This page contains some stories that I have come in contact with,
and which I find worth talking about...
A SIMPLE TEST
Many wonder how important they are at their workplace or in their particular social position. For example, many threaten to resign or change positions if their wish is not met, and secretly feel pity on the others if they leave.
Somebody has taught me a very simple test to check if you are indispensable, if your leaving will make it miserable for the others, if you should feel pity on these others. I have tried the test several times, and it has always worked, and has given me a true answer each time.
The test goes like this. Fill a glass of water. Then dip a finger from top into the water, and hold it there for a few seconds (or much longer if you wish). Then lift up the finger and look into the glass. If it has left a hole in the water, then you are indispensable, otherwise not.
FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND
I heard a story once of an old man who lay in his bed one afternoon and had a dream. In this dream, he could see his entire life stretched out before him, as though it was the coastline along the ocean. And he could look back and see his footprints - deep impressions in the wet sand - marking the path he had walked in this life. As he looked back further and further, he could see that, in fact, there was not one, but 2 sets of footprints, side by side, along the edge of the ocean. He knew that the other footprints were those of God, for he had felt God's presence beside him throughout his life.
But, then he saw something that woke him immediately from his dream; his heart beat fast and he could not hold back the tears. "God!" he cried out. "I just had a dream, and in this dream l could see the whole path of my life; I could see the footprints I left along the way. And beside my footprints, there were yours, for You walked with me, and…” Now the man was full of tears and could barely speak. “But, God, sometimes there were only one set of footprints, and when I looked, I could see that those were the times I was really fallen, really broken, when I needed You most. How, God, how could You leave me when I needed You most? I thought You promised you'd be with me forever. Why did Your footprints disappear at the times I really needed You?"
Softly, gently, God lay a hand on the man's head, wiped away the tears. "My child I promised to always be with you and I have never left you for a second not even while you slept. Those times when you see only one set of footprints, during those darkest moments of your life, it was those times that I carried you in my arms."
Adapted from source: Drops of Nectar.
THE LEAKY BUCKET
In the very olden times, there was once a great queen. This queen had many, many servants to take care of every task. One particular servant was responsible for bringing water from the well to the queen's table. However, it was a long journey from the castle to the well from which fresh, clean and pure water could be obtained. As this was the time before cars and other convenient machines, the servant carried two buckets - one attached to each end of a long stick - to transport water back to the castle. One of the buckets was new - it shone in the sunlight and it was perfect in every way. The other bucket was older and it had a small hole on one side which caused water to leak from it onto the ground, along the road back to the castle.
Thus, whenever, the servant arrived back to the castle, although he had filled 2 buckets of water, he had only 1½ to present to the queen. This caused the leaky bucket great distress. Twice a day when the servant picked up the buckets to go to the well, the older one would look longingly at the new one, “Oh, why can't I be as shiny and flawless as the other?” the bucket would bemoan. The leaky bucket would cast envious looks at the new bucket since not a single drop fell from its new, glistening metal. It tried every possible way of shifting its weight, of rotating its sides to minimize the leakage, but all to no avail. It could retain no more than 1/2 bucket through the long walk back to the castle.
One day, the leaking bucket was distraught and cried out to the servant, "why don't you just throw me away? I'm of no use to you. I can do barely 1/2 the work of your new bucket. You have to walk such a long way back and forth to the well and I leak out half of the water you fill me with. The queen is such a good, noble, divine queen. I want to serve her as well as your new. But I can't; I can't even give her a full bucket of water."
The servant was very wise (sometimes wisdom lies hidden in places where we don't expect it). He said to the bucket, "Look down. Look below you on the path to the castle, the path upon which you leak your water." The bucket at first was too ashamed to look and see drops of precious water scattered on the ground. When it finally looked, however, it noticed a thick row of beautiful flowers - so many lush, blossoming varieties - lining the path with vibrancy and beauty.
"Every day I pick these flowers to decorate the queen’s table and her room," the servant said. "When I noticed that you were leaking, I planted seeds all along the path on your side of the road. Then, twice a day you come and water them. Now, they have grown and blossomed into the queen's favourite centerpiece. She says their fragrance calms her mind and brings peace to her heart. So, you see, you are not useless at all. Rather, you are serving two purposes - both to bring water (albeit half a bucket) and to bring beautiful flowers to the queen's castle."
