Summer vacations had started and Siya was visiting her grandparents. Siya loved to eat laddoos made by grandma and hear stories from grandpa. One evening while everyone savoured snacks made by grandma, Siya requested grandpa to tell her a story she had never heard before.
Old grandpa scratched his head, chuckled and said, “Many years ago, on the open piece of land outside this village, near the river bank, lay many small and big rocks. The rocks varied in colour from brown and green to grey and black and white. There was one rock as white as snow, its name was Rocky. And there was another one named Granito who was pitch-black. The two of them were good friends. Granito was the bigger one, like the ones that humans can sit on, and Rocky was smaller, the size that you can easily kick around.”
“Granito often remarked to Rocky, ‘You are the fairest rock I have ever come across.’ At this Rocky would feel elated, little aware that Granito had not travelled much to see fairer rocks than it. Pumped and bloated by such compliments, Rocky’s false ego could not see that it was Granito’s goodness to shower such compliments, instead, interpreted these compliments as statements describing him to be in possession of a rare quality of fairness. Instead of thanking Granito for them, Rocky started to rate himself superior than its friend. What a fallacy!”, grandpa quipped.
“Rocky grew egoistic as days went by. When boys from the village came to play they used to kick about these rocks, most of the rocks had fun being kicked, and rolled around in joy. But Rocky detested this. It hated being kicked around. It often said, ‘What kind of life is this! Sit in the mud, only to be kicked around so that these little rascals can have fun! I just hate this. Have I no self-esteem! Anyone steps on me in the middle of my naps to wake me up, throws me wherever and whenever they please to, or simply sit upon me to have rest… as if rocks don’t need a break from all these boring routine!’ At this Granito used to say, “Hey we are rocks after all. We are supposed to be living like this only. What else can we do?”
This set Rocky into thinking mode and it thought what else it could do. ‘I shall avenge the mistreatment I am given. I shall fall back on the boys that hit me. Yes! I must teach them a lesson’ Rocky almost jumped as it said this.”
“The next day Rocky waited for the boys to come. They came and a little boy hit Rocky so hard that it flew high up above the ground. It was the first time someone had hit Rocky so hard that it could almost see the entire village from up there. Although it enjoyed the scene, Rocky was determined to hit the boy’s head. Revenge overtook the feelings of appreciation and down it went with anger fuelling its pace. Just as it was about to reach the boy, the boy just ran away, and bound by the law of gravity, Rocky fell to the earth with a great thud. It hurt like never before. This hurt brewed more bitterness in Rocky’s mind. Although the boys played their own games, and had no conscious intention of hitting Rocky, Rocky felt that the boys came to the field only to hit it.
Since Rocky’s thoughts were centred on being hit, the boys somehow chose to kick Rocky amongst all other rocks. This made Rocky feel like a victim. It thought that the boys had something especially against it, as they chose to kick it every day while other rocks were kicked only occasionally. Rocky lacked the awareness that its own thoughts were bringing the kicks to it. Its thoughts had become so big in magnitude that they had the gravity to pull the boys from whatever they were doing, and be at the field only to kick Rocky around. It was all in Rocky’s mind, and yet Rocky was oblivious of it.”
“Day after day the same scene repeated, Rocky was kicked up and it enjoyed the scene from above, yet revenge and anger made it fall to the ground making it feel miserable than ever. One day while brooding over its miseries Rocky thought it would run away, far away never to come back to this land where life was all about kicking, hitting and falling. It had no idea where to go, but it was determined not to fall back or take revenge. It decided firmly that it never wanted to come back. It thought that falling somewhere else would also mean the same thing, except that the people who hit you would change. So it made up its mind never to return. ‘Today whatever happens I am not going to fall back, I don’t care about gravity or its laws. I think gravity too exists because things fall. I want to defy it and make my way to the sky.’ It was determined.
Evening came by, and so did the boys. The little boy, who kicked the hardest, kicked Rocky and up it went… ‘No looking down, I’ll look up’ Rocky told itself as it held onto itself in flying posture, and sublimated its anger and feeling of revenge and used the power therefrom to fuel its pace.
Up and up it soared, until it heard someone say ‘Welcome Rocky’. Rocky was greeted by the Sky. Astounded by its effort Rocky was unable to speak, and muttered ‘…Ummm…amm…am I really here!’ ‘
Yes! You are’, Sky smiled as it said. Rocky was feeling too hot.
