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THE POWER OF ‘I AM SORRY.’

‘I am sorry’ a short but mighty sentence! If you wish to live long, don't joke with this short sentence, *I am sorry. * Do you k...

THE TWO JARS

Rahim walked as carefully as he possibly could, holding the tails of his now heavy shirt. Wonder why Dadi asked me to bring 100 pebbles?'he mused. He gave a small shrug,
Anything Dadi asks I will do without asking any question.'
Rahim and his Dadi lived in a small hamlet near
Lucknow. Dadi had got married when she was only 15, and within two years Rahim's father had been born. Rahim thought sadly
to himself, 'If only Dadaji had not died of typhoid after Abbu was born, life would have been so different...'
A young widow, Dadi had to toil in the fields to earn some living for herself and her tiny son. Time passed and Abbu grew up to be the most handsome and sturdy lad in our village. Dadi got him married to Ammi, the prettiest girl from the neighbouring village. Their marriage was an affair to remember. Happiness filled their lives when I was born, until that fateful day...' Thinking about his parents, Rahim broke down and sobbed uncontrollably, he lifted his hands to wipe his tears. The pebbles rolled down. He sat on a rock, pebbles temporarily forgotten. What did we do to make God so angry? Why did Abbu and Ammi have to die?' Rahim's parents had drowned while crossing the Gomti River in a boat. 'Poor Dadi! She was heartbroken once again. She had to raise me all by herself and that too in her old age,' he sniffed. After a few minutes, Rahim said to himself, 'Enough, I had better return home soon. Dadi
will worry. I don't want her to see my tears, she will feel bad.' He picked up his pebbles a second time and ran as fast as his legs could carry him.
Meanwhile, Dadi was waiting anxiously. 'It has been over two hours, where is my precious one? I hope he is all right. Has he been upto mischief again?' she wondered. 'It is all my fault. I have pampered him. The whole village is full of complaints about his pranks.'
Rahim was her only reason for living and she showered a great amount of love on him. As a result, Rahim, a loving and considerate child, was, at times, prone to petulant behaviour. Dadi knew that Rahim's pranks were increasing. Why, just last night he had climbed onto the roof of the neighbour's house and lowered a Diwali cracker with a long fuse. He had lit it after he had scurried down, and it had burst with a deafening roar, after he was safely in bed. Nobody would have known if Bahadur, the village
watchman had not seen this from afar. In spite of herself Dadi smiled indulgently and thought, 'If only he put his intelligence to proper use. Never mind. It is not too late.
That is why the pebbles. I...'
Her thoughts were interrupted by a chirpy voice calling, "Dadi! Dadi!"
"Where were you, Rahim? I was sick with worry. Were you upto some prank again?"
"No, Dadi. Promise! I went to fetch the pebbles."
"Beta! Why is your face red? Have you been crying?"
"No, Dadi, some pollen went into my eyes."
"Come inside, beta, have a wash and eat something."
Once inside, Rahim asked excitedly, "Tell me, Dadi, why did you ask for the pebbles. Does it have to do with my birthday?"
Dadi said, "Wait, don't hurry me. I will tell you in good time. First, tell me what do you want for your birthday. Whom are you going to invite?" In the excitement of his impending birthday party, Rahim forgot about the pebbles. Besides he had his own little planning to do.
The great day dawned and Rahim rose early all by himself.
He brushed and bathed, wore his new clothes and ran to Dadi for her blessings. Seeing him all shiny and new, Dadi's eyes grew moist. 'So much like his father!' she said to herself. She gathered him into her arms and kissed him on his forehead, "May Allah bless you with good health and happiness, my child!"
"Thank you, Dadi, now where is my gift?" Rahim was impatient. Dadi smiled at his eagerness and gave him a box. Rahim opened the box with bated breath, "Wow! new shoes! Thank you, Dadi!" he yelled and before Dadi could react he was out of the door. Dadi shook her head and set to work. 'If I know him well, the whole village will
be at my doorstep for dinner!'
The evening was a success. All of Dadi's neighbours gave a helping hand. Everything went well except...
"Dadi! See what Rahim has done. He has put tiny frogs in the carry-home gift bags of all the girls," complained Chachi. The girls ran helter-skelter, shrieked and were on the point of fainting. The fate of the poor frogs was the same too!
Dadi decided it was time to take out the pebbles and explain their function. At night, she called out to him, "Beta, come here, and bring that bag from the cupboard. See,




what is inside it." Dadi asked Rahim to carry two empty
jars too.
"Not very interesting. Two old jars. Are they a gift too?" Rahim asked excitedly.
"A gift you will remember lifelong. Listen carefully. This is a red jar and the other one is a green jar. Every night before you sleep recollect all the good things you did, and for every good deed put one pebble into the green jar, and..."
"I know, Dadi. I know. For every bad or wrong act I should put a pebble in the red jar. Right?"
"Yes, beta. That is all. Simple, isn't it?"
"OK. Goodnight, Dadi," a tired Rahim wished his granny as he fell asleep on her lap. Dadi gently put him on the bed. She then took two pebbles and put one in each jar. The good one for all the assistance he gave her and the bad one for the frog incident. Even Dadi could not resist a smile thinking of Rahim's pranks.
Days passed and though in the beginning Dadi had to remind Rahim about the pebbles at the end of each day, soon he learnt to do this without her reminding.
After a few weeks, Rahim began to observe that while the green jar had only a few pebbles the red jar was almost full. That night sleep eluded Rahim. He began to ponder over his behaviour. Why is only the red jar full? Do I really trouble so many people?' He started crying and ran to his grandmother. "Dadi, do you love me though I am bad?"
Dadi caressed his head, "Who dares to call my child bad?
Allah, me and the whole village love you."
That night Rahim made a resolve: 'I will behave in a more responsible manner.'
The next day Rahim got up early on his own and went up to Dadi as she was drawing water from the well. "Dadi, you sit. Here, let me draw the water for you. From today I will do it every day. I will help you in the fields too." Dadi just smiled. She knew there was more to come.
And Rahim became a very busy boy.
"Chachi, I am going to the market. Can I bring anything for you?"
"Maasi, I am sorry about the fire cracker the other day. Can I come in the evening and repair the broken vase and the table?"
"Hari Kaka, don't come home to deliver the milk. I am younger and stronger. I will come myself to collect it."
"Chotu, drop by. I will help you with your mathematics."
Time passed. Hari Kaka said one day, "Didi, you are so lucky. Allah gave you such a wonderful grandchild."
"Maasi, your Rahim is equal to ten boys," said another.
Rahim forgot all about the pebbles but Dadi dutifully transferred all the pebbles from the red jar to the green one. In a matter of days, the green jar was full and the red one empty.
Next day, as Rahim saw Dadi walk over to her neighbour's house with a bag, he smiled to himself. He knew what was in it. Chotu was a real naughty fellow!
Even to this day, in this small village near Lucknow, the two jars and the hundred pebbles are passed on from family to family.

 


Yerra Ramtulsi