the way for you to find those who are not. You have to wade through the scum to find the diamond. So thank the scum. Someday, there may be a diamond.

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