THE DISEASE TO PLEASE
As long as you live your life in such a way that your happiness is dependent upon things you cannot control, you will be a puppet in the hands of external circumstances and entities.
Similarly, if you are obsessed with seeking approval of others and always worried about pleasing others and your actions are guided by what other people would say [The LOK KYA KAHENGE syndrome] it looks like you may be falling victim to The Disease to Please and it is high time you read this popular Mulla Nasrudin Story.
Mulla Nasrudin and his son were travelling with their donkey.
Nasrudin preferred to walk while his son sat on the donkey.
Soon they passed a group of bystanders, and one of them scoffed, “Look at that selfish boy. The hale-and–hearty young son is riding on the donkey while his poor old father is forced to walk alongside. What disgraceful behaviour? And it is so disrespectful. What a horrible and spoiled child!”
Mulla Nasrudin and his son felt so embarrassed by these comments that they quickly switched places.
Now Mulla Nasrudin rode on the donkey while his son walked.
Soon they passed another group of people. “Oh, just look at that, what detestable behaviour!” one of them exclaimed pointing to Mulla Nasrudin. “That poor young boy has to walk while his shameless father rides the donkey! That horrible man should be ashamed of himself for the way he is treating his son. What a heartless father! It is appalling!”
Nasrudin was extremely upset to hear this. He wanted to avoid anybody else’s scorn, so decided that both he and his son ride the donkey at the same time and asked his son to sit along with him on the donkey.
As they both rode on the donkey, they passed another group of people. “That man and his son are so cruel,” one bystander said. “Just look at how they are forcing that poor donkey to bear the weight of two people. They have no consideration for the poor mute animal. Cruel merciless scoundrels, that’s what they are!”
Nasrudin heard this and told his son, “I guess the only way we can avoid the criticism of others is to both walk.”
“I suppose you are right,” the son replied.
So they got off the donkey and continued on foot.
But as they passed another group of people, they heard them laughing. “Ha, ha, ha,” the group jeered. “Look at those two fools. They are so stupid that both of them are walking under this scorching hot sun and neither of them is riding the donkey! Have you ever seen such stupid idiots? What morons!”
[In another version of this story, the criticism and comments of people continue, iterating and reiterating, and in the end the exasperated Mulla Nasrudin and his son finally carry the donkey on their heads!]
So, Dear Reader, the next time you are overcome by the disease to please and feel governed by a desire to seek approval of others for something you want to do, feel like pleasing others to the detriment of your own needs, just remember this Mulla Nasrudin story, listen to your inner voice, seek your own approval, and act accordingly.
Log kya kahenge...? Don’t worry... Kuch to Log kahenge, logon ka kam hai kehena…
Copyright © Vikram Karve 2009
Vikram Karve has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.
Appetite for a Stroll