|Limits and Tolerances
“Peace and Patience are the cornerstones of any civilization. The path of patience is the surest way to attain the end. In everything that survives everyday on this planet, there is patience. A lion stalking on its prey for example; the end is of course inevitable but that’s just the law of nature; ultimately the lion needs patience to achieve its prey. So patience as we know it is not a virtue, it is a way of life. Take Gandhi, Buddha, Asoka and numerous other people before and after them; they saw good and peace through patience. A lot of conflicts came to an end with patience. The bottom line is, everything can be reasoned for and everybody can be reasoned with……….”
Vikram was sitting among the audience, with a clenched fist and a locked jaw listening to every word that came out of the mouth of the purported ‘prophet’. He looked no more than 50. Short, stout and with a receding hairline Vikram felt this guy would have made a better professor or something and a discourse was the last thing anybody expected from him.
The hall was filled with a lot of interesting faces. Some of them were people with public lives, others not so. But they were all here because of one thing; they believed the guy sitting on the stage and making that discourse and they believed in the power of patience. On a personal note Vikram thought that the guy was a load of big words with nothing to prove for; of course there was history, but still. All of this was going through Vikram’s head as the guy was trying to make a point that patience solves everything; that was when Vikram lost it.
“I have to disagree with you”
All the people in the hall looked around at Vikram as though he had committed a mortal sin. The speaker looked up at him with an affectionate smile and spoke to him in the same calm voice that he kept up during the discourse.
“What is it my boy? Talk to me”
“Like I said I, have to disagree with you. Not everything can be solved with patience”
“How so? Would you have the grace to enlighten us on what you think?”
“I can, but for that I will have to tell you a story”
“We have all the patience in the world so please continue with this story of yours”
“Okay a few of you might find this boring and unjust but here goes. I finished college two years back and this about one incident and one person. His name was Bala and fate made us end up in the same class. I was really getting on with him in the beginning considering that we were put into the picture under the same circumstances; marks and the whole system which is pretty much against almost everybody who wants something out of it……”
“Sir you just cannot go accusing the system…..” a fellow from the audience raised his voice and hands against Vikram.
“Where is your patience now?” Vikram asked him with a very calm and collected voice. The man looked as though an invisible hand had slapped him across the face.
“Can we get on with the story my dear boy? The system is what it is and if you want to change then engage in efforts instead of blaming it. And for now I don’t really think that the system had any part whatsoever in this story of yours. I am sorry but as much as everybody has patience, the same cannot be said about time.”
“Sorry sir, as I was saying we really had a good time in the first months of meeting each other. But as you know after all the initial excitement and words wear off the true natures come out to play. Can you agree with that?”
The speaker gave a smiling nod making it clear that he understood.
“People are different sir, they are unique. You, me and everybody in this hall and everybody in this world, they have a set of things that set them apart from the others. Those set of things define what they are and they define the actions that will lay out the foundations for the life that they are going to lead. Those traits may be anything. There are people who turn angry on the slightest hint of discomfort or trouble, some who are good manipulators, some who would stoop down to the lowest levels to achieve their personal incentives and some who are patient just like you said.
I was different in one way and Bala was different in a whole other way. The good part was we were mindful of the differences and the things we had in common helped us survive each other. Now Bala had this habit of making fun of the people around him. I am sure that all through our lives we all have come across people like Bala.”
The crowd nodded in unison acknowledging Vikram’s words.
“That nature of his had various outcomes and various victims. Some were unable to stand up to his teasing and just went away and never talked to him again, some stood up to him and forged an enmity with him and very few saw him for what he was and held their patience with him.”
“Mr.Vikram may I take the liberty of saying that being on the enmity side did not help you. I mean that is why you are attending this discourse are you not?” asked the speaker with a glint of triumph in his voice.
“Actually no, I went on to be one of the people who tolerated him for what he was.”
“Then I don’t see the point of you telling this story”
“Not just yet. One day in our second year we had a small argument about our passions and as I said earlier people are unique. I was passionate about photography and naturally I was siding with how passions play an important role in our lives. Bala, as was his nature began talking about photography as a ‘profession for losers and a hobby for lonely people’ after he said this my patience was leaving me with every word that he spoke. Finally he called photography as ‘crap’ and that was the limit, he just hit rock bottom and I was not able to take it anymore. I slapped him hard across the face and just left the room. We have not talked for four years since that incident. And that is my story”
“I finally understand the reason for your presence. You are guilty about that and want to patch up with hi, is that right?”
“Actually no, I told you this story to prove something else. After that incident he stopped making fun of people in ways that piss them off. He still made fun but it was friendly humor, no harm to anybody. So my anger actually achieved something in a place where my patience was buried, what do you have to say about that?”
“One incident does not change everything Mr.Vikram”
“No offence to your discourse sir but life is like an obstacle course and you have to duck and jump whenever you have to. Just bowing down your head and letting everybody squat on top of you will do no good. There needs to be a balance and sometimes where patience does not work a slap to the face will work wonders.”
The speaker looked at him with a stunned expression. Here was a college graduate dismantling everything that he had preached. It was hard for him to process those last set of words.
“And I did not come here to come to terms with my patience; I came here because my mother forced me to.”
“One last thing Vikram, how is it that you have such profound insights on life?”
“Try being in college and you will have all time in the world” Vikram said with a mischievous smile on his face.
© Copyright 2012 Ram Prabakar (UN: ramprabakar at Writing.Com).
All rights reserved.
Ram Prabakar has granted Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.
|Log In To Leave Feedback|