A Salute to the Flute Seller ...
I was inside a fabulous, big car, along with a couple and a few children of different ages, different states. We were on our way to attend a school function. My daughter had warned me to look for a whole lot of interesting marvels of technology inside the car. It had been an object of fascination for her ever since her friend owned it. My thoughts came to a halt as the car stopped at a traffic signal and the air was filled with the melodious strains of a flute. Soon he appeared before us, a small, dark boy with liquid eyes. He continued playing the flute, a pole leaning on his shoulder with many such flutes thrust all over it. How effortless, how gifted, I thought as I stared at him. The youngest in the car, immediately demanded a flute. The indulgent 'papa' brought out the wallet and bought a flute each for all the children, his own and their friends. With the green signal on, we left the flute seller and his melody'but soon this was replaced by all the children experimenting on their newly acquired toy. The result was a cacophony of sounds. The man behind the wheels, the father, gave some instructions to help those who couldn't sustain the sound. Needless to say, the cacophony was hardly music to my ears and brought back memories of a migraine! Even then, I felt a sense of joy at my inferences'. sadistic pleasure, you may say. The thought that God Almighty was there in the heavens and all's right with the world. It was sheer pleasure to see the way He held a certain balance. The flutes were so easily acquired but the melody could not be bought, the art couldn't be acquired. The talent and the interest have to come from within. Then, you hone the talent. The practice makes the art perfect. If all this could be bought at the drop of a hat, life would be so meaningless.
I have always been made aware of this, in everyday life. I know of a neighbor who visits an orthodontist very often. Her experiences remind me of an English movie. The father of the hero asks the heroine what was the one thing that attracted her to his son. And she coyly replies, "his smile". The smart father mutters, "oh, I've paid a lot for those crowns!" That's what my neighbor is upto. Spending through the nose, and still looking for that expert dentist who will give her the flawless thirty-two teeth. She came wonderstruck, the other day, "Have you noticed Manju's teeth? "she asked. Manju is my maid. " She has a beautiful smile" I agreed. "No, her teeth" she insisted, "They're so perfect" "Ah, that's the work of the most superior orthodontist" I added. I was secretively happy with God for simply bestowing on poor Manju something that the well to do craved!
The case of a daughter-in-law in a household that I know is another remarkable one. The mother-in-law makes all the tongue-in-cheek remarks to belittle the daughter-in-law, while words of praise are reserved for the daughter. She has now eaten all her words and talks very less. The reason? The daughter-in-law is the only one in the whole household, who has mastered the technique of driving a car. Even her husband is now dependent on her. A skill so obvious to the world that the mother-in-law watches helplessly!
Flippantly ,we say that money can buy everything. Then, we realize that the receiver of genuine love needn't always be rich, money can't make you a singer, a writer is one gifted not with just the craft but with a certain sensibility, beauty transcends clothes and make-up. Think of sculptors, painters, even those who possess a beautiful handwriting'all a matter of talent, interest, hard-work'It's well that it's not easily yours for the asking!
Dear God. We need your equation, your great way of striking a balance. What we know as your gift or talent or skill is a great leveler. Even as you allow a few their bank balance, you see that they can't get fiercely independent! Robert Browning, the English poet, discovered this years ago. That's why he said, "Ah, but a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for!"
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