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Aaditya and Me by Aditya Joshi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The King who celebrated Diwali

Disclaimer: Fiction fiction. Original work.

Long long ago, there lived a king who loved Diwali - the Hindu festival of lights. He celebrated Diwali with his subjects. He would give them sweets and clothes. In the late afternoon, people would queue up outside his palace to receive these gifts that they considered auspicious. It was believed that if you got a gift from the king for Diwali, you would be prosperous and happy throughout the year. Just when it was all done, there would be crackers that would fill the atmosphere with light that Diwali brought to lives of everyone.

Like every other year, the king distributed gifts. Just when he thought he was done, the king was returning back to the palace. He saw an old lady sitting under a tree in his orchard. He thought she must have been in the queue but must have gone tired.  The king walked to her and asked her, "Why are you here, oh lady? Were you here for the Diwali gifts?"

The lady said, "Oh, you don't remember me? I lived with you in your palace for many years. You have been giving gifts to everyone every year - but you have forgotten me always. You never paid attention to what I wanted for Diwali."

The king stared at the wrinkles on her face and the way they grew as she continued to complain.

"I know you for long now. You were a bright student when you were away at the ashram for education. Your guru taught you to be courteous and helpful. He always told you that a king rules people but a good king rules their minds."

She went on, "You distribute gifts to them every Diwali. Throughout the year, you levy exhorbitant taxes on them - you nearly choke them. What's the use of giving them a gift now? I am as old as you are. But you know why I look so old? Every time you go wrong, I get older, weaker and more frail."

The king was listening carefully."You make me weaker each time an apparently noble deed of yours has a secondary motive involved. Do this for me. Be nice to people throughout the year and then give them a gift at the end of the year. Whatever the gift is."

The king said, "Why do I make you weak?"

The answer came, "Because I am you. I am your conscience. I have gone old and weak. I have gone away from you. If you want me to come back to you, you need to clear your heart. That's the only place I can stay."

The king smiled. His servants had lit the crackers by now. There was light all over.


Diwali is a festival of lights. It is about bringing light to each other. Why do we, then, fight throughout the year - only to wish each other a happy diwali at the end of it all?

Let's have a truly Happy Diwali this year. Let's vow not to fight and not to take the light of joy and peace out of each others' lives.

Happy Diwali!

1 comment:

  1. interesting....so does the king listen to his conscience in the end?