“through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us. . ."

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Man with the Cane

If God is someone who hovers in my background and raps me on my mental knuckles with a cane whenever I indulge in self-glorification, then believe me, I am a believer in God. It has happened so many times in my life that I am inclined, albeit reluctantly, to believe in the existence of God.

Take today, for example. There was a heavy rush of customers and internet connectivity was down from 1000 to 1200 hrs. Irate customers, embarrassed colleagues, the tension of passing cheques without really knowing if there is balance in the accounts, pacifying the VIP customers, telephoning the chap who looks after the connectivity blah blah, attending to this that this that - the old machine was working smooth – too smooth that when I got a respite, I told myself smugly, ‘you old goat, you! Still can do it, uh?’ and felt quite good. Mind was sharp. Then connectivity was restored and whoosh, went the machine, fingers flying over the keyboard, pen shooting off a dozen signatures with élan (I am vain about my signature, the way it races across the drafts and papers), hands flying this way and that way, sending off directions left and right, rapping out instructions – yea, I am on a roll – or so I thought, till something happened.

The rap on the knuckles came a couple of hours later. I had issued 10 drafts each for Rs.100/-. The customer was a VIP (millions of rupees) so every thing had to be done as quickly as possible. I signed the drafts with a flourish and glowed in the ‘Thank you’ of the customer. The party went away and after an hour called to say that there is a mistake. One of the drafts was wrongly printed for Rs.400/- and I had missed it.

I immediately canceled the draft, made another one, sped away to the customer’s office 6 km away. But I couldn’t redeem my deflated ego.

It has happened many many times; when I pat myself after a spell of skillful biking, a pothole would appear from nowhere right on my path. When I stand back and admire a poem I have written, the next glance would show a glaring mistake. This old man who hangs around me behind me with a cane and waiting for the chance to pounce – sometimes I am grateful to him, because I have learned to be cautious and remind me not to be too happy about myself. Sometimes he is like Jerry hitting Tom on his head and hammering him down.

One of my blogger friends, Sreejith Thampi, has written an excellent poem on similar lines. (See http://huggingmyself.blogspot.com/2010/11/i-am-scared.html)

It is reassuring to see the old man’s shadow in the slanting sunlight of the evening. He is like the Guru that Kabir sings about; the guru and chela (disciple) within ourselves…

********* Balachandran V, Trivandrum, 03-12-2010


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Good one @Balachandran V! Nice to be the first one to comment.

    Next time you sense the "Old Man" try shaking hands! Oh, please pass on my love!

  3. Great to have him around you!
    I am taking a break from blogger for sometime,will be back as soon as possible.Take Care :)

  4. :-) It happens with each one of us. When we inflate and thump our chest of our greatness, ''rrrapppp' hits the cane on our knuckles to remind "hey, look at that mistake you dumbo"

    Keeps us grounded, which is very much needed :)

  5. was it today morning or yesterday evening.. i was thinking about this other person within.. that i have conversations in my mind with.. discussing. defending...only it isnt an old man.. she is this sensible mature alter ego if u like... :) Art OF living calles it the battle between the big mind and the small mind...

  6. I am so reminded by this "hit the nail on the head" write that we do make mistakes. I can see you now; becoming all embarassed probably. You have so well reminded us that we are human. I think God may have remined you with the cane on the head. Ahhhhhhh, humanity....Outstanding Balan

  7. "When your mind becomes fixed on Me, you shall overcome all difficulties by My grace. But, if you do not listen to Me due to ego, you shall perish "
    Needs reminding often!

  8. It happens to God as well!
    Look around he is not perfect either.

  9. As insignia was pointing out, sometimes it is very much necessary to stay grounded...Otherwise we may take things and people for granted, which ultimately ruins the simple joys of our lives..

  10. Ah. Me blushing.
    An unexpected popularity for me.

    The VIP customer of yous would have been really happy for the 'out of the policy' service provided. Great CRM.


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