a birthday lunch

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Religion and Spirituality  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: July 18, 2016

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Submitted: July 18, 2016

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A Birthday Lunch

 

One day an old man and his grandson went to the restaurant. It was old man’s 74th birthday. It has been tradition between them for long time that’s whenever ones birthday comes other one always takes him for lunch in to that particular restaurant as a treat.

But this birthday wasn’t seems same as previous others. The boy was looking pretty quit and unsettled from the home.

“Something obliviously bothering him”, old man thoughts to himself.

On the way he asked the boy about it. But boy put a smile and waved it off. So old man kept quiet about it and gave the boy his space.

On lunch table, after old man gave the order boy broke his silence.

”You know, I don’t know what I should do in my life anymore.” He said.

“It’s like every time I try to make things work; somehow they manage to fall apart”.

Old man calms him down and asked him to tell everything from the start.

“Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to become a heart surgeon like dad. That’s why I worked real hard in school to get good grades. Back then unlike other kids of my age, I never messed around or wasted time on stupid stuff just for kicks except one thing. In those days bunch of us friends started a band. We used to call it ‘Hells Redemption’. We used to play it in bars and kids birthday parties mostly. We even had won few local competitions too.”

“Sounds like a gig” old man said smilingly.

“It was beautiful then” said the boy,” But then from the 9th grade I started playing tennis just for little change from everything and apparently I was turned out to be so good at it that my coach advised me to pursue it as a career, which I also felt right in those days”.

“Then what happened?” asked old man.

“Well, for some time I managed all those things simultaneously. My heart surgeon dream, my rock band, my tennis. Everything was so much perfect back then. But at the end of high school our little band got so famous that we started getting requests from all over the city .We even had gotten an offer from one recording company too. So my other band mates started to think to make it a professional band. But when they asked me I said no, because I had to go to the medical school in London .I even had a perfect score for that.”

“That’s a hard choice you made there.” Said the old man.

“It was hard” said the boy “that was the most difficult decision I ever took in my life, it even brought me some pain and suffering too for long time but I stayed stick with it any way.”

“Then I moved to London for medical school. It was great there. It was everything I ever wanted. I was getting good grades; I even made a lot of friends there. But still I wasn’t that much happy about it as much I expected. Something was bothering me but I didn’t know what it was. And then it started to become a problem.

I started to skip classes and preferred to wander alone in random places. Instead library, I started to spend most of my time in bars. Clearly I went into the depression for some unknown reason.

But then one day one of my friends suggested me that the best way to get over depression is by start doing something you enjoy the most, it gets your mind off your problems and helps you see more clearly whatever that you looking for.

So I gave tennis a shot and it worked like magic. My mood started to recover. I started to feel strong and confident like I used to. It was like I was gotten rejuvenated somehow.  So I kept playing. And just in few weeks I became to known as the best tennis player in whole campus. So finally I decided to pursue tennis as a career.

I took break from school and went back to New Jersey to join a tennis club. In next 8 months I gotten into states double team with a guy called Matt. This time I really thought that I have finally found what I was looking for long time. As a team we were doing really well. I was getting recognition too. But that wasn’t last for long.

One day Matt came to me when I was practicing in court and asked me to meet him in bar in 2 hours. I told him that I need to practice for tomorrows match. He winked at me and said that’s what he wants to talk to me.

So I went there but he was already there with this beautiful girl. He introduced me to her and said she is a bookie and she is ready to pay us good if we lose tomorrows match. I startled and said that, this is wrong and if we get caught then not only it’s going to ruin our careers but also we might have to face some serious jail time too. But that didn’t affect him at all, instead he came close to me and in my ear real calmly he said that it’s a totally solid proof, all the higher management members of committee are in it too.

So unwillingly I might say, I followed him and we intentionally lost the match next day. After 2 days we got our shares it was a lot of money but it didn’t made me happy. After that it kept happening again and again until last year when I got sick of it and left the team.”

“That’s a good thing you did there” said the old man “The Promises comes with a lie can’t able to provide a man peaceful life for long time no matter how spectacular they look at start.” 