Adapted from source: Drops of Nectar.
Incidentally, in computing science, there is an algorithm called "the leaky bucket algorithm". Although it has several uses, it is best understood in the context of network traffic shaping or in rate limiting. Typically, the algorithm is used to control the rate at which data is injected into a network, smoothing out "burstiness" in the data rate. A leaky bucket provides a mechanism by
which bursty traffic can be shaped to present a steady stream of traffic to the
network, as opposed to traffic with erratic bursts of low-volume and high-volume
THE GOLDEN TELEPHONE
An American decided to write a book about famous churches around the world.
So he bought a plane ticket and took a trip to China. On his first day he was inside a church taking photographs, when he noticed a golden telephone mounted on the wall with a sign that read "$10,000 per call".
The American, being intrigued, asked a priest who was strolling by what the telephone was used for. The priest replied that it was a direct line to heaven and that for $10,000 you could talk to God.
The American thanked the priest and went along his way.
Next stop was in Japan. There, at a very large cathedral, he saw the same golden telephone with the same sign under it.
He wondered if this was the same kind of telephone he saw in China and he asked a nearby nun what its purpose was. She told him that it was a direct line to heaven and that for $10,000 he could talk to God.
"O.K., thank you," said the American.
He then travelled to Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Russia, Germany and France. In every church, he saw the same golden telephone with the same "$10,000 per call" sign under it.
The American, upon leaving Vermont decided to travel to India to see if Indians had the same phone.
He arrived in India, and again, in the first church he entered, there was the same golden telephone, but this time the sign under it read "One Rupee per call."
The American was surprised so he asked the priest about the sign.
"Father, I've travelled all over the World and I've seen this same golden telephone in many churches. I'm told that it is a direct line to Heaven, but everywhere the price was $10,000 per call.
Why is it so cheap here?"
The priest smiled and answered, "You're in India now, son - it's a local call".
Niraj has told me stories from her childhood in India. When she was a child, she and her friends used to throw stones at geckos (lizards) on a wall surrounding their house. This made her suspect that the geckos would be waiting for revenge some day only they got a chance. One day, when Niraj was walking alone on her way to school, she saw a gecko standing along the side of the woodland path ahead of her. Of course, Niraj picked up a stone and threw it at the lizard. But for some still unknown reason, the gecko started running, not away from Niraj, but towards Niraj. This almost scared her to death, and she ran back home in fright - she imagined that the gecko was waiting there for revenge when she would be alone, since maybe she had stoned the gecko's wife or some other relative. At home, nobody would believe her, that a gecko would chase her!
CARRYING A WOMAN
Two monks travelling together reached a river where they met a young woman. Wary of the current, she asked if they could carry her across. One of the monks hesitated, but the other monk picked her up onto his shoulders, transported her across the water, and put her down on the other side of the river. She thanked him and departed.
As the monks continued on their way, the monk who had not carried the woman was brooding and preoccupied. Unable to hold his silence, he at last spoke out. "Brother, our spiritual training teaches us to avoid any contact with women, but you picked that one up on your shoulders and carried her!"
"Brother," the second monk replied, "Yes, I carried her then and I set her down on the other side, while you are still carrying her after such a long time."
PSYCHOTHERAPY FOR WHOM?
A woman had a psychological problem. She had a constant feeling that she was a sort of mouse and wanted help to get rid of this problem. So she went to a psychotherapist. She got a lot of psychotherapy sessions for a few years, until she finally started to understand that she was not a mouse, but a human being.
So at the end of the last session, both the psychotherapist and the woman were very happy with the results obtained, and she heartily thanked her psychotherapist for giving her a new life, and left the psychotherapy room.
But within a minute or so, she came running back into the psychotherapist’s room, frightened. “What is the matter”, asked the psychotherapist. And the woman replied “Just besides the outer gate there is a cat sitting on the fence. I am frightened that the cat might jump onto me, wanting to eat me!”
