Always…….. dos and don'ts
“Can I ask you a question?” asked Appu, my 8-yr old nephew. “Sure, dear!” I replied, waiting eagerly for it to come. Promptly he asked, “What is the safety rule for crossing the road?” Earlier I had heard him cramming his lesson which made me sure of its answer. So politely I answered, “Cross the road at zebra crossing.” “Wrong, Massi. I can’t give you full marks,” he answered with a mischievous smile. Perplexed I turned to know what was wrong in it. “You forgot the word, always. The right answer is: Always cross the road at zebra crossing”.
I gave him a warm hug and he left, but the word ‘Always’ played on my mind like a hammer. It reminded me of all Dos and Don’ts I had learnt from my childhood… I was reminded of my school teachers…You should always speak truth; you should always lead a disciplined life; you should always wake-up early in the morning. You should always do this and you should always do that….. My parents behaved no less than teachers…. always keep to the left; always take healthy food; always keep your uniform clean; always take part in games; always pray in the morning and so many other things….
Is ‘Always’ always to be remembered? Does being disciplined mean that you have always to be so in the strict sense of it? Probably yes! After all if you choose not adhere to it once, it may prove fatal. Say for example;
What if we only once cross the road carelessly and meet an accident and are gone for ever;
What if we once cheat in exam and are caught and debarred for a few years;
What if we once take bribe and are caught and dismissed from services;
What if we once leave our home in anger and are never called back;
What if we once ignore a friend or a relationship and he or she turns his/her back to you for ever……
Very true! The word ‘Always’ in most of the cases is as important as the word discipline itself. At times life doesn’t give you another chance. It feels like,
‘khata lamhon ne ke aur saza sadiyon ne payee.......'
But then how to justify the other aspect of sticking to the ‘Always’….
What if you can’t once cross the road without being on zebra-crossing to save a child from being run-over or to help a blind person to walk?
What if you can’t once pluck a flower to present it to your angry beloved?
What if you cannot once forgive and take a step of renewal of friendship?
What if you can’t lie once that you have taken your meals when you are sure of Roagnjosh cooked at your home?
Do it always and don’t do it always—is it not a paradox, a relative term? May be in most of the cases sticking to it proves fruitful but sometimes not sticking to it may give you immense happiness.... like life lived in a moment. As Ghalib puts it,
‘achhaa hai dil ke saath rahe paasbaan-e-'aql,
lekin kabhee kabhee ise tanhaa bhee chhod de' ……
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