Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Is Space a Tangible or an Intangible Entity ?

Dear Reader, I thought that like time, space too could be measured and quantified and was an absolute entity.  Gradually I learnt that time was highly subjective and relative, not quite absolute as I thought, as I could feel time passing fast when I was busy (when working or doing something I enjoy) and time passing slowly when I was bored (like waiting for someone whose train or flight is delayed). 
Now it has dawned upon me that space too is a relative concept. This apocryphal Mulla Nasrudin Story explains the relative nature of space.

One day Mulla Nasrudin’s neighbour came over to ask for some advice on how to manage his large family in his tiny little house.

“Dear Mulla Nasrudin,” he bemoaned, “my house is so small that all of us just cannot fit inside – me and my wife, my mother-in-law, three children... we are all so cramped up in our small cottage where there is hardly any space. You are a wise man, and maybe you can find some solution to my problem so please tell me what to do...”

“I noticed that you rear chickens – how many chickens do have in your barn behind your house...?” Nasrudin asked.

“I have five chickens and a rooster,” the neighbour said.

“Take them all into the house...”

“What...?” the neighbour asked aghast, “how is it possible...? My house is already so small and overcrowded. Where is the place for the chickens...?”

“Try just do what I say,” Nasrudin insisted, “And I am sure you will come and meet me tomorrow and tell me that your problem has been solved.” 

The neighbour was not convinced but he did not dare to question the wisdom of Mulla Nasrudin, so he took the five chickens and the rooster inside the house. 

The next morning he ran to Nasrudin’s house.

“You have made our problem worse – me, my wife, my mother-in-law, three kids, five chickens and a rooster – it is impossible for all of us to fit inside the small house – there is no space at all...” the neighbour lamented.
However, Mulla Nasrudin ignored his griping and asked the man, “You have a donkey, don't you...? I have seen a donkey tied up outside your house...”

“Yes, Nasrudin, I have one old donkey,” answered the neighbour. 

“Take the donkey into your house...” Nasrudin told the man. 

No matter how much the neighbour protested, Nasrudin maintained that it was for his best and the hapless neighbour did as he was told and took the donkey into the house. 

The next morning, he ran back to meet Nasrudin, and said in total despair, “Nasrudin, it is just not possible. The wife, the mother-in-law, the kids, the chickens, the rooster and the donkey... We had a most terrible night. There is no room even to breathe...”

“If I remember correctly, you have two lambs, don’t you...?” Nasrudin asked his neighbour.

“Oh, No... Please don't tell me to take the lambs in... There will be total chaos…” 

“Don't worry, my friend,” Nasrudin interrupted and assured the desperate neighbour, “You will thank me for solving your problem in the end....just take the lambs into your house...” 

The neighbour, hoping against hope that Nasrudin’s crazy advice may miraculously work out, took the two lambs into his packed house that night.
The next morning, the neighbour, in a totally inconsolable state, landed up at Mulla Nasrudin’s door, and pleaded in agony, “Nasrudin, why are you torturing us, making us suffer like this...? My small house is jam-packed, teeming with bodies and stinking with foul odour. My mother-in-law is threatening to kill me, my wife is about to leave me and my children are furious. It is appalling, sickening... your advice has made matters worse...”

Nasrudin patiently listened to his neighbour and said nonchalantly: “Okay, now take all the animals and birds out of the house – chickens, rooster, donkey and lambs – all back to the garden, back to the barn, back to the shed. Throw them all out of the house to where they belong...” 

So Mulla Nasrudin's neighbour rushed home and threw all the animals out of his house.

Next morning the grateful neighbour thanked Mulla Nasrudin, “Sir, you are indeed a wise man. You solved my problem. Now, our house is so large, so roomy, and so airy, so much space for everyone, kids can play, we can sleep, everyone is happy. Thank you so much.”
Thus, Mulla Nasrudin demonstrated that SPACE is a relative concept - the same small house had now become a large house.


© vikram karve., all rights reserved.

About Vikram Karve

A creative person with a zest for life, Vikram Karve is a retired Naval Officer turned full time writer. Educated at IIT Delhi, ITBHU Varanasi, The Lawrence School Lovedale and Bishops School Pune, Vikram has published two books: COCKTAIL a collection of fiction short stories about relationships (2011) and APPETITE FOR A STROLL a book of Foodie Adventures (2008) and is currently working on his novel and a book of vignettes and short fiction. An avid blogger, he has written a number of fiction short stories, creative non-fiction articles on a variety of topics including food, travel, philosophy, academics, technology, management, health, pet parenting, teaching stories and self help in magazines and published a large number of professional research papers in journals and edited in-house journals for many years, before the advent of blogging. Vikram has taught at a University as a Professor for almost 14 years and now teaches as a visiting faculty and devotes most of his time to creative writing. Vikram lives in Pune India with his family and muse - his pet dog Sherry with whom he takes long walks thinking creative thoughts. 

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I am sure you will like the stories in my recently published book COCKTAIL comprising twenty seven short stories about relationships. To know more please click the link below:

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