Feature Articles

Is life unfair?

Is life unfair?

A young boy and his family lived in a small village. There was a river that ran by the village and as often children do, this boy spent his summer days soaking in the cool water of the river.

One fine summer day, when he was playing by the riverbank, the boy heard someone yell in distress – “please help.. Anyone…Please help.” As he moved closer, he realised that the cry for help was coming from an alligator who was stuck in a net set up by a fisherman. The boy was reluctant to help the crocodile. He feared that once the alligator got unstuck, he may eat the boy for lunch!

But the alligator pleaded with the boy with tears rolling down from his eyes. “If you don’t untangle me I will die here out of hunger and pain”. The sob story worked – and the boy decided to untangle the net to free the alligator’s head. But true to his nature, the alligator immediately grabbed the boy into the iron grip of his mighty jaws. The roles had reversed. It was the boy’s turn to cry and plead for his life.

The boy said – “This is unfair. You are so ungrateful. I freed you and saved your life. Instead of thanking me, you are going to eat me for your lunch”. The alligator replied cunningly, “Hey I got to eat! Is life fair? Life is unfair!”

The boy was shocked – not only from the pain of the alligator plucking his mighty teeth into the boy’s leg – but also from the realisation that how unfair life was. There was a bird sitting on the tree by the bank of the river and watching the commotion. The boy asked the bird – “Is life really this unfair? Is the alligator right?”.

The bird confirmed the boy’s worst fear! The bird replied – “With great effort, we build a nest on top of the tree to lay the eggs and to take care of our young ones. But the snake often comes and swallows the eggs. Life is not fair.”

The young boy was still not convinced. He saw a donkey happily grazing on the grass by the river bank. The boy decided to ask the same question to the donkey. The donkey replied – “Unfortunately, the alligator is right! When I was young my master used to load unbearable amounts of stuff on my back and make me work eighteen hours a day. Now that I am old, he has left me and I have to take care of my own self in my old age. Life is not fair.”

The young boy was still not convinced. He saw a rabbit hopping under the bushes and decided to pose the same question to the rabbit. “Is life really unfair? The alligator keeps saying that but I don’t believe it.”

The alligator was getting annoyed with the boy for asking everyone the same silly question. He attempted to argue with the rabbit while holding the boy’s leg in his jaws. The sounds came out mumbled as alligator was speaking with his mouth closed. The rabbit said – “Speak with your mouth open. I cannot understand what you are saying.”

The alligator replied – “I am not a fool! I am not falling for your trick. If I open my mouth, I will have to let go of the boy’s leg, and he will run away.” The rabbit laughed and replied back – “You are a fool. Don’t you know how strong your tail is? If the boy tries to run, you can knock the boy with just a single whack of your powerful tail.” The alligator was convinced and let go of the boy’s leg to try and speak clearly.

The rabbit screamed at the boy – “Runaway. Run as fast as you can.” The boy did just that! The alligator realised that he was fooled and started to whip his tail to knock the boy down. He then realised that the tail was still stuck in the net, as the boy had only untangled his head from the net when he grabbed his leg in a hurry. The alligator was mad at the rabbit but there was nothing he could do. The rabbit said – “Hey alligator – you are right. Life is unfair!”

While returning back to his home, the boy saw the rabbit and was about to thank him for saving his life. Before he could utter the words, a wild dog came out of the bushes and killed the rabbit..

The Moral:
The young boy was now learning the lessons of life. He was not able to bear this tragedy and could not stop crying. He realised that the alligator was right – Life is unfair..

We often want life to be fair. We have seen too many happy endings in movies to expect the same in life also. But that is like expecting a lion not to eat you because you did not eat the lion!

There are so many things in life that are beyond our understanding. Things happen and we interpret them as fair or unfair. Expecting a different outcome that is different from reality is the cause of unhappiness. Accept the principle of unconditional awareness of reality as it is and not as we want it to be.


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