MC's Whispers

Whispering Silences

Archive for the tag “moral”

The safety of true friends

What does it take to feel safe?

Is a lockdown enough? Is staying away from everyone and everything? How do we feel safe without raising walls and keeping everyone out? How do we stay safe if we simply don’t live, don’t allow ourselves to experience anything?

There is a story about a woman living in India sometime in the Middle Ages who owned a pet snake, which she loved. The snake was four metres long and seemed healthy until one day it stopped eating. The snake’s fasting continued for the next weeks and the woman, now desperate that she could not get the snake to eat, rushed to the vet as an ultimate solution. The vet carefully listened to the woman and then asked: “Does the snake sleep with you at night and wraps itself around you?” “Yes!” the woman replied surprised at how spot on the vet’s speculation was. She expressed her sorrow that she could not help her friend. The vet then told her, “Madam, your snake is not ill; it is preparing to eat you. Every day it comes around you and you think it is hugging you, it is simply measuring you up and preparing to attack. It is not feeding so as to have enough room to digest you more easily”.

The moral of this story: not every person you consider a friend has true intentions. You may have people around you who seem to care and with whom you share everything, whom you love and care for and believe that they feel the same. But, some think otherwise. They are snake-friends. Because kindness and hugs aren’t always honest and genuine. Consider that everyone who betrays you are people you know, people you’ve sat with and shared your innermost thoughts, who you gave a part of your soul to, because these are the people whom you gave the key to hurting you.

No matter how much they hurt, such experiences serve to teach us to read people better. To measure up who we consider worthy of our attention, time, energy, and friendship. Not everyone is bad. But not everyone is good either.

We are the ones who choose the people to accompany us in our life’s journey. The ones with whom we feel safe under any circumstance. And those who are worthy of sharing our most important moments are really the ones who prove to be so without even being asked.  

It’ll do so, unrestrained

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There was a young man who each day sat at his doorstep gazing at passers-by as if waiting for something, for someone. He would spend the whole day there, anticipating; his eagerness and enthusiasm dimming with the last of the sun’s light. But each morning, he would be there again, repeating the process.

An old woman who would make the passage by his house each day on her road to the market noticed the young man and this pattern of his. She observed the brightness in his eyes at the start of the day and how it was darkened as the day faded. She couldn’t help but wonder what he was looking for, what he was expecting.

But the more she observed each passing day, the more she understood.

So one day, she stopped in front of his doorstep and stood right in front of him hiding the sun from his eyes.

There is no use waiting here at the door of your house, staring at the dead streets ahead. If it’ll come, it will do so without you knowing from where or how. It will approach you suddenly; it will find  you even from behind, softly closing your eyes that are so tired of road-watching. And when you ask who it is, you’ll understand by that skip in your heartbeat. There is no use waiting. If it’ll come, it will do so. Even if everything is wide shut, you’ll see it right in front of you, and it will be the first to embrace you with open arms. It won’t matter if you’re ready or well prepared or not. It won’t change a thing if you run after it or crawl at its feet. If it’ll come, it will do so. Otherwise it will just pass you by”.

The old lady paused, inhaled a deep breath allowing her words to sink into the boy, then turned around and left.

He stood there for a moment, petrified. And then, went inside and shut the door.

If it’ll come, love will find its way.

Inspired by a poem by Kostas Ouranis

Lessons from an hourglass

©MCD

It was an object he knew very well. It was how his grandmother had taught him to keep time when cooking. Now, as a prominent, chef he had more technologically-advanced resources to measure time, but the hourglass remained his favourite good-luck charm. For him it was a symbol of love, care and safety. Through it, he felt his grandmother still present, along with the sense of security she emanated, and the determination he was filled with – when around her – to make her proud.

At times of hardship, he would sit in silence watching the sands slip down the center of the hourglass, observing how fast time passed. It often took a while before he remembered that “the greatest amount of wasted time is the time not getting started” (Dawson Trotman); the time not spent with people we love, doing what we’re passionate about, having fun and enjoying life.

His grandmother had told him that “time has a wonderful way of showing us what really matters. You turn the hourglass upside down every now and then, to keep time running. Your life does that to you too”.

It took a while before he fully understood what she meant.

The dog in the window

©MCD

He was present everyday in the shop that dealt with pain and mourning. At first, when he first arrived he was the happiest dog most people had ever seen. He never stopped wagging his tail and seeking attention, jumping happily on its two feet.

