Friday, July 22, 2016

THE SCHOLAR AND THE BOATMAN









Pic.: Avinash Mantri



Years ago, when I had decided to do something about my poor English, one of the things I did – and found very effective – was telling a nice story in two tenses… the Present and the Past. Over the years, I have helped hundreds of people, who were earnest about improving their English, with the same method… Yes, write a nice story down in both the tenses… and, then, tell it to someone…

I had this story in my primary school text- book… It makes me feel that I am still in Life’s primary school!



THE SCHOLAR
AND THE BOATMAN


PAST:

One day, a village boatman was rowing a scholar to the other side of a river. As the boatman was doing his job quietly, the scholar asked him: “Have you studied the Vedas?”

"No sir, I haven’t,” the poor boatman replied.

"What? You've wasted your life," the arrogant scholar shouted.

"Can you not speak Sanskrit?

"No sir; I cannot."

"Ayyo Rama, what a waste of life!"

"What about reading and writing… at least, you must be able to do them?"

"Sir, I am a poor soul of this village; I have never entered the gates of a school."

"It is a criminal waste of life, indeed!"

By now, the boat had reached the deep-middle of the river. A ferocious wind blew, causing a violent storm, and the boat began to go down. The ‘highly-learned’ man was all panic personified, and he began to tremble. "Please help me; please save me," he cried for help before the calm and composed boatman.

"Have you learnt swimming, sir?" the illiterate and poor boatman asked.

"No, I haven't," the scholar begged for help.

"What a waste of life!" the poor man threw his hands up, as the boat went down, taking along the arrogant.



PRESENT:


(One day), a village boatman is rowing a scholar to the other side of a river. As the boatman is doing his job quietly, the scholar asks him: “Have you studied the Vedas?”

"No sir, I haven’t,” the poor boatman replies.

"What? You've wasted your life," the arrogant scholar shouts.

"Can you not speak Sanskrit?

"No sir; I cannot."

"Ayyo Rama, what a waste of life!"

"What about reading and writing… at least, you must be able to do them?"

"Sir, I am a poor soul of this village; I have never entered the gates of a school."

"It is a criminal waste of life, indeed!"

By now, the boat has reached the deep-middle of the river. A ferocious wind blows, causing a violent storm, and the boat begins to go down. The ‘highly-learned’ man is all panic personified, and he begins to tremble. "Please help me; please save me," he cries for help before the calm and composed boatman.

"Have you learnt swimming, sir?" the illiterate and poor boatman asks.

"No, I haven't," the scholar begs for help.

"What a waste of life!" the poor man throws his hands up, as the boat goes down, taking along the arrogant.



GERALD D’CUNHA

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