The time that I had been waiting for has arrived. Tomorrow I would be giving my first lecture to Bachelor's first year class in a well- known college. I was over the moon, and too happy to think beyond tomorrow's event. My friend John, who was visiting asked about my preparation for the lecture. I told him that that I had complete grasp of the subject he told me that it was much more than the knowledge that was needed to be a good teacher. I realized that in my exuberance I had not thought about it or given the time it deserved. Suddenly, a host of worries and problems started staring me in my face. What about my voice, I had heard that it is most difficult to stay normal on hearing one's voice. What about the class? How will they react and behave? What would happen if my first day turns out to be a disaster? How it would affect my prospects and my reputation among my colleagues, and students? A lot of question marks started hitting my mind all having negative consequences in their follow up creating a lot of tension and anxiety. It looked, as if I had done the stupidest thing by opting for this job, which had been my dream for so long and all the joy and happiness were gone."Its Lunch now," said John, who had been watching a cricket match on the TV, and switched it off."OK, we go outside for lunch and discuss how to solve this problem," I offered. "I was talking about the match lunch time, and which problem you are talking about," he replied. 'A few minutes back you asked about my preparation," I replied. "I only asked it casually, without knowing that you will take it as a problem," he remarked. I told him that I had felt so happy and confident that nothing else mattered and it was only, when he referred to preparation that I realized that there were many details needing my attention, planning and preparation. But, as there was no time left due to my foolishness for these important aspects I needed his help to tide over the situation. "What about availing few days leave and make proper preparations," I inquired. "What a stupid idea, you have not even started your job and you are talking about getting leave." John reprimanded. John, after expressing his surprise and dismay over my carelessness agreed to do whatever he could in such a short period of time. He asked me for a cup of tea, when I again offered lunch, he explained that as it was Sunday, and he had a late and heavy breakfast he did not feel the need for the lunch so early. As I came back with two cups of tea, and found him ready. "I think this case belongs to Aristotle, he started in very sober tone. He is the only person who has the wisdom and experience to offer some solution to your problem," he concluded. "I am already depressed and extremely worried and you are joking and making a fool of me, I reacted sharply. Go, and bring Aristotle from his grave I am waiting for you," I said angrily. John, realizing my anger told me that the Aristotle he was talking about was the name given to Simon Steadfast, a person known for his wisdom, intelligence and problem solving abilities, he was a relative of one of his friends. That friend had told John about Simon's abilities and that Simon was called Aristotle because of his hig level of intelligence, wisdom and caliber. He was considered a gifted person who had a solution for every problem. John met him once along with his friend and was impressed by the way he talked and explained his point of view on any matter. "Let's go to him as time is short," I told John. John decided that we should go on his motorcycle, when I offered my secondhand car he expressed his reservations about its health and when he began giving examples I told him that he was the leader and his decision was last, and thus avoided a lot of embarrassment about the quality of my car. It took us 30 minutes to reach the residence Of Aristotle. On the way, I prayed that he was at home. To our delight he was very much at home in his sleeping suit, having had a long Sunday sleep and warmly welcomed us having recognized John. After settling down, John introduced me and narrated my story in a brotherly tone. After hearing in detail, he asked few questions and told me that I need inspiration, characterization, imagination and experimentation- in- combination. He then went on to give a plan. Out of 40 minutes first five minutes would be about introductory remarks. There will be five parts of the lecture of eight minutes each about different topics and two minutes for the closing o. First four will be general topics, and the last one about the subject. I nodded my approving appreciation and asked about the plan details including the inspiration and other -tions part. "Well, starting with inspiration, you have to think about your best teacher and get inspiration to boost your confidence. Then, you would have to act in the way he used to do everything from entering the classroom to the way of talking, this is characterization. The next part is imagination, you would have to think that everything is going as planned and you are well in control. As for experimentation -in- combination I would, give the concluding parts of each of five parts of the lecture and you would build the earlier section