India has been the land of ancient tales. There has been a rich tradition of storytelling in India since at least the Iron Age, with works like the Hitopadesā, the Panchatantra and the Jātakas. Indian children, who grew up in as late as the 90s, enjoyed this rich tradition of storytelling, with comic books like Tinkle and the whole Amar Chitra Katha series highlighting such moral tales for children.
Nowadays, however, it is a whole different story with children slowly diverging from moral tales to virtual media of pedagogy. However, it doesn’t mean we can’t make an exception tonight.
In reality, the same kind of stories exists in every culture with minute differences. Here is one of the many tales I had heard as a child. If I am correct, a similar tale was told in China too.
This is the tale of the cracked pot:
“A servant once lived with his master in a little town in India. The servant, thanks to the master’s benevolence was a literate man, and wise beyond his station.
Among many of the servant’s duties was the responsibility of getting water from a well that was a long walk away. The servant, however, was really diligent in his job, walking all the way to and from the well every day.
To bring the water in from the well, the servant used two pots tied to the two ends of a long wooden pole. One of the pots was perfectly shaped and round, while the other pot had a crack in it. As a result, where the servant was supposed to bring two pots of water from the well, he brought in one and a half pots of water home.
The servant never spoke ill of his pots and neither did his master. Everyone was content.
But, the perfectly shaped pot was proud and kept boasting of its shape to the cracked pot, saying things like “look at your sorry state of affairs. You cannot even keep a pot of water inside you. You are useless. Look at my perfectly shaped bottom; I can hold twice the amount of water in me. Even the master loves me better.”
This made the cracked pot sad, but like his master who was a faithful and wise servant, it never said a word to its master or to the other pot. With jokes at its expense, the perfect pot went on and on, but for two long years the cracked but faithful and quiet pot kept going, never uttering a word.
One day, however, it lost its patience and started crying while the wise servant was carrying it home. “I am ashamed master. I am sorry for being cracked, that I never fulfilled my life’s purpose for you; sorry that for me you probably end up being reprimanded by your own master.”
The servant smiled and said, “Pot, have you noticed something? Have you noticed how on the way back home, I always carry you on my left?”
The cracked pot dried its tears and thought about it for a couple of moments. It was true. No matter how he was carried to the well, he was always carried on his master’s left-hand side on the way back home. “Now that I think about it sir, yes you do. Why do you do so sir?”
“Take a look at the road on your left”, said the servant smiling again.
And lo and behold, one side of the road, from the well to the house back, was filled with flowers.
The cracked pot couldn’t believe its eyes!
“All this is because of you little pot. I carried you on my left so that you could water the seeds of the flowers I planted some years ago. I take these flowers home to my master and make him happy. You saved me so much work simply by existing. You should be proud of yourself little pot. Thank you”, said the wise old servant to his pot.
The pot cried out of happiness as his “perfect” counterpart fumed with jealousy.”
The moral of this tale is simple: Exist. Exist with your flaws. Your maker had a particular intention when he or she was making you. Even if things are not clear right now, it will be one fine day, when that meaning dawns on you.
Wear your flaws like badges of honor till their true purpose is revealed.
Featured Image Source: Thomas Gowanlock @ 123RF.com