But as the days passed, he noticed that people who entered the shop were not happy. And no matter how hard he tried, how much he jumped around, wagged his tail, tried to transmit his energy, they would hardly ever smile. Instead they were sobbing more often than not, drowning in a misery that was evident in the aura that accompanied them both upon their entry and their exit from the shop.

He preferred to sit at the shop window, gazing outside at the passers-by. They seemed to be happier. Every so often someone would stop and say something with a huge smile as if waiting for it to be reciprocated.

But the little dog had lost its spark. His eyes no longer had that glow anymore. And his tail did not wag that often.

That’s what usually happens when you surround yourself with misery for too long. You give up trying to float and allow yourself to get drowned into it too.   

The story of a needle and a thread

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Take this,” the Master presented his young Disciple with a thin piece of thread and a tiny needle.  The young one took it in reverence. He was terrified that if he dropped it he wouldn’t able to find it again.

The task is to pass the thread through the needle five consecutive times. Consecutive,” he stressed the last word.

The young boy gasped. Surely his Master wasn’t serious.

Consecutive?” he emphasised it too. “But that’s impossible”.

The Master said nothing. He turned around and left, leaving the boy to his task.

It took the Disciple ten times alone to simply pass the needle through the thread the first time.

He was already tired. That’s when the little devil inside him began to speak. His Master wouldn’t know if he hadn’t accomplished the task. Or if the five times were not consecutive.

But then that other voice appeared. The one his Master had infiltrated his mind with. “But you would know”.

The boy continued. He had managed three consecutive times. And then after what seemed like hours, four. But five seemed literally unachievable.

He stopped. Cleared his head for a minute and inhaled deeply. He looked across the horizon and experienced every sound and smell present around him.

Then he began again more determined than before.

And all of a sudden, he had done it. He himself couldn’t quite believe it. He yelled in excitement, so loudly his Master came almost running. He smiled at his Disciple.

What did this teach you?”’ There was always something to be learnt.

That nothing is impossible?” The young boy was hoping this was the right answer. His Master disliked that the boy was missing the point of the exercises by trying to find a “correct” answer without being certain of it.

What did you receive from it?

Irritation, anxiety, anger….but then determination, strong-will, and…patience. Patience, above all”.

The Master smiled. “Nothing is truly impossible. We just need the patience to discover it can be done”.

People like handcrafted plates

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“Sit. Take this plate. Look at it closely. Examine it. What do you see?”

“It’s decorated,” Jill replied, her young age obstructing her perspective.

“What more?” her aunt pressed.

“It’s colourful. Artfully decorated. It seems handcrafted. And there are so many details. You need to look closely to see them. To appreciate them”.

“Good. Now throw it down”.

Jill glared at her aunt.

“What?”

“Throw the plate down”.

“But…but, it will break”, she uttered, scared.

“That’s the point”.

Jill let the plate go, reluctantly. It fell onto the ground and broke into numerous pieces of all sizes.

“Pick it up and try to place the pieces back together”.

Jill tried, but there were many smaller pieces that had fractured and were too small to find or stick back together.

“Now what do you see?”

“It’s broken,” Jill sighed, genuinely saddened.

“It’s not the same. It’s not as beautiful. You can see the cracks and even if it is glued, they will still be evident. And the colour seems almost faded because of it”.

“Isn’t it still the same plate, though?”

“I guess”. The little girl seemed perplexed.

“People are like this handcrafted plate,” her aunt finally explained the meaning of this exercise. Everyone is beautiful in their own unique way. You need to look closely to see all those details that make each person special. But people, contrary to objects, have feelings. If they are pushed aside for too long, like a plate on the edge of a counter, they will fall and break. And once they do, they will carry the scars within them. No matter how much they try to pull themselves back together, to survive and go on, the scars will remain, perhaps faded, but they are still there. Time won’t heal them; it will just make it easier to live with them”.

Jill stared, listening attentively to every word.

“Always be kind to everyone you meet. You don’t know what scars each person hides. And treat people as softly and sympathetically as you would want to be treated. Not everyone sees the world the same way, but kindness is universal”.

The wrong battles

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Palmer was a farm boy. He was born and raised in the countryside, learning how to grow his own food, how to take care of cattle stock, how to survive without technology. He didn’t feel he was lacking anything. Mainly because he had never had it in the first place to miss it.

He loved being outside, in the fresh air and the unlimited possibilities nature could offer.

But one season, the family’s seeds all perished from a severe draught. The parents were too old to start over and they sent Palmer into town to find a solution, at least to get new seeds so they could salvage their land.

