Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Running in Circles

Have you noticed that the more things change, the more they remain the same? And the more we take the desperate way out to escape our lot in life, the more we learn that we are not better off. The thought takes me back to one of my old posts which had a story about two tear drops.

 Once, two tear drops were floating down the river of life. One teardrop asked, “Who are you?” The first one replied, “I was shed by a girl who loved a man but lost him. And who are you?” The other tear drop replied, “I was shed by the girl who got him.”

Come to think of it, we cry over what we lose and often cry over what we gain. Always in the pursuit of some more, it is this very pursuit which lays the foundation for discontentment. When I am about to fall in the trap of …. “I’ll feel good when I achieve a particular objective,” I keep reminding myself that my desired objective which I think will bring happiness can be lost again, and therefore it holds the potential to cause pain. Yet, more often than not, I keep falling in the same trap. 

Now that I am thinking about it, Paulo Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist’, ‘Veronica decides to die’ and ‘The Winner stands Alone’ were based on the similar premise. I recently read this story in ‘The Mail Today’ by Paulo.  I wanted to share it. Ignore it if you have read it before.

 Many years ago there was a young man named Mogo who earned his living by   breaking stones. Even though he was born with amazing strength, he was unhappy about his work and complained regularly. He blasphemed against God’s plan so much that one day an angel appeared. The angel said, “You are healthy and have a life ahead of you. All young people begin their lives with hard work as you have. Why are you complaining?’
Mogo said, “God was unfair to me. He did not give me the opportunity to grow.” Worried the angel went to the Lord who said “Whatever Mogo wants, give it to him.”
The next day when Mogo was breaking stones, he saw a carriage pass by which had a noble inside it. Mogo said with bitterness, “Why can’t I be a noble person too?”
Soon Mogo was transformed into a master of sprawling castle, with servants and plenty of land. He walked outside his palace with his entourage and enjoyed watching his old friends lining the streets, staring up at him with respect.
One of these days, the heat was inescapable and even under his gold umbrella Mogo was sweating; more than he would during his stone breaking days. He realized that he wasn’t as important, as above him there were the king, and the sun; who did not bow to anyone. Mogo grumbled, “Why can’t I be the sun? That should have been my destiny.”
And thus Mogo became the sun. While   Mogo was sparkling as the sun, admiring his powers to grow or destroy the crops depending on his whims, a cloud covered his view. As the cloud encompassed Mogo, he got furious and said, “My destiny should have been that of a cloud.”
And soon Mogo was transformed in a cloud. Mogo was now delighted as he blocked the sun and followed the waves shouting loudly, “I am invincible.”
Along the seashore stood a rock, as old as the world itself. Mogo thought that the rock was defying him and so he unleashed an enormous storm. A storm that the world had not seen before. But the rock stood firm and impassable, almost mocking Mogo.
Now Mogo wanted to become the rock. The angel transformed him into a rock and Mogo thought, “I am the most powerful in the world.”
And this is how he spent several years, until one morning Mogo felt a sharp stab of pain deep inside his gut. He felt several thuds and immense pain. Mogo cried, “Angel, someone powerful is trying to kill me. I want to be like him.”
Soon Mogo returned to his previous life of cutting stones.

Often we keep running in circles. This is not to say that ambition is unwarranted. Ambition is good; but hopeless infatuation with all the good that’s happening in the lives of others is not. Contentment at some level paves the way for that much desired and elusive emotion – happiness.


  1. So true.....

    Human nature perhaps of being never satisfied....
    "Na jaane kis manzil ki talaash hai sabko"

  2. A beautiful post Alka! So happy I am first to read it! It is a constant dilemma that we want to cross the river to be on the other side! When we achieve that, we like to go back! So is life..

  3. lovely post Alka, especially touched by the story of the two tears :) so true na, we never cherish what we have and always aim for the greener grass on the other side !!

  4. Excellent post for the message it contained and the narrative style

  5. @Irfan...kabhie kisi ko mukammal jahan nahin mila...

    @Rahul...I am glad u liked it.I had written it long ago but was hesitant to post it.


    KParthasarathi...I am glad u liked it.

  6. This was almost like you were talking and explaining to me Alks-I don't want more power or riches-but there is something that keeps me in search...I guess I am taking home something from here with a smile-thank you:-)

  7. Very Intriguing! it selfishness or greed, contentment lives only for a while.

    But its always good to experience something new, that I want to, and keeps me going :)

  8. Ah!! Whatay story. I have never read Paulo Coelho but certainly this was a wonderful story with a life lesson; you should be happy with what you have and what you are. Also, I would suggest you to read this post on happiness. [Here]

  9. This a different post..than what I am used to reading here.. :)

    But, a good story. Haven't heard it before. But, yes, the lessons which the story gives has been told and retold many times over the ages. And you reiterate it not be in mad race of accomplishments...but rather seeking contentment.. :)

  10. Loved the Paulo anecdote.. its so true.. we're never really sure what we want, where we're going and when we'll be entirely satisfied.

  11. so true.... loved the way you began writing this and the flow you maintained..
    Thanks for sharing..!!