of those parts on the basis of five words. You would select these words from the English dictionary by closing your eyes and at random opening it and noting down the first word of the left hand page. If that word does not mean anything to you select the next one and so forth. The opening and the concluding parts of the lecture would be my responsibility and the concluding part will help me in interpreting the day's proceedings for my own good,” he then went on to explain how to do that. He went on to give the following general hints: A) The wall behind the students in the class will be my greatest friend, I should deliver the lecture to it with my eyes moving left to right, never trying to look towards the faces of students. B) If there are murmurs during the lecture, and are audible, if I remember some relevant humorous remark I will deliver it otherwise, ignore them. C) If some question is put, I will say that it will be answered later, and if again asked later, citing shortage of time promise to take it up as first thing the next morning and do it after full preparation. D) IQ, EQ and humor will be my greatest tools, and I must try to use them most. I and John thanked Aristotle for giving us the solution. “No, this is not a solution, it is only a plan it would become a solution only if it is implemented successfully,” he concluded before saying good bye to us. During the journey back, I thanked John also for his help and efforts. “This is your baby now,” John declared before leaving after dropping me. “OK boss,” I replied enthusiastically”. No sooner did I enter my house, being mindful of the pending urgent work I told my family members not to disturb me as I was going to my room to study. On being told that I did not have lunch, I told a lie and said I had lunch outside with John as I was in no mood to delay my preparation any further. The first thing I did after entering the room was to got hold of the English dictionary and following Aristotle's instructions selected the following five words: Senior, Fear, Responsibility, Quandary and Tortoise (instead of Tort) I continued to work, thinking, writing, and then orally, delivering every word for practice. As for inspiration I selected Professor Langley as I always admired him for his qualities as a teacher. After completing the exercise I asked from myself "Are you ready for the plunge"? "Yes, I am raring to go," came, the prompt answer. That night I could not sleep for some time thinking about every bit of what I will be doing, but ultimately sleep had the last laugh. The "D" day has arrived. I got up according to the time I had planned, had a good breakfast, got on the best suit and left for the college one hour early although it takes 35-40 minutes to reach the college, but I did not want any hiccups due to my old car. I was sitting in the staff room 35 minutes later. All my colleagues arrived after me and while, wishing me well told me to take it easy as according to them I was looking tense. I thanked them and decided that before going to the classroom, I should have a round of the college ground to inhale a lot of oxygen. I also thought that it would be better if before actually going to the class I should walk through the corridor where the class was located and also pass across its front door to have a feel of the place and practice the walk of Professor Langley and afterwards come back again feeling confident. When my colleagues asked me about my leaving so early I told them that it had been my habit in college days also to have a walk before the class. After having a round of the ground, I entered the one end of the corridor as planned and started walking towards the classroom imitating Professor Langley's walk. Within a minute or so I was passing the front door of the classroom, my destination. As I had just crossed the class I heard someone shouting from my back "Sir, Sir". I did not turn back and continued, but again heard the same voice coming from nearer and realized that it was "I" who was addressed for the first time in my life as Sir. I stopped and two young boys came from behind and expressed their apologies for calling me. They then told me the purpose of calling me and said that perhaps I forgot the place, and had passed through its front door and they have come to take me to the classroom. I was not ready for the event. I could neither tell them the truth nor show my lack of ability to recognize the classroom. Suddenly, I got the idea and after thanking them for their caring attitude, told them that I am a strongly believe in punctuality, as there were still few minutes left for the prescribed time I did not enter the class. The boys looked with amazement towards me and I felt greatly relieved, feeling that I had won the first round even before starting the lecture. I also asked them how did they know about me, one of them told me that a few days ago he saw me in staff room and one of the lecturer had told him about myself "Now let us move as only few seconds are left,” I told the students in a tone full of confidence, and we started to move. But, soon my confidence was gone when I realized that the incident had spoiled my preparation, as I was no longer walking like Professor