The psychotherapist said, in a comforting voice, “But we have just talked about the success in your realization that you are a human being and not a mouse, so you should not be afraid that the cat would attack you.”
“Yes, I know fully well now that I am a human being and not a mouse. But maybe the cat doesn’t know that!!”, said she.
THERE IS SOMEBODY UNDER MY BED!!
Ever since I was young, I have always had a fear of someone under my bed at night.
So I went to a psychiatrist and told him: “I have got problems. Every time I go to bed I think there is somebody under it. I am scared. I think I am going crazy.”
“Just put yourself in my hands for one year”, said the psychiarist. “Come talk to me three times a week and we should be able to get rid of those fears”.
“How much do you charge?”
“Eighty dollars per visit”, replied the doctor.
“I will sleep on it and if needed I will come back to you”, I said.
Six months later the psychiatrist met me on the street. “Why didn’t you come to see me about those fears you are having?”, he asked.
"Well, eighty bucks a visit three times a week for a year is an awful lot of money! A bartender cured me for ten dollars. I was so happy to have saved all that money that I went and bought me a new car”, I replied.
“Is that so!”. With a bit of an attitude he said, “And how, may I ask, did a bartender cure you?”.
“He told me to cut off the legs of the bed – there ain’t nobody there now!”, was my response.
A MATTER OF NUMBERS
I often visit my brother in London. Once he took me for dinner at a private club where he was a member. We had a nice time, and good food. When the dessert was served, I understood that it was time for the members to make speeches if they wished, or tell stories aloud. Soon I saw a member stand up and tap the glass, so everybody became quiet and looked at him expectantly. He paused for a few seconds, and then said loudly, "twenty-five". The members roared with laughter, and the speaker looked very satisfied, and sat down as the laughter ebbed away. I guessed that the member was poking fun at the situation, or else he was nuts! We continued enjoying the dessert for a few minutes when another member stood up, tapped his glass, and when everybody was quiet, said, "one hundred and two". People laughed and seemed to enjoy the whole performance. When the people returned to enjoying the dessert I looked, somewhat perplexed, at my brother sitting besides me. And he said, "Oh, I forgot to tell you something. You see, we have been telling each other jokes for many years at dinners, so we have written down the jokes in a club book and numbered them. So the member has only to say the number of the joke, and we can't help laughing when we remember that joke."
I found this quite amusing, although I did not understand the specifik jokes. As we continued talking to the others sitting at our table, it took quite a while before someone tapped his glass and stood up. When it was quiet, he said, "six hundred and thirty one". This time the members burst into laughter tremendously, all of them stood up and clapped their hands with approval. I said that this joke must have been particularly funny. My brother said, "Well, it is a new joke, we have never heard it before, and therefore we enjoyed it more."
When things had calmed down, I started thinking about telling my friends at home in Sweden about this very amusing club, and their strange way of humour. This would make a greater impression on my friends if I took an opportunity to host a joke at the dinner like the other members. I asked my brother to let me know the number of a joke that I could tell them. My brother pondered for a long while and finally said, "I was trying to recall some joke that the members enjoy particularly often. Yes, if you say seventy seven, everybody will enjoy the joke".
Excited about this opportunity, I took time to collect myself and then stood up, and tapped my glass. Everybody was quiet, they saw that I was new there as a guest, and they looked expectantly at me. Half the task is successful, as I have attracted their attention, I thought. Then I said, "seventy seven", expecting them to burst into laughter. But no! Everybody remained very quiet, they seemed rather embarrassed, and gradually they went back to their dessert. I felt very awkward and sorry, sat down, and was angry at my brother who seemed to have cheated me. We did not speak to each other for a long while, and then I could not resist saying to him, "You are my brother, we have done a lot of interesting things together since our early childhood, so I was expecting you not to cheat me on such an occasion." He took his arm around me affectionately, and said, "My brother, sometimes we have to accept certain facts of life, unfortunately. You see, some people have the talent to narrate jokes, others don't!"
Niraj recently pointing out the exact spot where the gecko, many years ago, had been waiting for her...
... and my imagination about what the gecko might have looked like.