KANHA EATS MUD

“The fruit on those trees is ripe and juicy”, said Balaram, pointing towards the ripe plums in the orchard adjacent to their house.
“Lets pluck them and relish their delightful taste!”, he said enthusiastically to his playmates.

Everyone was excited at the prospect of having ripe plums and followed Balaram to the garden where the divine fruit grew.Krishna followed them too.  

“Why are you following us? You are too small to climb trees Krishna”,said Balaram.  

“Yes, you are very small Kanha”, said another boy ,suspecting Krishna would alone eat all of the fruit.  

“I want to come along Balaram!”, pleaded Krishna.  

“Well only one condition! “,said Balaram, “Kanha, you will only collect the fruit we pluck from the trees.”
“You will not climb the trees nor will you eat any fruit alone. We will distribute the fruit equally and eat it later”, summoned Balaram.  

“Ok, I will do that! “, said Krishna smiling mischievously.  

“Come along then”,said Balaram.   The boys reached the neighbouring orchard and climbed the plum trees while Krishna waited below. They started plucking the savory fruit that bedecked the branches and started throwing the fruit down,  onto the muddy ground.  

Krishna picked up the mud laced fruit and instead of collecting it started gobling it. His speed was great because he gulped it down as soon as the fruit fell from the tree.  

One of the boys looked down and saw what Krishna was upto. “He is eating all the fruit by himself! “,he shouted pointing towards Krishna.  

Balaram and all the boys got down and encircled Krishna. “Wait I ‘ll take you to mother and tell her you have been eating mud!”,threatened Balaram.  

The boys then took Krishna to Yashodha and narrated Krishna’s mischief to her. She looked at Krishna aghast. His face was mud laced with one streak of mud running crisply from below his left jaw, crossing the nose and culminating just below his right ear. Fruit pulp drooped from the sides of his mouth and added colour to his face ,painted brown in mud.  

“You mischievous little boy! You have eaten mud again. Open your mouth!”,she told Krishna, angry at his doing.  

Krishna smiled at Yashoda, gesturing her whether she really wanted to see what was in his mouth.  

“Open your mouth! You naughty little boy!”, she told Krishna.  

Krishna opened his mouth and Yashoda was surprised to see what lay inside. She saw the entire universe, the sun ,the stars, moon, planets, the earth with its mountains, oceans, land, rivers and the entire creation. She even saw herself standing looking into Krishna’s mouth.  

Her head whirled and she felt dizzy. She shut Kanha’s mouth and looked at him wondering about his divinity. She had been worried about a little mud when the boy had inside him the entire universe.  

“Who are you? Who are you?”, she asked Kanha, as she carried him inside kissing his forehead.
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“IF YOU JUDGE PEOPLE, YOU HAVE NO TIME TO LOVE THEM.”

I often sat with my Grandpa on the wooden patio of our ancestral house. Grandpa was old and sleep did not come easy to him, so we spent a lot of time chit chatting about small little things during the afternoons. Often he would tell me stories and ask me what I learned of it. Our afternoons were seldom boring.

He would call out to the gardener, chat with him and offer him water in the roasting hot afternoons. Sometimes when the weather was breezy we would go out for a stroll and he would distribute biscuits to the street urchins. He knew everyone in the neighbourhood, be it Mr. Seth of the grocery store or Mr. Diwan, the chemist. Raju, the milk delivery boy would often ask for his advice on his studies .Mr. Verma, our perpetually angry neighbour was the only one who never wished Grandpa or even acknowledged his smile.

One day it rained very heavily. Mr. Verma’s daughter was at school. The heavy downpour disrupted city life and schools immediately informed parents to pick up their children as soon as possible. Mr. Verma got stuck in traffic and could not make it on time. Mrs. Verma came to Grandpa  with her one year old and pleaded him to help her since could not take the infant in such bad weather.

Grandpa picked up his walking stick and an umbrella and set out to get Priya, Mr. Verma’s daughter home. He walked swiftly on the pavement towards the school which was about five blocks away. On his way he met Raju who was peddling his bicycle speedily on the pavement. On seeing Grandpa he stopped and enquired where Grandpa was going in the incessant rains. Grandpa quickly narrated the happenings to Raju who offered Grandpa a bicycle ride to the school. Raju maneuvered his bicycle through the bumpy and slushy  terrain and somehow managed to reach the school. Grandpa went to Priya’s classroom and asked for her. Priya ran towards Grandpa and said, “I thought everyone had forgotten me!”, and started crying. Grandpa consoled her and explained her what had happened and got her back home safely.