Langley. As we entered the classroom the boys went towards their chairs, and I moved towards the Lecturer's Chair. However, I did not sit, and just like Professor Langley, after putting the book on the table went to the rostrum, put my notes file on it, adjusted my tie and then put both of my fore arms on the rostrum looked straight on the left uppermost side of the wall behind the students and said: "So here we" I had hardly completed these words when my mobile phone started to ring. I felt embarrassed and quickly took it out and after seeing on the screen said that it was the morning wake- up siren. There was a big laughter in the class. "How you wake up today as the siren sounded just now," a voice asked. As I was feeling a bit nervous I decided to immediately restart the lecture. "So here we are, "I started like Professor Langley and then like him picked up my note's file, so I thought, but to my embarrassment it was the book that I had taken with me instead of the file after entering the classroom and supposedly putting the book on the table. I went to the table, put back the book, took the file and came back to make a start for the third time. "So please our first act should be to switch off our mobiles before there is another wake- up call as one is enough, my first lecture had begun and now I was to go to the introduction part given by. Aristotle. "I suppose there is no need to introduce myself as you all would have read the memo circulated about me a few days back and I would like to come straight to the lecture instead of repeating my accomplishments or lack of them. However, I would definitely like to mention that to become a teacher had been my goal since my childhood days, and I am delighted to be part of the great community from today. I am also glad to have you ladies and gentlemen as my first class, as I could see a real first class sitting out there,” I completed the first part and moved forward. "Life is a combination of many phases with a definite start and end and then another start and another end and so on. The time distance between the start and end is mostly quite big, but between the end and the next start mostly very short. A few months back I was completing the end part of a phase of life and today I am at the starting point of another phase. As this new phase is very close to the last phase I am finding it a bit difficult to adjust and looking towards you and your chairs with envy. It would take time to mentally enter the new phase, so please bear with me if I behave sometimes like you, e.g. ask questions instead of answering them or ask for a day off to enjoy the good weather (subdued laughter). But, I think, it would be better for both sides as we would be communicating in the same language and on similar frequencies and it would be helpful in establishing a rapport so essential for a healthy relationship," I completed the introduction part following all of Aristotle's instructions. Now was the time to start the first part with the word selected from the dictionary, senior. I thus began. "Senior is defined as older, of higher rank, denoting last year in school, senior person. I am not giving this definition to show my seniority or to impress you , I am doing this as a part of my job. Seniority, does not mean arrogance, it does have its privileges and importance. One should not seek to undermine seniors in any way and give respect to them as they deserve it due to their experience. I am not saying all this because I am senior to you, but this is a universal truth. However, despite similarity in sound and words seniority and superiority are entirely different. While seniority depends on age and experience, superiority depends on persistent good results as compared to others. Well, while talking about respect, one thing I don't understand and need your help. In common practice, a person who is respected usually sits, and those who pay respect stands. But, in a classroom it is the other way round. I am not proposing a change here because we could imagine the chaos if all the students stay standing during the lecture" (laughter). "One question sir," I heard a voice and had to change my gaze from wall to the voice. "Definitely, but after completing the lecture and there is every chance that you, yourself get the answer by that time," I replied. I realized that it was time to finish the senior talk and move to the end part provided by Aristotle due to questions. "And always remember what Lao-Tze said I continued, Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habits. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny". I was happy having concluded the first part and decided to move on. "I would now like to say something about "fear". Fear is a feeling of coming harm, or being afraid. Fear is a human instinct. It is natural, but deserves to be treated with extreme care. Fear can cause devastation, destroy lives and play havoc if not managed properly. The things we fear might not happen at all, but we continue to suffer about its occurrence. Fear is of two types, temporary or permanent, the temporary fear occurs when we suddenly find ourselves in an out of normal situation or environment due to some real or contrived act. In case of a contrived event mostly the impact is short lived and we attain normality soon. However, in a real situation it stays with us either for the life or for years depending on the consequences of the event. Another form of fear is a fear of failure. We don't do some time what we should due to the fear that we might fail. Failure is a key to the long term success, but our tendency to avoid failure make our self a failed person. Imagine what would have happened if Wright brothers had abandoned their experiment to fly due to fear of losing their lives. Several more examples could be cited. One must be brave and bold in dealing with fear. Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear. A brave person knows about the dangers, but still go for his mission, goal or act. Having said all that there is one thing one should always fear. Fear the consequences of wrongful, illegal, immoral, unethical and the acts which are against fundamental and established norms of humanity and society. Everyone should fear and desist from such acts," I completed my part and move towards Aristotle's part. "And always remember, stop thinking about limitations and start thinking in terms of possibilities". I was feeling thirsty and decided to have few sips from the glass of water placed at classroom table. "Well, a water break for me," I said and moved towards the table. As I was picking the glass suddenly a joke also came to my mind. "Few sips of water, and one joke about it also," I announced. "A chemistry teacher one day told the children about water, its formula H2O and its properties. The next day she asked a small girl student about the formula of water," I continued. "HIJKLMNO", she replied. "What? I told you H2O," the teacher stated. "And that's what I told you from H to O," she explained (laughter). After the drink, I proceeded to the next part of the lecture. "I would now talk about another phenomenon we meet often, i.e. quandary. Quandary means a situation where one is undecided what to do, a dilemma or stalemate. To give an example I will be sharing knowledge with you and you are required to fully grasp and understand whatever is being shared. My dilemma could be, how to judge the present level of understanding of the class and your dilemma could be, how to know about the level of communication and knowledge to be shared. One way to that for both of us is to leave it to time and make adjustments if found necessary. The other method is to develop expectations keeping in view our experience and understanding of the situation and move on. But, in this option also it is possible that after some time we feel the need to redefine our expectations on the basis of our interaction. In both the above situations we would have lost time and energy which might affect our goals ultimately. Talking about myself I would try to define my level of expectation before the close of today's lecture. As for the class I would be more than happy to help in any way the class finds it proper," I completed my part and moved towards Aristotle's'. “It is very essential to be very frank and open in these types of situations and keep away from personal biases and likes and dislikes. According to a well-known saying Minds are like parachutes. They only function when they are open. So let us go for it objectively,” I concluded. Having completed three parts I straight away move into the fourth. "I will now be discussing a matter which in one way or the other was present in all our last three topics, responsibility. In seniority it is there in the form of responsibility of, and towards seniors. In fear it is there in the context of conquering or managing fear, and in quandary also it is very much, there to be seen in the taking of the right decision to handle the situation. Actually, it is everywhere, being omnipresent due to it's most critical nature. Nothing is possible before there is someone responsible for its being and continuation. It's acceptance and fulfillment can lead to success and non-acceptance or non-fulfillment lead to failure, destruction or disaster. Even God has reserved some responsibilities to Himself showing its importance. Responsibility could be of different nature and kinds. It could be general or specific, tangible or intangible, written or non-written, entrusted or self-taken, inherent or decided, assumed or communicated, universal or local, established or created, singular or shared, personal or institutional. The word that corresponds to responsibility is Right, they go together. What is, one person's right, is another person's responsibility. The nature and the extent of the rights depend upon the nature and extent of responsibilities to be undertaken. Higher and critical the responsibility, greater the rights and privileges attached to a position. This is an established principle however, with some exceptions. We can see how important is the role of a train driver and a signal handler in railway whose small mistake could cause havoc to the lives of hundreds of people, yet they don't have the rights and privileges of a higher level. There could be more examples. There are, actions and omissions which are not considered responsibility due to absence