“So I went back to medical school.” said the boy, ”It wasn’t the same there anymore. But at least I was doing honest work. To forget everything, I started to concentrate on my study. Also time to time I was doing some voluntary work too in one free medical camp for homeless kids. That’s where I met Lisa. And now we are been together for a year. Everything was going well until last week when I met one of my old band buddy. We went to a bar and we were just talking usual stuff when he told me that he is a guitarist in this big band and they are going on a world tour in next 4 month but unfortunately their drummer drop out of project at last moment so they are looking for new one. But as he knows me from way back, he can get me in the band”.

“So what you said?” Asked the old man.

“I said I will think over it.”Said the boy “honestly I don’t know what I should do anymore because on the one hand after long time I have this normal perfect promising life in London with Lisa, which I really don’t want to ruin this time.  And on other hand I have this once in a life time opportunity which most people only dreams of, which I don’t really want to lose so easily.”

“And what’s your heart tells you to do Son?” asked the old man.

“honestly, I want to go with the band.” said boy uneasily” Usually in such projects  you get the most amazing lifetimes of experiences , which is comparatively very hard to find in any other activities. And tour is only for a year.”

“Then go with the band” said the old man “get the astonishing experience of this tour. And again, god forbids if things goes wrong this time too, then you can always go back to Lisa and your school in no time”.

“But what if that’s not remain an option anymore.” said a boy “What if things won’t work out in tour and when I back to London to see Lisa, she would have been moved on with someone else and then what if I have remain no a strength to continue with medical school anymore, not enough strength to continue to live the life. Then what would I do then?”

“It’s just going to be fine, have a some faith in god” said the old man “things surely going to work out, you will see”.

“ That’s the part I hate the most” said boy angrily ”Because in earlier whenever I tried to forget the past and moved on with  my life,  Something always went wrong and put me back to square one. It happened at the end of high school, then in medical School and again with tennis career too. And that’s why I am pretty sure that this time also going to be no different than previous others. It’s like god is playing some wicked jokes on me which always conclude that no matter what I do, I am always going to stay this miserable, always.”

The old man takes boys hands in his hand and said, “its ok son, in every once in while everyone goes through this phase of their life, so don’t think about it too much and enjoy your days.”

“That’s not true “said the boy “you never had to go through any of this trouble ever.  You born and raised in California then you went for college in New York to take journalism course. You met grandma there. After a college you took job in local newspaper, then you married grandma have a kids and 25 years later you started your own newspaper.” 

“Yes, it’s all true but it’s not all that happened”, said old man smilingly “After I completed college I started working for local newspaper called New Century, and that’s when war broke out. Our country started sending troops in Middle East to fight. But we were out numbered, so government stared recruitment vigorously. Few of my friends even went and joined the army to help our country.  I also wanted to go because I thought it’s a right thing to do. But then I also didn’t want your grandma to suffer every day by worrying about me when we were just engaged.”

“So what did you do?” asked the boy.

“At first for few weeks I wasn’t been myself. I couldn’t be concentrating on work properly; I used to stay awefully quiet around everyone. I was frustrated by sitting idle and doing nothing when my country needs me.

So one day one of my friend told me that just recently there is a man came in town. He is traveling all over the world and he is staying here for few days.  Some says he is a saint, some says he is philosopher but over and all he is a man with great knowledge and wisdom. 

So I track down this wise mans address and asked him to meet me. I told him that I wanted to write an article about his journey, so if he could spare some time for me then that would be great.

So next day we met in coffee shop. After formal conversation he told me all about his journey in 197 different countries and his different experiences with people and their life style.

So in the end  I asked him that as he has gone through all this countries , met all this people and experience so many cultures how would he like to conclude the ultimate meaning of human life ,our objective in this world.

He stared at me for some time and said “you know at beginning of my journey I was wondering with very same question with myself for a long time. But then one day I met a guy in Australia. he was a camper once and now he was running this training camp where people get to learn the our nature’s way of living or you can called it a survival training exercise in wild”.

“What we do is we train people how to survive in wild without any external artificial help” said the camper

 “ It’s a 10 days camp in which for first 3 days we provide them basic training for camping like what should be they eating  and drinking , things from one should be careful about and how to look after oneself and others. And from 4th day the actual survival experience begins. We take them into this small forest like environment we created in nearly 10km2 areas in side of our campus just for this purposes only.”

“You mean to say that from 4th day to 10th day this people are all their own?” wise man asked “what if something happens to them?”

“Oh no, once in everyday I personally send few camp guards to look after each and every candidate.

