Wednesday, September 28, 2005

अलसस्य कुतो विद्या । अविद्यस्य कुतो धनम...

Typically, the weekend mornings are slow to start, especially for my room-mate. By the time he gets up and tries to lose the startup troubles, I am done with my morning walk for The Hindu, have taken bath, and reading some book, when this fellow enters my room. We go for a coffee, return and settle down for a conversation.

As it so happens next (and so many times), we are having a long discussion about virtually anything : right from Bangalore's traffic problems, to solutions thereof, to Shivaji Maharaj's wisdom and adventures; from icecream at Corner house to PG Wodehouse; when suddenly we realise, we have spent a huge amount of time in chatting (without much outcome). Suddenly, my room-mate realises it is quite late in the morning, he has not done anything worth mentioning since the morning : "अलसस्य कुतो विद्या..." he says, and concludes the conversation.

I remember a story of a shepherd boy who has let the cattle stray on unlimited land to graze on, and with his hands on eyes, trying to get some sleep.

Enter a "learned" fellow from a big city. He is worried at general lack of awareness about the development of the urban world among the rural people, lack of education, lack of job opportunities and what not. Upon seeing this boy full lying so idle and visibly "wasting" time like this, he can't help but start a preaching session.

"Hey there, what's your name??", The Sahib asks.

"GaNapat", the boy answers without bothering to open his eyes to see who he is talking to.

"Hi GaNapat, how do you do?"

"Fine. Thank you. I am enjoying myself"

"Don't you think you are wasting time? Going by your age, you should be studying hard and exploring things..."

"Why? I am very happy like this. Why study? And why study hard?" - GaNapat.

"C'mon. Everybody knows why one should study. To gain knowledge, to know more things."

By this time, GaNapat is keen to see who is asking so many questions, and why.

"Why? Why should I gain more knowledge you tell me!"

"Simple : If you'll study, go to a reputed college, graduate, then you'll get a good job in the big city!"

"What of it? Let's say I study, etc. etc. and get a good job then what?"

"Then you can make some serious money. And gain still more knowledge too!"

"OK. What of it? What next?" - GaNapat doesn't see any point in doing all this hard work.

"Hey, come on. You know so many things you can buy if you are rich. Look at me!"

"Hmm.", GaNapat returns Sahib's gaze with a cold stare.

"Look at me. I used to get up early in the mornings, when I was your age, then go to school. I Used to study harder than any of my friends. I topped so many exams, now I am settled in my life. I have all the joys of life."

"OK. So what?"

"Don't you see? If you have a great deal of money, a good position at job, you can enjoy more. See, I have come to this lovely village of yours to relax, to bask in the beauty of nature. To sing!"

"Sir, I still see no point in your advice. I respect you, and your efforts, but don't you see, without taking so many troubles, am I not doing what you have come here to do? Boy, I am enjoying myself for sure!!"


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