That evening Mr. and Mrs. Verma came home and thanked Grandpa for his act of kindness.

I later asked Grandpa,” Why did you help Mr. Verma? He has always been so rude to you!”

“That does not give me the license to be rude to him”, replied Grandpa smiling,” An act of kindness is not weighted by why’s and what’s.”

“But Grandpa Mr. Verma never helps anyone and is so impolite. He is not a nice man. He does not deserve any help”, I said.

“Mr. Verma  is what his circumstances have made him. Circumstances, that we are unaware of. So why be so judgmental about him. He might have a story too”, said Grandpa.

I listened quietly beginning to understand what he was saying.

“Priya is a lovely girl, just like you. I couldn’t have left her crying just because her father was rude to me one day”, explained Grandpa.

“How can you love everyone Grandpa? I cannot! Some people are rude, some are so selfish, some are stingy, some are malicious, some are cheats, some are liars! How can you love everyone”, I asked him.

” Always remember”, he said taking off his spectacles and looking straight into my eyes,” If you will keep on judging people you won’t have any time to love them.

“TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF MY LIFE.”

“TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF MY LIFE.”
John Denver
Kavita was a very bright girl, sharp, diligent and chirpy. Since a few days however, she very quiet and lost. Observing her disoriented behaviour Mrs. Khanna her tuition teacher asked her if everything was okay. She dismissed Mrs. Khanna’s concern on the pretext of a casual headache. The abnormal behaviour persisted and Mrs. Khanna was determined to find out what had happened to cause it. That evening, when Kavita came for tuition, she was surprised to see that Mrs. Khanna’s dining table, where they sat daily, studying science had no books, copies or pens. There instead, lay a tray with two cups of aromatic filter coffee accompanied by freshly baked carrot cake. As they both sat on the dining table sipping the coffee Mrs. Khanna asked,” What is the matter Kavita? You haven’t been yourself for the past few days.”
“Things haven’t been good on the home front Mrs. Khanna”, she began slowly, with a heavy heart.
“My parents come from a small village. Fifteen years ago we moved to the town because my father got a good job. He worked very hard and made a good place for himself in his company. Within a few years he became indispensable. Mother took care of the house and me with utmost dedication but somehow couldn’t adapt herself to the town life.”
“Dad’s stature and authority increased and the company posted him to the head office in Bangalore. They have provided him with a beautiful house, personal car and a lot of other perks.” said Kavita.
“That’s incredible! What’s the worry then?”, asked Mrs. Khanna.
“The problem is that mother doesn’t want to change herself anymore. She refuses to go to Bangalore. Mother is stuck up with her previous life, she doesn’t want to adapt and change as per the situation. ”
“The problem is so aggravated that they both don’t even speak to each other. It’s been three months since they spoke”, said Kavita, full of despair.
Mrs. Khanna looked at Kavita. Raising Kavita’s chin up with her fingers Mrs. Khanna said,” Kavita, you should not be depressed. Adults sometimes get caught in their ego’s. It’s a matter that your parents will address to their best abilities because they both love you. Perhaps, right now they are doing some soul-searching themselves, finding answers to their dilemmas. You see only when they can take care of themselves first will they be able to take care of each other.”
“You, however, must leave this matter up to them and not worry yourself with things out of your control. Your concern should be your studies and career and how you will carve a niche for yourself in the world. Harness your talents and cultivate them into your strengths.”, said Mrs. Khanna.
” Whatever has happened, put it aside, and look ahead. Both of them will be together to share your happiness and success”, said Mrs. Khanna.
That night Kavita pondered over what Mrs. Khanna had said. Indeed her success and happiness could bring them together because they both loved her very much. They would be there to celebrate every little achievement of hers, she knew it too well.
Next day when Kavita came for tuition she was her old self, chirpy and cheerful.
“You look much better today!”, remarked Mrs. Khanna.
“I do feel much lighter after shedding the burden”, said Kavita, “Sometimes we try to control everything and lose ourselves amidst all that and we need someone to remind us of the very basics.”
“Thank you Mrs. Khanna. Today is the first day of the rest of my life!”, said Kavita opening her science book.