Last summer, in our PD sessions, we had these three thick friends – all 13-year old. Kavish, Arnab and Neeraj. So vibrant they were, so full of mischief and life… I loved to call them ‘Gandhiji’s three monkeys’! And, these three little monkeys loved me for that!
On the graduation day, like others, all three monkeys had turned up immaculately dressed, very formally. When I called out their names, I had to call them the way I always did during those two months. Kavish preferred to shut his ears, Arnab his eyes… and Neeraj wanted his mouth sealed!
It is close to a year since my three little monkeys passed out of our class. But then, every time I bump into them, they have to be together – all three… Yes, all three monkeys!
Inspired by the three little monkeys,
I had, unwittingly, told the class,
“To be happy and successful in our lives,
all that we need to do is –
‘be the three monkeys’…”
“Hear no evil… See no evil… and, Speak no evil.”
No, I had not told this to the class. I was not taking a Moral Science class for these young kids… Nor was I a Baba giving them some ‘pravachan’!
I had said, “Like the first monkey, in life, you need to be deaf, quite many times. Do not expect people to speak to you only nice things… Even though you deserve compliment, even though you do not deserve to be decried, even though it is too painful to bear what is being said… Yes, even though it is unfair and hurting, you need to learn how to filter out what you hear… How not to take it to your heart, and sulk, turn bitter and angry… How to see the goodness in the other person even though he has just said something unfair…” And, I would tell them, “It is so necessary for us to learn this. Because, the person who says the nasty things might be a very dear one: our parent, brother or sister, a close relative or a teacher or a well-wisher.” I would remind them, “You can not just discard these people from your life… You need to learn how not to internalize some things that you hear… and, how you need to do some.”
“Like the second monkey, you need to be blind sometimes,” I would remind my students. I would tell them, “Eyes too are the gateway to our hearts. Everything that you see may not be pleasant. Even though you see some people doing things you do not like – and, they keep doing them even though they know that you do not like them doing, and even though you have expressed your displeasure before them… Yes, you need to learn how to close your eyes – be blind – to some of their behaviour and actions. Because, these people may be your dearest ones. You just can’t shunt them off your life. You need to live with them… and live with dignity, freedom and harmony.”
Finally, what heart feels, our mouth speaks. Gandhiji was a huge fan of Jesus Christ… “Do unto others what you want them to do unto you.” It is as simple as that. “You may not be able to stop other people from saying nasty things towards you,” I would drill into my young students’ minds, “But, you can always stop you from doing it towards others… Yes, like the third monkey, we need to be dumb… many, many times, in life.”
I used to have a lot of fun discussing this serious stuff – LIFE – with the young and little ones.
Who doesn’t want to be happy and successful in life?
A baby cries for the same reason. An old one, as well!
Just today, in TOI Sunday-special, I was reading about what Pritish Nandy and his wife Reena Nandy had to say about the secret behind their 33-year-old marriage. They had to zoom on one thing that is a must for a long-lasting marriage. “Humour,” was what Pritish pointed. “Be deaf, be blind and be dumb,” was what Reena had to say.
“Wow!” I jumped, “What a simple way!”
* Image source: Internet.