Dividing The Roti Again
There is an old folktale about two cats that found a roti and asked a monkey to help them divide it into two equal halves. (See Sunrays for Wednesday). In that story, while trying to equalise the two portions of the roti, the monkey kept taking little bites from each of the two roti portions. Eventually he ate up the entire roti and the two cats were left gaping! He succeeded in fooling the cats!
So it seems that the monkey told the story of his ingenuity to his descendants to glorify how he had outsmarted the two cats of their roti. Oh! How we love to gloat over our cleverness!
But do you think the cats would not have told their children and grandchildren about their idiocy? And is it not prudent that we learn from our mistakes?
So presently, the grand children of the monkey and the cats are the characters in our story. So a pair of twin cats found a roti lying somewhere and decided to divide it equally. So how should they divide it? A monkey saw them lurking around waiting to be invited in, as his grandfather had narrated.
But the cats were wiser now. So the elder cat told the younger one, that they should steer clear away of the cunning monkey, who was waiting for the roti to be put up for grabs.
The elder cat said that he would divide the roti very carefully and try his best that it is done equally. So he tore the roti into two parts. Closing one eye to get a sharper view, he looked at it judgementally and said, “I think the two are equal.” The younger one looked quite satisfied too. The elder cat said, “Since I have divided it, in all fairness you can take a pick of the two. Whichever one is left shall be mine.” The younger cat happily took his share; hugged his elder brother and the matter was settled much to the disillusionment of the monkey who stood by watching the entire scene. He felt cheated!
Stories are stories, but let us not undermine their power to teach and leave deep and everlasting impressions on our minds.
Let me share with you that our father (Sh B. D.Tandon) is the youngest of three brothers. He remembers a time when the family jewels were to be divided amongst the ladies of the house. The eldest brother divided everything as per weight, using a jewellers weighing scale. He then told the youngest to take the first pick and himself took the last portion!
If the intention is to be fair and just, there is always a solution forthcoming. Mutual trust between members of the family is invaluable. There are differences in most families; but family matters are best settled behind closed doors and within the family. The litigation process in our country is slow and painful. There is a folk saying that after the litigation process is over… “Jo jeeta, wo haarae jaisa; jo haara, wo moyae jaisa!” Meaning that after the process of litigation is over … the one who has won, is as good (or as bad) as lost; and the one that has lost, is as good as dead!