This guards listen to participants troubles, advice them, guides them in finding the solutions and most importantly encourage them all the time to complete this 10 days camp successfully.” Camper answered

“So how people do in this camps in general ?” I asked.

“well, its quit difficult to say really” camper said” you see on every 3rd day evening of camp ,I gather all the participants and give them a speech, which I haven’t change by a word in all this years.

I tell them “from tomorrow you are going to experience the our real natures ways of living the life. Most of us called it as ways of a wild life. This are the ways which every living beings on this planet follows every day except most of us human being, who prefer to accomplish their daily tasks with help of artificial equipments. But for next 7 days you are going to be all your own alone in this forest. You are not going to get any external help from outside world. That means you have to survive there on only resources you find there. Also you are not allowed to leave the forest in any case. So to complete this task, you have to use your training and most importantly your instincts. you all have natural instincts like all other living things but you are just unaware of it. So try to listen and trust to your instincts every time you feel them and you will be just fine. It might feel really hard at first but over the period of time you will get better in it. And when you will complete successfully this task you will find yourself healthier, smarter and peaceful than you were before 10 days.

To make this exercise more efficient you are going to the forest with only 2 pairs of cloths , 2 pairs of socks, 1 pair of shoes and your instincts that’s it. Also once in a every day you will meet with one of a camp guard who will guide you in pursuing the task.  And that’s it, Best of luck.””

“Well its sounds fair” Wise man said

“But still with every camp I get all the kinds of mix reactions. I always say if you complete the task successfully then you will find yourself healthier, smarter and peaceful than you were 10 days before. Which is right but I never says you are going to be the fittest person alive or smartest one or you are going to become freaking Tarzan in the end. But still some people start hoping to come like one in the end.  ”

“I think I started to get an idea” Wise man said with laugh.

“And that’s not all, some people come with much weirder expectation like they think this exercise might going to cure their deceases or blocked moments which might even possible sometime but I never make that promises. But still in the end of camping some of them comes to me and complain that its fails to fulfill their expectations even though they did everything they asked to do.

Some of them ask that if they did something wrong because they didn’t get the result they looking for.

Some of them ask why they don’t get as much good results as other people even though when they successfully completed the same tasks like everyone else.

Some of them don’t say a word and leave but some do come and appreciate me with their results in which some are promised by me and some are not promised by me.”

“Then what you reply to them?” Wise man asked

“What can I say” said the Camper” I tell them the same thing I told them before on 3rd day of camp. Some of them get it some of them don’t.”

Wise man nodded.

“The same trouble goes for all the camp guards too, every time ” Camper said “when once in everyday this camp guards goes meet people in forest Instead of asking genuine advice some people keep nagging them with results which they are not feeling yet. Some even threaten the guards that they will leave the place if they don’t see the results any sooner. Some thanks to guards for results they getting in which some are promise and some are not.”

“But you said they can’t leave the forest until 10th day” Wise man asked

“Yes, although its true still some time people manage to run out” Camper said “But some of them do comeback and apologize and some even come to next camp too”

“And what you says to them” Wise man asked with smile

He laugh, “what do you think” he said “the same thing I been saying up till now and going to keep saying in future too.

I tell this same thing to people who broke the rule who try to cheat by bringing stuff like mobile , lighter ,radio and what not into the forest which is against the rule and not helpful to get result which they are hoping to get in first place.

But still some of them argue with me and leave in middle of camping.

Some of them apologize and carry out remaining task clean.

Some of them does apologize for a time but keep cheating continue any way”

“And how does it end for them” Wise man asked although he knew the answer was pretty sure.

“Obviously most of them don’t get the result as good as expected. But very few of them are exception to it apparently. Still some of them come to me and blame me for it. Some come and apologies to me and promises me that they will do good next time. And some come and thanks me for correcting them earlier so because of that they got such good results.

And I again tell all of them the same thing because it’s the only thing I am completely sure of and I want them to understand that clearly and completely.  Some of them get it and some don’t.” said the camper

And at thats moment I got my answer.”

And all the sudden there was a splashing sound that resonated all across the restaurant hall. The waitress who was serving old man and boy, mistakenly dropped the curry pot. The pot fall on the boys shoulder and then over the ground and spatter in pieces with ruining the boys suit completely.

