Sunday, November 20, 2016


“We are rich,” beamed Kannan this morning in our Tai Chi class. Obviously, the topic of discussion, today, was the cash crunch.

“You know what,” Kannan explained, “I had this old Jewish habit of putting a small amount – rupees 5, 10, 20, 50 whatever – into a box and forget about it. Last week, when everyone around me was crying for cash and cursing Government, banks and ATMs, I quietly opened my box… and behold, it had over nine thousand rupees… It was like a treasure… We are rich!”

I smiled when I heard this new story from Kannan. Just a few days before the demonetization was announced, I had taken out the drawer of my wardrobe for cleaning up. I had not taken it out for years… As I cleared the piles of unwanted stuff, I was pleasantly surprised to find inside hundreds of rupees 5 and 10 coins. Unlike Kannan, I had not placed those coins there consciously… Instead, I had left them there casually without realizing that, one day, they might come handy when all the big notes turned dud!

Yes, when I counted those coins of rupees 5 and 10, I, too, felt like a king!

All along these years, I had taken those coins for granted… Just as we all take water for granted… Someone has to drop us in a desert… to grasp the value of those few drops of water left!

So, no blame… Only glory to whoever emptied my ATM!

Then, there was another story from Kannan, today… A very familiar story that was. It was about ‘reflection’ and ‘image’… rather, the mirror image and X-ray image. “If you stand before the mirror and smile, it will only smile back at you… You will only see what you like to see… Mirror will not show you what you need to see,” Kannan said, “but, the X-ray image can show you what you do not like to see… yes, it can show you what you need to see.”

The context?

Well, we were talking about our most valuable X-ray machines – our nearest and dearest ones at home, especially our wives!

“My wife will not smile back at me like a mirror does when I ask her if everything is fine with me,” Kannan put it forthrightly, “She is the only one in my life who can tell me what is wrong with me… just like an X-ray image.”

We men – and women too – out there could relate to what Kannan was saying.

Only our nearest and dearest ones can honestly tell us how we really are… We were all laughing… For, we knew how true it was!

“If you really want to grow, don’t ask the mirror for a reflection,” Kannan concluded, “Ask the X-ray machine for an image!”

Pic.: Shankar Ramachandran

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