Wednesday, August 10, 2016

WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE?











Pic.: Chetna Shetty

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

I like this story and keep recounting it when people try to tell me with cynicism, “Friend, this world has so many problems out there… What difference does it make if you do what you are doing?”

The only way to solve the problems of this world is to do ‘what we can’… what is within our reach.




WHAT DIFFERENCE
DOES IT MAKE?




PAST:


On one hot afternoon, a man was walking along a beach. The water had receded due to low tide and thousands of tiny starfish lay there on the hot beach-bed. As he walked, the man bent down, picked a starfish, took a few steps forward towards the sea and gently hurled it into the sea… He kept doing it one starfish after another.

Another man, who was watching this, was amused. “My friend, there are thousands of those starfish lying on this beach” he said, “tell me, what difference does your act make?”

The man bent down, picked another starfish, took a few steps forward towards the sea, and replied with a smile as he gently sent back the starfish to its home, “It does make a difference to this one.”


PRESENT:

On one hot afternoon, a man is walking along a beach. The water has receded due to low tide and thousands of tiny starfish lie there on the hot beach-bed. As he walks, the man bends down, picks a starfish, takes a few steps forward towards the sea and gently hurls it into the sea… He keeps doing it one starfish after another.

Another man, who is watching this, is amused. “My friend, there are thousands of those starfish lying on this beach” he says, “tell me, what difference does your act make?”

The man bends down, picks another starfish, takes a few steps forward towards the sea, and replies with a smile as he gently sends back the starfish to its home, “It does make a difference to this one.”


GERALD D’CUNHA

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