“I am so sorry sir. It was an accident, please don’t be mad” said waitress sobbingly

“Its ok.” said the boy calmly “I am not mad, it was an unfortunate accident. Let me help you with this”

Until then other staff also came to their table and tried clear the mess.

The boy helped the waitress to clean up the mess and told the manager to not to blame her.

“So what was the answer?” asked the boy after sitting to new table.

“you see the god is a camper and we are his participants ,who are right now pursuing  god’s self-imposed 7 days survival task called life in the forest which is our this world. “old man said softly.

Boy kept staring blankly at old man.

“You see god doesn’t send us to this world with any sort of manual or instruction book. Which only mean whatever we need to know about survival and about our reason existence, we already knows it. But because of some unknown reason we don’t remember that very well. So now all we need to find out a way to remember it once again.”

“And how we going to do that” asked the boy with interest.

“That’s where function of instincts comes to work. Our instincts are only path way to get to that ultimate knowledge which we lost in dark once. And for that we must need to hone our instincts.”

“And how are we going to hone our instincts” asked the boy

“See our instinct is not any tangible object which you see and mould as the way you like.  Instinct is psychological condition which provides logical reasoning to our all actions which we carry out or should carry out for our prosperous survival. In short it’s our instincts which tells us and guides us what to do next even though sometimes it seems foolish, wrong or coldhearted to others. Even god also doesn’t really criticize or appreciate our decisions or action we implement in the end. In reality he never interfere in our lifes.“

“You think god doesn’t really care about us?” asked the boy with surprise

“No” said old man softly “ I think god is our usher , a mentor who has already given us a necessary knowledge of the world and survival ,and now what we do with it afterward is none of his business. It’s like customer buys a lighter from a shop, now it’s up to customer whether to use lighter to light a can candle or to light a cigarette or to light a freaking house, that’s his business  not shopkeepers “.

“Then why we are doing all the praying and holy rituals form this centuries?” asked the boy.

“Did god ever personally ask you to that?” asked the old man” God really don’t care about appreciation he gets from people for their success or the blame for their loss. All he knows the world’s rules and regulations which he created. And he expects to get them follow by people. As long as you follow the rules you will be getting his blessing and somehow if you break any rule you will have to compensate for it.”

“But some people get successful without following the rule” asked the boy

“How do you know?” Asked the old man” we are talking about natures rules, which we learn from our instincts. Neither they can be get define or describe in good /bad, right/wrong, ethical/unethical context, and nor the rewards or punishment we receive from them can get explain under worthy or unworthy frame of reference which we believes in.”

“And how do we work with our instincts then?” asked the boy

“for starter clear your head and try to listen what your mind is really telling you to do” said the old man “then do it without any hesitation and once you do it then don’t judge yourself with outcome you get because it might be too soon to conclude anything and you never know, so Instead that try to listen to your instincts for your next move.”

“Thats not the answer I am looking for” said the boy

“Alright, half an hour ago when that waitress drop a curry pot on you it ruined your cloths.” Said the old man “ Now its going to leave a pretty big stain on your suit, which is very hard clean. Its even possible that you can’t be able to wear that anymore, and that is some expensive suit. So even by knowing how much that curry pot has just cost you, you stayed calm and console that waitress. If someone else were in your position he not only would have scolded her for good but also might have made her to compensate for it.”

“At first it was really an accident” said the boy “secondly she was genuinely felt bad for it and already apologized to me for it. You saw the tears in her eyes, right? And this thing happens. I really don’t understand what the big deal about it is?”

“Exactly” said the old man “You knew what was the right thing to do that time, and you did it without any hesitation, you listened to your instinct. “

Until then their bill arrived. Boy paid the bill.

”But this make no sense.”  While wearing the coat boy said “Today this things you told me about our instincts, god and life, they should be known to everyone for living prosperous life. But most of people are totally unaware about it. So if god really care about us then why don’t he make sure this all people  should be getting this knowledge on time for living better life.”

 “Well actually he is doing his job just fine you know.” said the old man with wearing the hat,” but, not all the people really listen to him.”

 “What do you mean?” asked the boy by looking surprised at the old man.

But old man was busy looking in the mirror. With curling his mustache with one hand, he said smilingly “You know, earlier when I was telling you the story I did mention about those Australian camp guards from the training camp right ?”

 

  • Ameya Pradhan

 

 


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