of any specific order, direction or practice. These are too important to be ignored as they derive their validity from law of nature and the good of humanity,” I continued, and then narrated the one from Aristotle. “You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say, what you do, but also for what you do not do,” I concluded the fourth part. “How it is possible”? “Why, we are responsible for everything ”? “It is illogical”. A lot of questions came flying in and I had to remind them that all the questions after the lecture if time permits, or tomorrow. The last part was there to be taken and because it mostly related to my subject I was confident and enthusiastic. "So we are now moving towards the beginning of our subject, but closing of the lecture. Just like I said in the opening remarks sometimes a beginning is very close to an end. My topic of today is Democracy, but I would start with tortoise as this is the scheme of things. I suppose you all know about the famous Hare and Tortoise story with the moral that slow and study wins the race, but what about the same story by Ibn-a- Insha in his book, The Last Book Of Urdu," I asked. A very few hands were raised and I continued. "So that means I have to narrate it to explain my point,” I said and then decided to act like Professor Langley and went on to sit in my chair and continued. “The opening of the story is the same the two animals decided for the race, decide the starting and closing point and went to the starting point and then the race started. The hare within a jiffy disappeared from the scene and the tortoise, started his long tedious trek. The next scene opens showing the tortoise a few meters away from the closing point and leisurely moving forward and after some time reaches the point. Seeing east, west, north and south he could not find the hare-in-competition. So he will be sleeping somewhere. He thought and heaved a great sigh of relief. Suddenly he heard some voices coming towards him and then two child hares approached him. "Are you the same tortoise who started a race with a hare," one of them asked. "Yes I am that, but where is that hare,"? he enquired. "He died long ago and we are his children. While alive he always stay sitting at this place waiting for you and to announce his victory, and before death he made us promise that after his death we would do the same and tell you that he won the race". There were small claps in the class. I was happy that there was a change of mood in class, from inquisition to cheerfulness. “The purpose of telling the story was not to make a fool of hare or down grade the saying about slow and steady, but for reasons I would narrate later,” I said. "Coming to our subject, which is Democracy I would not start by defining it as you must be knowing that, my emphasis in this short time will only be to discuss it in a new context. There is almost a consensus that it is the best form of government. Winston Churchill , once said that democracy is a bad form of government no doubt about that, but others are worse. For deciding a form of government, it is necessary to first determine the goals to be achieved through democratic system of government. Just like the Hare and Tortoise race we should know the destination and then we can bet on a system. The results might come out different as in the case of the original story, but if we go by the new story then the opposite result is also possible. Although there are exaggerations in both the stories, but they definitely convey good messages. I am convinced a Hare must win the race, probably, but if he sleeps and sleeps on the way to the destination then a tortoise has definitely a chance. Similarly, a democratic system is the best system if it performs its functions and responsibilities as required under a democratic system, otherwise any other system may win due to its better performance". I felt confident, that I had made a good start in the subject area and decided to go ahead to the concluding part provided by Aristotle. "What is behind us or before us is less important then what is inside us." “And finally I would like to put a question to the class as promised earlier to get rid of my quandary. You listened to me today, those who think that they completely understood whatever I said may raise their hands”. There was a complete silence and then, a chattering noise leading to raising of few hands. “Now those who think they understood up to 50% may raise their hands”. The number increased to about 40% of the class. “Thanks my friends for helping me out. We will meet tomorrow, and that would be another day as now I understand at what level I should share knowledge,” I concluded my first lecture.
Finding a Taxi Cab in the city has always been an undesirable task. Although it is the second time that Government introduced scheme for providing Taxis to the people, but Taxis are still very difficult to find. First, it happened in 1990s that the Federal Government introduced the Yellow Cab Scheme for unemployed youths, the second time it was the Provincial Government that decided to give Taxi Cabs to people of low-income and lower age on installments. The first scheme ended in the de-nationalization and re-colorization of most of the taxis and finding place in the garages of the buyers. The second scheme is in its first stage of operations with more fears than hopes about its future. I was, therefore, apprehensive when told to arrange a Taxi the next day to drop three relatives and their luggage to the Railway Station, as I have heard a lot about the tension, frustration, embarrassment and the haggling involved first in finding it and then dealing with the driver.