Palmer was soon lured by the town’s marvels. He was won over by the easy life, the quick money, the superficial ties. To him, it was a different world.

He soon forgot why he was there.

He was drawn into gangs and betting games. Fell into the entrapment of women who seduced him and he immediately lost his initial money and any sums he succeeded in gaining thereafter.

But there was one woman who realised he was being played. Alice approached him in order to set his mind straight.

He was mesmerised at her sight. And he tried to grope her like all the rest asked for. But she turned and slapped him instead.

It made his head spin. But at least it opened his eyes.

Palmer soon returned to his good, old self. Alice helped him find good quality seeds that would help his family revive the farm. And they returned to the countryside together.

Alice had asked him years later what it was that finally awoke him from his trance in the city. He replied it was something she told him:

You are fighting the wrong battles. Stop looking that way; it’s not where you’re going”.

A piano simile

©Anshu Bhojnagarwala

When we come into this world, we are the centre of attention for months, maybe years. Everything and everyone focuses around us. The same is true for new objects that come into our possession.

Like a piano for a musical enthusiast.

It is placed in a dominant position in the room for all to admire. Beautiful melodies sound out of its keys.

Until it grows old and the fascination for it passes with time.

It is considered a given now.

Until one day, neglected for so long, it is dumped.

The same is often unfortunately true for our old people.

Also part of Friday Fictioneers

Prejudiced thieves

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Even for days before, Emma was suffering a panic attack. At the thought alone of what was to come, her breathing became faster, her stomach felt tied in a knot and she had an unbearable pain pounding on her chest. Her head felt almost too much to carry on her shoulders, and she was very often dizzy.

Stress was a bad companion.

More so when it was accompanied by prejudices.

We all carry them with us. Our own perspectives and beliefs on how things will be. They are shaped by past experiences, our mentality, our notions of reality, of what we’ve already seen and felt. We have an apt for predicting the future, for irrationally wanting it to pan out the way it’s forecast in our heads, so that we can pat ourselves on the back later on and confirm our worst fears, telling ourselves we were right. It is one of the paradoxes of human nature. Of wishing things don’t turn out to be the prejudice we have in mind, but of deeply hoping they do so we can verify ourselves.

The day before the event, Emma broke down. She couldn’t concentrate enough to do anything. The thoughts in her mind were too much to bear. She could almost hear a cacophony of voices trying to persuade her that whatever can go wrong will.

Jonathan found her on the couch, curled up as if willing the world to go away.

He touched her shoulder and she sprung upright, the tension having made her uptight.

You wouldn’t invite a thief into your house, so why do you allow thoughts in your head that steal your joy?” he asked.

If your prejudiced things will go wrong, and you adopt a negative attitude because of it, then things are bound to turn into what you fear. If it is true that we attract what we believe and feel, it is all the more important to maintain an open-mind and a positive attitude. Life may surprise us in the end.

Frozen paws

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There was no sign of it in the morning. Even before the sun was out, there was frost in the atmosphere and it was freezing. But it was expected to stay dry. It was in the midst of winter, however, and snow was always a possibility.

Not even a half hour had passed when the first snowflake hit the windshield.

The Chihuahua inside the warm vehicle got excited. As if it had understood the magic that was happening. It began to hop on the seat, stretching out its little tongue as if to lick the snowflakes that began to mount on the glass in front of it.

The driver next to the small dog was smiling. Not only because of the white scenery that began to spread rapidly now; but mainly due to the unexpected reaction from his four-legged friend.

When the road began to become more slippery, they slowed down. Caution was required.

That was when the little dog pinned its eyes outside a certain spot on the window and began to bark. Its tail was elongated like a needle.

The driver stopped and got outside.

The snow was even denser now. You could almost feel it falling on you. The Chihuahua managed to slip outside just before the car door closed.

There in front of them, near some snow-covered bushes was a furry bagel-like-circle. You could barely make out its pointy ears and fluffy tail. The snowflakes had almost engulfed it.

The dog’s owner approached cautiously and extended his hand. The fox opened its eyes. It didn’t move. Perhaps it was too scared. Or perhaps it was too numb from the cold. Its piercing blue-green eyes almost begged for help.

The driver picked it up without breaking the circle it had sat in. Inside the warmth of the car, the fox fluffed up its fur and almost appeared to smile.

The Chihuahua was happy. It didn’t want to be enjoying the luxury of a refuge when some other co-animal was freezing outside. Just because you’re safe, doesn’t mean everyone else is too.

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