It was that time of the year again. For two short months each year, I got to travel to my hometown. I loved those two months- and even more so because of my grandfather.

This evening, I had come to meet him again, to bother him one more time for one of his “treasures” as we called them. He smiled, puffed slowly on his pipe and obliged me.

“Once upon a time…” He began, and I settled down, half-closing my eyes as I fell through his melodious baritone to a land far away were anything was possible.

“A wealthy man requested an old scholar to wean son away from his bad habits. The scholar took the youth for a stroll through a garden. Stopping suddenly, he asked the boy to pull out a tiny plant growing there.

The youth held the plant between his thumb and forefinger and pulled it out. The old man then ask him to pull out a slightly bigger plant. The youngster pulled hard and the plant came out, roots and all.

They walked for a while more.

“Now pull out that one,” said the old man pointing to a bush nearby. The boy had to use all his strength to pull it

“Now take this one out,” said the old man, indicating a guava tree. The youth grasped the trunk and tried to pull it out. But it would not budge. “Its impossible,” said the boy, panting with the effort.

“So it is with bad habits,” said the sage. “When they are young it is easy to pull them out but when they
take hold they cannot be uprooted.”

Grandpa finished with a twinkle in his eye. I thanked him, stood up, dusted my bottoms and left- a different boy from the one who sat just mere minutes ago.


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