As I am a great believer in the quote, “If you fail to plan you plan to fail” and aware about the paucity of the Taxis, I decided to start looking for the Taxi two hours before the departure time of the train. The estimated time a taxi takes to Railway station is 30 minutes. On the “D” day, I was out of my residence at 2 PM and after reaching the Main Road looked for a strategic place where I could keep a vigilant eye on a Taxi as well as stay safe from the cold winds of January. Fortunately I found the right place, it was a junction of three roads to the left of a huge billboard providing good protection from the swirling winds. I congratulated myself, as “well begun is half done”. I started my quest for the Taxi with a positive frame of mind. In a low tone I began whistling a popular song. However, taking the caution that no other person listens to it as, I had no bones about my whistle-singing- abilities. But, I have not forgotten my main aim and my eyes kept on moving on from one road of the intersection to the other. There was no trace of anything resembling a Taxi. After some time I casually looked into my watch, 20 minutes had already passed. My whistle-singing effort petered out and I decided to concentrate more on the three roads fearing that I might have missed some Taxi during this period due to relaxation. After passage of some more time, I realized that the time had started running, I looked back into my watch after a few minutes, and found that 35 minutes had already passed. A feeling of uncertainty gripped me and my management sense asked “What is the Plan B”? I did not have one. So what should be my next move? My mind was in a quandary when I felt a hand on my shoulder and a voice saying “Bao (respected sir) what is the time”?. Already being pinched by time I felt angry, but told him the time which was 2:40 PM. “You are standing here for some time, is it OK,”? the man asked. “Are you from the agencies,” I retorted. “No, no, I was only asking if I could help you, if you are waiting for some transport,” the man replied. God has sent help, I thought and asked how he could help. He told me that he was an auto-rickshaw driver. I told him that he could not help me because I need a Car Taxi which carried four people as well as heavy load and not auto-rickshaw which could carry 2/3 people and a very little load. I then described the whole situation. “No problem, you can use three rickshaws to take your relatives and their luggage to the Railway Station, using 1.5 rickshaws for passengers and the remaining 1.5 for luggage. Our rickshaws are spacious, comfortable and beautiful,” he gave his proposal in a confident manner. I asked him how much he would charge and how much time it would take to reach the Railway Station. “How much you estimate to pay for Taxi,” he asked. “Rs 700/,” I made an understatement. “I don't think so, it must be at least Rs 800/, you may pay Rs 300 / for each rickshaw for passengers as well as the luggage”. I told him that it came to a total of Rs900/ which was very high as compared to the comfortable and faster journey on a Taxi. “You have not calculated correctly, time is also money my dear sir. You looked to be an honorable and educated person and your every minute must cost at least Rs 5/ per minute, you have already wasted 50 minutes amounting to Rs 250/, and still waiting” he declared like a certified cost accountant. “As for faster journey, he continued, our rickshaws would complete the journey faster as they could move through the traffic faster due to their smaller size,” he announced his judgment with authority. Mindful that time was running fast I decided to agree to his conditions and told him that it would be his responsibility to adjust the luggage and drop us at the Railway Station at least 25 minutes before the train's departure. “You don't worry everything will be done, and let's start immediately towards your house,” he told me with a tone of urgency in his voice. Suddenly, a thought flashed through my mind, and I told the driver that the deal will include dropping me back . “Out of question, for that you will pay an extra Rs 300/,” he declared. It was now my turn show my knowledge and I reminded him that he was charging Rs 300/ for a fully loaded rickshaw while going to the Railway Station how he could charge the same amount for the return journey with only a very smart and slim person on board, with much less fuel consumption. Taken aback by my reply, he agreed to an amount of Rs 250 / as the last deal. I was happy because I was sure that charges from Railway station to my home would have been no less than Rs300/. It took 20 minutes to go home, put the luggage and settle the passengers and leave for the Railway Station. The whole exercise was