May 28, 2009 Sugirdha 0Comment

A traveller was visiting the country side and at one place, he saw an elephant tied to a tree. He couldn’t help but notice that the cord used to tie the elephant was rather too small to hold the big, majestic animal. But the animal was peacefully standing there and eating. He got curious and asked the mahout.

The mahout replied “I have been taking care of this elephant ever since his birth. I tied him with the same rope when he was small enough for the rope. He tried to escape for sometime and finally he quit. Now he has grown up much stronger, but he has no idea that he can escape if he tried. He just believes that he cannot move away from the tree”.

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One day, we came across this couple with their 2-3 years old son. The father was holding an end of a toddler harness which was fastened across the child’s chest. The child looked happy and was hopping 2 feet in front of the father in a gait that reminded me of my neighbour’s puppy. That said, I am not going to analyse the pros and cons of using a harness because what they chose to do with their child is none of my business. But that sight affected me in many other ways.

The child knew that this 2 feet space between them would always be there. Never too far, never too near. Even when the dad was holding the rope loose, he played in the same distance and during the half an hour train ride we shared with them, the boy never once went closer to his parents for a cuddle or sweet talk.

The boy looked extrmely happy, not knowing that there was a wider world out there. Okay, now you might tell that it is of course safe for a child that age to be closer to the parents than knowing the wider world. But, has he been taught that running around the train station is dangerous? Or is he just staying there because he has no idea he can move anywhere other than around the tree his father?

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I couldn’t help but relate the boy in toddler harness with the elephant tied to a tree. For thousands of years, we have tamed animals. And we condition the animals to live in a way we like. But we, human beings? Yes. We all are being conditioned in some way or other.

Why else would a child who stays cozily in the darkness of mother’s womb enters the world having no other fear than the fear of falling and sounds, gets a fear of darkness within the next 2 years?

Why would a 3 year old have so many unique dreams and 10 years later, most of these dreams are wiped of as unrealities and all he would want to do is to finish school, find a job and do what everyone else is doing?

Why is it that after all these developments we are going through, in most households, only women cook?

Why do people say that they are comfortable in their present job and life that they do not want to change? Excuse me? Are you resisting change because you are too happy in your present and do not want a better future?

No, most of them just do not want to change because they are afraid of losing their present.

Why yes, I love my present. I’m proud of whatever I have, But that doesn’t mean that it should be the same forever. Somewhere during our journey to adulthood, we are taught to drop all our dreams and embrace the present and stick to it. May be the first important lesson I should teach my child is “Don’t be comfortable”.

Don’t be too comfortable in what you have, son. Come out of your comfort zone. Face the world. Go on, and change!

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