‘Mr Sky, you got a river close by? I feel hot and thirsty.’
‘What are you talking of Rocky, there are no rivers up here. And you feel hot because you’re a ‘Star’ now. You sped so fast that your whole form is burning. You’re emitting light now. Want to have a look at your earth? Just look at those boys who kicked you around.’
Rocky looked down. It saw the boys admiring its shining armour of light. Rocky felt proud of itself. The boys, who had been kicking and hitting it, now looked up to it in awe and amazement.
It was a wonderful feeling, a feeling of triumph. Then the Sky asked Rocky, ‘Won’t you thank those little rascals?’
‘Why, what for?’ questioned Rocky confused.
‘They have been the reason you are up here, defying the law of gravity, shining up here, millions of miles away from where you were. They have been the reason that you are able to rise above the dirt and mud you used to be in. Oh, what an elevation they have brought about in you!’
Rocky was surprised to hear all this. This was a totally new perspective for it. It never thought on those lines. And silently nodded in agreement, still finding this part of the truth hard to digest.”
“There was more and much more to a star’s life than Rocky had ever imagined. A star’s life was not easy. It saw bright stars shining in the otherwise dark sky. They looked beautiful! Admiration was something that would naturally come upon seeing them. They had been bringing light to so many planets for millions of years now. Their life was a constant battle between gravity of the matter absorbed and the energy they emitted out. For being a star it needed to have a perfect balance of these two opposing forces, an imbalance of either would lead to death. If gravity won, it would mean a black-hole death, and if energy emissions out-did gravity it would be a supernova death. Death stood staring in the face on either sides of their identity. But the stars believed that the struggle was worth the benefit they were bringing to so many planets and the life that sustained upon them.”
“They inspired budding young stars and were looked upon as role models. Just like DNA has all the essential information coded in it for the development, functioning and reproduction of any living organisms, an existing star had all the necessary energy wavelength pattern codes to inspire and produce young budding stars. Inspiration is a key ingredient to keep one buoyant in life”, Grandpa emphasised.
“There was a lot that Rocky had to learn yet. Struggling to survive as a star was proving to be even more difficult than it was to survive as a rock. No one kicked you around, stamped on you, or sat on you, but this life had its own challenges. No one dared to come near you, as you were too hot. So it was all lonely up there. It even missed Granito, its favourite friend. Here no two stars could come together and had to maintain a certain distance from each other to avoid explosions. It could not gather much mass as it would increase gravity and lead to death eventually, and if it did accumulate the mass it had to burn it to emit light, in order to balance it.
It could not overwork to finish two days’ work in one, as over emission of energy would lead to an explosion that they called a supernova. So it had to be a much disciplined life with the right amount of intake and just the right output.
Slowly Rocky got to learn the skill of this life, but often missed its life as a rock and said to itself ‘Those were the days!’ and sighed.
Its discontentment was with it as ever! But as it contemplated in its discontented state it found that it did not want to go back either. It did not want to go back to the ground near the river, to be kicked around, nor did it like its life as a star. What could it do? Why was it unable to enjoy either being a rock or a star? While life made no such misery to other rocks or stars who seemed fairly happy with their own lot.
Rocky looked down towards the ground where other rocks lay. A sculptor had transformed Granito into a beautiful sculpture! Granito was happy before and happier now. Other rocks looked at it in awe and wonder waiting for their chance to get transformed. Rocky felt only if it had waited back on earth this chance would not have been missed. Instead of feeling happy for its friend’s lot Rocky made things miserable for itself.”
“Discontentment is something that can never make you feel happy, no matter you may have touched the sky, and contentment is something that will make you feel happy even if you lay in the dust”, concluded grandpa, as he got up to go for his evening walk.
Author: Jyoti Prateek
About Song of the Being by Jyoti Prateek
Allegorical and Imaginative; at times the poems tend to take a mystical shape. The language is simple yet profound in meaning. The book expounds and illustrates the journey of a Being, where brief pauses in life provide insights. Poems are a good medium to simplify the thoughts and provide a natural rhythm to the flow of Being's experience through discovery of Love, that Inspires a Vision which finally paves the Path, as the Being moves along to maturity and realization of Self. This unique collection of Poems is bound to invoke thoughts and inspire the reader to explore own perspective towards life.