undertaken by the three rickshaw drivers efficiently, but noisily about the size and weight of the luggage. It was 3:10 PM when we left and in 30 minutes we were at our destination. The coolies told us that the train had just arrived and would leave after 25 minutes. I quickly paid the agreed charges and as I started to move with relatives towards the Platform the deal-maker rickshaw driver stopped me and asked me where I was going, as he had to take me back. I told him that I would come back after settling down the relatives in the train and then we would go. “There was no such agreement of waiting and if you want me to wait there will be waiting charge of Rs1 per minute,” he replied. Feeling embarrassed in front of relatives I agreed and told him that I will return in 15/20 minutes. “Not more than 20 minutes,” he declared. As the train had already arrived there was a great rush on the platform and we were able to settle the things just before the departure of train at 4:05 PM. As the train left the platform I rushed out of the Railway Station and moved to the place where the rickshaw was standing when I left for the platform. To my consternation there was no rickshaw. I looked left and right, but found nothing. I waited for a while, and then thinking that he might have gone to the rickshaw stand, moved to that place. I found a lot of rickshaws of the same design and color, but as I had not noted the number of rickshaw, it was not possible to find the same. I did try, by going to each rickshaw and looking at the face of rickshaw drivers, but failed to find the desired one. He had run away I thought, these types of people are not reliable and I should find a new rickshaw, I told myself. I started my search and after some haggling got a deal for Rs 300/. Just as I was going to enter the rickshaw, some body pulled me back, when I looked back it was the “run- away” rickshaw driver. “Where are you running away after fooling me,” he thundered. “Where were you I had looked for you for half an hour,” I reacted in an angry voice. “I waited for you for 20 minutes, and then went to attend to the call of nature, and after coming out you should have come to the rickshaw stand. Instead, you were gone if I had not found you,” he narrated his point of view, blaming me emphatically. I told him that I had not noted the number of his rickshaw, and also told him my part of the story deleting his “running away” part. “I have been waiting for 30 minutes in all therefore, either you pay me Rs 30/ and go with the new rickshaw or if you want to go with me, then you will pay me Rs 250+30= Rs 285/ and pay some amount to the other driver. When I asked about the quantum of adjustment amount he told that Rs 25 will be OK. In the meantime the other rickshaw driver had also disembarked from his rickshaw to join the discussion. “What are you talking about, are you crazy, it would not be less than Rs 50/”, he shouted. It was now the turn of the other Taxi driver to show his vocal cords. “Are you new to this profession or to the city or want to rob a gentleman,” the first driver showed his sympathy for me. The new Taxi driver suddenly moved towards me, caught my arm and pulled me towards himself and shouted at the top of his voice “ Come on with me I have a deal with you”. It was now the first driver's turn to show his brawn and he also started pulling me towards himself saying that he had the first right on me. The shouting and pushing match had attracted a lot of by standers, I was in an extremely awkward situation, tension and anxiety writ large on my face and being pulled towards both sides and people looking on like watching a comedy show and I was the comedian. The first driver than declared that I could go with the other, subject to my paying him Rs 100/. Suddenly, my ears heard the following words delivered emphatically at a high pitch: “I will decide and that will be final, you both understand,” it was no other than I who had suddenly found the voice. How that happened I did not have the faintest idea. I took out purse from my pocket, selected a Rs 50/ note and handed it over to the second driver and asked him to leave, which he did with some murmurs against the other driver. I then took out Rs 100/ note and gave it to the first driver and told him to leave immediately, which he did. The people who have gathered around us clapped their hands and I suddenly I found that from a comedian I had become a hero. I decided that before another change occurs I must move out from the scene and started moving towards the main road. My mind was still occupied with the events of the most recent past. As I was about to reach the main road I passed by a car, it was of black and yellow car and was also unoccupied, I had found a Taxi at last. The joy was unbearable, my face lit up and I asked about the charges and was told that it would be Rs 800/. I did not argue, opened the back door, sat on the seat and asked the driver to move . I stretched myself on the whole seat with both arms under my head as a cushion. It was a strange feeling, a feeling of relief, joy, freedom, superiority and victory. I had forgotten all the stress, tension, anxiety, frustration and resentment, I had gone through and that I would spend Rs 950/ for the back journey instead of Rs 250. I started to whistle-sing a well known local saying “Jan bachi to lakhon paiay (Life saved means getting millions) I however, did not, whistle-sang the second part of the saying “Khair say budho ghar ku ayay (The stupid has safely come back home)