  12. Enjoyed reading the post! Thanks for sharing Paulo Coelho’s story!! It reminded me of a similar Panchtantra tale:

  13. "Ambition is good; but hopeless infatuation with all the good that’s happening in the lives of others is not. Contentment at some level paves the way for that much desired and elusive emotion – happiness." This is what I needed.
    Thanks :)
    I am gonna post it on FB! :)

  14. very true.. most of us actually dunno wht we want we jus run and copy others ..satisfaction is very rarely seen...
    Ambitions are good helps us to work hard but then there is no end.. its jus the inner peace I guess we should look for!

  15. very evocative post . . loved the story and the way you interpreted was the tear drop story...truly inspiring. .

  16. Suru, Deepak, Poonam...

    It is so easy to write all this inspirational stuff but I have to make an conscious effort to follow it. I am glad you liked it.

    @Prateek...Interesting link...Read the Alchemist is almost philosophical.

  17. @Kunal...I wanted to share this story so wrote this post. It does makes one think.

    @Dr Roshan....:)True.

    @Madhulika....Glad u liked it.

  18. @Giribala...Hindu mythology has all the pearls of wisdom..English lit churns it and makes it more appealing to contemporary readers.

    @Sakshi..Oh...I am so glad it touched you. But honestly Sakshi it is easy to tell stories but difficult to follow.I keep falling in the trap.

  19. @Harman, Maliny...

    Yes, the tear drop one is my favorite. I am glad you liked the story.

  20. Very correct. I had heard a similar story when I was a kid where a mouse goes through a similar cycle to become mouse again.

  21. Story of 2 tears took my heart... it was a wake up call that sometimes we r caught up in paradox..
    n yeah we all run in circles of wants n desire...
    like an infinite loop.

    Fantastic read !!!

  22. When someone asks us How are you? why is it we rarely reply with "I'm happy".

    Why is it, we'd rather crib about the weather, the hectic schedule?

  23. Suddenly, everyone seems to have gone philosophical.

    The twin fables chosen by you to give strength to your contention, beautifully showcase the paradox of life. A soulful post.

  24. Two tears story reflects the painful reality.

  25. Alka,

    There is no end to man's desires and that is what leads to unhappiness all the time with what one has instead of being grateful.

    Take care

  26. Though I am not someone who has achieved much in life and can speak about it, I however, believe there is a difference between the things that we want to do.

    There are things that we really want to do- the ones that you would do even when no one else is watching/appreciates and there are things that you do craving for recognition ( that is communicated by others to us ).

    One can not pass a value judgment saying one is bad and the other is good but to be honest, the one that really takes us places ,is the former ! That is being "intrinsically motivated" as against being "extrinsically motivated" in the latter.

    Other than the source of energy, there also is a distinction between obsession and ambition. There are far too many out there who have sole ambition of "having an ambition" :)))

    PS-The first post from you that does not deal with the current events :) Variety is good :)

  27. Hi Alka, you have been nominated for Versatile Blogger Award

    check this out:

  28. Will there be any day when a man's desires will be fulfilled ..

    One needs to know that you cant get everything in this world.. but what we have , we need to be thankful ..

    Nice story .. I hope god gives me the strength to be fulfilled and happy with what i have .. although god has been great and soooper kind to me ..


  29. @Harsh...:)

    @Jyoti..:)Glad u liked it.

    @Purba..Point to ponder..perhaps we are scared that if we flaunt our happiness hamari happiness ko nazar na lag jaye.

  30. @Umashankar...I dunno abt others but after many political satires this one was a breath of fresh air for me.

    @TariqMian...Welcome here. I love that story too.


  31. @Mishraji...

    Welcome here. I guess this is your first comment, but very relevant. It is difficult to delve deeper in one post as people avoid reading long posts but what you say is right..intrinsic and extrinsic motivation are two different things.
    @Abha...Thanks a ton.


  32. Such a nice and cute story, Alka! Thanks for sharing it here. Yes, desire never ceases and man never feels content with what he has or what he is.

  33. Every post of yours is unique and so engrossing.

  34. @Cloudnine....The tear drop story is so relevant...I keep on repeating it in my posts...

    @BKC...A BIG Thank you.

  35. I remember the Paulo Coelho story, but the tear drop one was new for me. Loved both and the philosophical undertones of the post. We have lost any sense of proportion as we chase chimeras and dreams.

  36. As you said, its good to be ambitious and at the same time one has to be realistic and i think one needs to appreciate what one has :)

    and Alka, i loved the Tear drop story :)

  37. The strange circles of life... we desperately want to get enrolled in them and being enrolled we hate the basic idea. Life's a bitch... Life's hard.. yet life's is to live.. :)

    Weakest LINK

  38. There is no end to a person's desires, very eloquently brought out by you. Loved both the stories!

  39. @Zephyr...One has to constantly avoid the same trap...

    @Purvi...:) Glad you liked it.



  40. I have learned this the hard way. I used to envy people especially those who ridiculed me during my college days, I couldn't stand up for myself or fight for being me, well, I kept working hard and ignored what happens in the surroundings...I feel I am at a much better place, no matter how much they have gained or lost, at least I found my calling and pursuing it....


  41. interesting story...that's the truth of life...grass is always greener on the other side till you realize that you are the grass...:)

  42. @Chintan...Good that you found your calling...I keep falling in the same trap. Hugs to u too.

    @SUB...Sometimes the grass on the other side is the AstroTurf...:)
    Hope the little one is doing fine.