One day while having a walk in a big park in morning, I get caught up in heavy rain. I ran and took shelter under a big tree. The rain continued and increased in intensity and, despite being under a huge and fully grownup tree with a large covering I started to feel the splashes of water on my face. While I was thinking of my next move, suddenly a strange thing happened. I heard a shrieking voice calling “Go away, go away”. I looked left, right and towards my back, but found nothing. “Go away, go away,” the voice came again. This time, I looked up and to my astonishment found a parrot uttering the words Go away, go away. For a few seconds being stunned I did not say anything only watched the parrot rolling his eyes then in low voice I asked “Is it you parrot asking me to leave”?.
Can't you see and hear,” the parrot retorted. I felt insulted, but still under the shock I did not show my anger and instead told him that although I knew that parrots could utter few words taught by humans, mostly their masters, not even knowing the sense of the words, but it was for the first time I am hearing a parrot talking. “Nonsense, it is the humans who don't know what they are talking about,” the parrot continued. As I felt that the green little creature was bent upon insulting the mankind, I decided to be bit courageous. “You know that humans are the most powerful species on the earth and we have made tremendous technological advances,” I declared boastfully. “That's all for personal convenience or for killing others of your own species,” parrot's reply made me uneasy and depressing, but I decided to take a diplomatic course. “OK leave it, do you agree that we taught you to speak,” I asked. “No because you don't know our language, you tried to teach some words of your language to make a fun of us and not for charity. It is our learning skills that we were able to learn and as you can see we were able to learn much more than what you wanted,” the parrot gave a long reply and instead of gratitude, his attitude was full of contempt malice and resentment. “It is unfair, we always thought good about you and here you are, lambasting us. Now I know why the famous Indian saying says,” “Turkeys, parrots and hares don't know what gratitude is” and call unfaithful people as parrot's eye. As for your habits, you sometime shriek continuously and bite the very hand which feed you,” I put up a list of grievances. “That's what you think, tell me if we take you away and keep you in jungle as a prisoner feed you and taught you some words we speak, then make a fun of you in front of other parrots and enjoy, would you feel good and say thank you. Have you heard the Mexican proverb “Parrots are green everywhere; the idiot loses wherever he is,” parrot was direct and blunt. As for shrieking and biting, what could a prisoner do in frustration. I decided to change the topic and asked him to tell why he was crying, go away, go away, although I was only standing under the tree to save myself from the heavy rain. “This was due to my children. My wife frightens them by telling them that she will give them to you, humans when they will not listen to her, and when they saw you under the tree, they started shivering with fear,” he replied. I felt devastated by the revelation and told him to remember what we have done for them. “We keep you as a pet, look after you and even love you and here you are, depicting ourselves as some sort of barbarian”. I reminded him that the pet owners some time weep when their pets die and sometime let them go by freeing them. “There are three categories of people who give us freedom parrot declared. The first category is those who are fed up feeding us or by our shrieks and biting, The second category is those who want to show off, they first buy us, keep us for a few days and then in the presence of people releases us to show their love for freedom. The third category is the people who after feeling that they are doing wrong by imprisoning us, decide to give us freedom. Only these are the people we appreciate, but these are very few in number”. parrot concluded. “I am one belonging to the third category, I once had a pet parrot, but let go after a few months, I told the parrot in an exhilarating voice. But, the next day he came back. What would you call it”? ” May be they epitomized the famous Urdu verse: Itnay manoos siyaad say hogai Ub rihae millagi to mar jain gay ( Have become so accustomed to the cage owner that will die if released) As the rain had stopped, I told him that it was time to leave and that it was nice to have a frank and fruitful discussion which would help in understanding each other. I also asked the parrot whether it is possible that I come back some time again. “I would check from my wife” the parrot replied. I left the place with a lot of relief and joy because at last, I had found one thing in common between a man and a parrot.